Sport and leisure

Scared of being average … Despite threadbare training and scanty preparation, adventurer Sean Conway became the first person to swim the length of Britain. Aspire swimming enews 

The benefits of open water swimming … from stress relief to a better sex life, outdoor swimming brings ‘innumerable’ rewards. Aspire swimming enews

‘It’s about taking risks’ … seven elite cyclists attempt a 36-hour, non-stop, Highland record to encourage others to make the most of their talents. Evans Cycles Blog

Swim, run, repeat … dodging monsters is just one of the many tough challenges facing competitors tackling one of Britain’s first Swimrun races – in Loch Ness. Outdoor Fitness

Beryl the Brilliant … dare we say that Beryl Burton is Britain’s greatest ever cyclist, female or male? If so, why is she such a secret? Evans Cycles Blog

Unfinished business … two determined swimmers are tackling cold water extremes to inspire others and bring about change. Outdoor Fitness 

Gold plated … female racing cyclists are finally being rewarded for their efforts, in Britain at least. Evans Cycles Blog

Pioneers … several women have been cycling legends, even as long ago as the 19th century. How many of those ground-breakers do we remember today. Evans Cycles Blog

Where’s the finish? … Chris Petrie tackled one of the world’s most inhospitable marathons after seven years spent plucking up the courage. Outdoor Fitness

Kajsa if you can … Kajsa Tylen is hoping to break the eight-decade-old record for the number of miles cycled by a female in a year. Evans Cycles blog

Garden of Eden … three brothers survived rapids, waterfalls and murky bogs in becoming the first to swim the full length of England’s ninth longest river. Swimming Times

Arc of achievement … Sport has transformed the life of addiction-addled Paul Parrish. Outdoor Fitness

Biking in the Canaries … spectacular Teide volcano is the backdrop to a challenging cycle tour of Tenerife. Cycling Active

Tribute salutes outstanding record … mile-eater Billie Fleming has become an inspiring role model for female cyclists, thanks to the efforts of nurse Anne Hunt. Cycling Active

Feel the Force … Empty moors and lush valleys shape an entrancing ride in Teesdale.
Cycling Active

The mitre’s in my pannier … Bishop Ed Condry used Lent to swap car travel for cycling, to draw attention to threats posed by climate change.Cycling Active

Shu in … Determined Shu Pillinger has become the first British woman to complete the daunting 3,000-mile Race Across America within the 12 day time limit. Evans Cycles Blog

Pool passion … Haringey Aquatics has overcome pool closures and slumping membership to become a community beacon in one of Europe’s most deprived areas. Swimming Times

Historic Hundreds … a Hundred was once a land division within which taxes might be collected and criminals brought to book. Of Aylesbury’s original 18, three remain, centred on bustling Wendover and the idyll that is Haddenham. A short tour by bike visits all three. Cycling Active

Triple turn … Josie Smith wasn’t joking when she said she loved a challenge. But in agreeing to cycle 300 miles in a single day, she almost took a step too far. Josie achieved her goal despite nausea, tears and the craving to give up. Outdoor Fitness

Spokes in motion Visitors to pioneering Watford Cycle Hub have included anti-terrorism officers, the Prime Minister, Victoria Pendleton and Sir Chris Hoy. Now, local people are flocking to the Hub’s rides and repair courses, and making the most of its Hub’s lovingly restored bikes. Cycling Active

Just good Fens … long straight roads and ascents of no more than two metres characterise the eerie landscape surrounding Ely and ‘the ship of the Fens’, the city’s imposing cathedral. Cycling Active

The other garden of England … Letchworth was the world’s first garden city. An offroad track encircling the Hertfordshire town gives an insight into the ambitions of founder Sir Ebenezer Howard. Cycling Active

Taming the Chilterns … the climb alongside Ivinghoe Beacon is popular with local cyclists. Coupled with a visit to Redbourn’s innovative themed cafe, it’s a heady trip worth taking. Cycling Active

Three unique lakes … a novel race in rural Essex combines open water swimming in three lakes with running in between.  Swimming Times

Gently does it … an easy ride through Hertfordshire’s colourful and soporific countryside visits ancients sites, traditional farms and two top cafes. Cycling Active

Home favourite … how would leafy Welwyn Garden City, a town of space-eating 4x4s and intermittent cycle lanes, cope with the arrival of the Friends Life Women’s Tour? Cycling Active

Call to action … in 2015 nurse Anne Hunt wants to recreate the 365-day cycling triumph of Billie Fleming who in 1938 set an unbroken women’s record for the number of miles pedalled in a year. She now needs riders for every stage. Cycling Active

Peak practice … arm yourself with low gears and ready change for the plentiful country cafes, then nestle into your saddle and savour a glorious route in the Peak District. Cycling Active 

Bold as brass … swingeing cuts by Birmingham City Council have forced Boldmere Swimming Club to take drastic but enterprising action to keep their pool open. Swimming Times

Shoosh! They’re gone … a set of different cycling tribes visits the Church Farm cafe in Hertfordshire where food miles are almost zero and no-one leaves hungry. Women’s Cycling

Olympic odyssey … Cross the creaking locks and nature reserves of the stunning Lee Valley on an idyllic tarmac-free ride into the Olympic ParkCycling Active

Going polka dotty … popular Bank View Cafe, which riders passed on stage one of the Tour de France, has fulfilled its promise to catch the eye. Women’s Cycling.

Nail your first triathlon … Tanja Slater, former Elite triathlete and cyclist, gives her tips on how to deal with the swim, bike and run, and those tricky transitions. Outdoor Fitness 

Mountain gladness … the glow of achievement, the breathtaking views, the exhilaration of the descent and boasting in the pub. Nothing quite matches pedaling up a hill. Cycling Active

Oh Rio Rio … A swimmer at the Rio Olympics is the stand-out target at Swim Swansea. With a difficult transformation now in the past and a medal bag that is beginning to bulge, the club is well on the way to achieving its goal. Swimming Times

Eton mess … There’s pummelling and bludgeoning, flailing fists and a baton charge – the first salvos of my open water swim race debut at the Olympic venue, Dorney LakeOutdoor Fitness

A bubble of tranquility … step back to the 1950s at Lavender’s Tea Rooms in the rural Home Counties where cafe owner Gail Swann insists visitors take their time. Women’s Cycling

Peak form … This year’s Tour de France starts in north England and is opening new doors for Peak District cycling. Cycling Active 

Yuletide comes early … Deborah Yule gambled her house on building a swim school in her home town. Now, her pupils ooze enthusiasm. Such is her success that another teaching venture is on the cards. Swimming Times

Taking the plunge … open water swimming takes more than a little pluck. Swimming Times

It gets the adrenalin going … Inspired by the heroics of Paralympian cyclists, and having completed his first cycling challenge, amputee Kevin Brennan now wants to ride from Lands End to John O’Groats. Cycling Active

Olympic dream … We’d be dazzled, moved, inspired, Lord Coe promised of the 2012 Games. But has there been a legacy for aquatic sports? Swimming Times

Potter Country…Southerner Beatrix Potter’s affection for the Lake District inspired many of her best loved story book characters. Tour by bike the countryside of Peter Rabbit, Tom Kitten and the dastardly Mr McGregor. Cycling Active

Hubmaestro…Real coffee and secret recipe cakes are among the temptations at The Hub Cyclist’s Refuge. There’s even a rescue service should you be waylaid. Women’s Cycling

Turn again Hartington…there’s no better place than the Peak District for riding your bike. This route through the gentler White Peak will more than whet your appetite. Cycling Active

Lakeland epic…A ‘major freeze’ and leaden arms couldn’t stop two resolute swimmers completing a daunting 26.2 miles in Lake Windermere. Outdoor Fitness

Just rocked up…Martha Hall on cycling, punctures and competing for GB in the World Duathlon Championships. Cycling Active

Itchin’ for Hitchin…Dinosaur dung, plaits for hats and Dickensian throw-backs – all in a day’s ride from this bustling Hertfordshire town. Cycling Active

Heads we win…Heads of the Valley Swimming Club is part of ambitious regeneration plans for a South Wales community mired in the gloom of 1980s industrial collapse. Swimming Times

“You never see a fat triathlete”…Dave Wright credits triathlon with breaking the clasp of yo-yo dieting. He has lost a third of his bodyweight and now his target is one of the toughest long-distance triathlons. Outdoor Fitness

People are drooling…they’re gazing enraptured, admiring all-round flashiness. What to make of a carbon fibre bike? Cycling Active

Like Phelps or Lochte…the gold medal winning quad at Dumfries Dolphins mirror their swimming club’s togetherness in adversity. Swimming Times

The wood and the trees…wend your way between ancient Hatfield and Epping forests in Essex but beware the area’s perplexing village names. Cycling Active

Crying out for love…the transformation of Emily’s Tea Shop has cyclists queuing beyond its doors. Women’s Cycling

Backing the bid…a thriving swimming club, with its roots in the Gay Games, is at the heart of a campaign to bring the 70-nation event to London. Swimming Times

Skyfall – not one of my best…Stuntwoman Belinda McGinley is the anonymous star of the big and small screen. Swimming Times

Maps versus GPS…Does technology spell the end for on-paper navigation for cyclists and walkers? Cycling Active

What downturn?Can anything slow the boom in cycling? Not the recession. Cycling Active

Take your eyes off the roadSo much to see, and all the time in the world, on a meandering ride straddling the Essex-Herts border. Cycling Active

Clubbing it…the strains and gains of a thrilling swim camp at Club La Santa in Lanzarote where my very average freestyle is knocked into shape. Swimming Times

Romans and countrymen…there’s more to rural Hertfordshire than a passing glance suggests. Idling between cheery villages reveals a history of turmoil and tumult, literary genius and seas of bluebells and wild garlic. Cycling Active

Devil may darethe devil’s in the detail of a tough but fun mountain bike ride soaring to the South Downs from idiosyncratic Brighton. Legend, landmarks and eccentricities mark the route. Cycling Active

There are three in this marriagerunning has seeen a popular couple through thick and thin. They have more than 360 marathons behind them and for their 50th wedding anniversary conquered Switzerland’s 4,158m Jungfrau mountain. Runner’s World

Vive la resistance!..TRX is a revolutionary workout using straps and your own body weight. It strengthens muscles, restores joint mobility and improves posture. Runner’s World

Keepy-uppy…triathlete Dave Eastman is refusing to let his spirits drop despite suffering Parkinson’s disease. Running fitness

In Einstein’s footsteps…running and triathlon helped Trace Allen beat pancreatic cancer. Runner’s World