Duncan Blitzing GYS 30X30 Challenge

When the first leaderboards came through for the GYS 30X30 Challenge, there was one name everyone was talking about.

Duncan Starnes burned a whopping 18,922 calories after just eight days. His accumulation from purposeful exercise was 14,946 calories above the second place male.

The father of two Jebel Ali students – Isabella,13, and Sophie,11 – explained just why his Movement Wins numbers were through the roof.

“I have competed in triathlons and Ironman competitions over the years and use registration to at least a couple of events a year as a way to keep me motivated and my weekly training on track,” Duncan said.

“I find it easier to stay committed if I am working towards an end goal. My weekly training programme includes cycling, running, swimming and paddling. My goal for each week is to swim between 15-20kms, run about 30km, cycle around 250km and paddle for 18km.”

That’s one impressive training regime, and it’s helped put Jebel Ali at the top of the GYS 30X30 Schools’ leaderboard as well. Isabella and Sophie are on board with the Challenge, as is Duncan’s wife Paddy. You’d be hard pressed to find the family of four at home, given their sporting commitments.

“My wife aims for a minimum of 30 mins of exercise at least five times a week for health and mental benefits. She typically does two weight training classes a week, three five kilometre runs and a ballet or hit class,” Duncan said.

“My daughters keep active mainly through dancing classes (ballet, jazz and tap) which they have been involved in for many years. On top of this they do swim training every week.”

The inability to go to the gym, let alone compete in a triathlon with hundreds of others could have dampened Duncan’s spirit across lockdown. But instead he grabbed with both hands the opportunity it provided to commit to a training plan.

“One of the benefits for my training during COVID has been that I have not had any business travel for the past eight months so have been able to keep consistent with my weekly goals,” he said.

“During lockdown I found myself going a bit crazy as I was not able to run and cycle outdoors. I did invest in an indoor trainer and even attempted a marathon in the back garden (boredom got the better of me at 12km!).”

Not everyone wants to become an Ironman, but Duncan provided some some key tips that help ensure he doesn’t miss a session.

“1. Don’t overcomplicate your training routine, keep it simple and involve yourself in exercise that you enjoy doing and that can easily fit into your life.

2. Stick to it … the beginning is always difficult but once you start feeling the benefits physically and mentally, you will be more motivated.

3. When the alarm goes off and getting up to train is the last thing you feel like doing, remind yourself how good you are going to feel after your workout.”

  • It’s never too late to join the the GYS 30X30 Challenge as every calorie you burn goes to your school’s total, enhancing the change of winning some fantastic Anta Sportswear prizes.