Stuart was born at the Queen Mothers Hospital, Glasgow on the 21st August 1986 and until leaving for Stirling University, has lived in Helensburgh all his life. He spent his schooling years at Hermitage Primary School and Hermitage Academy.
Stuart joined Helensburgh Swimming Club where he trained under Bobby McGregor and entered several competitions. But it was the influence of local man and family friend Frank McShane, that convinced Stuart that his natural sporting talents would be best utilised in the gruelling field of the triathlon.
Frank, himself an Ironman competitor, moved from Helensburgh with his family in 2005 to settle in East Gippsland in Australia. He is now a Director of the East Gippsland Sports Foundation and a member of the Riviera triathlon club and continues to train and encourage triathletes – albeit Australian ones!
A triathlon is an endurance sports event consisting of swimming, cycling and running over various distances. As a result, proficiency in swimming, cycling, or running alone is not sufficient to guarantee a triathlon athlete a competitive time; trained triathletes have learned to race each stage in a way that preserves their energy and endurance for subsequent stages. In modern triathlons, considered to have been created in 1974 by members of the San Diego Track Club, the events are placed back-to-back in immediate sequence and a competitor's official time includes the time required to "transition" between the individual legs of the race, including any time necessary for changing clothes and shoes.
In 2001 Stuart entered his first competitive race, the Scottish Championships at Loch Ore in Fife at the age of 15. Technically he was too young to compete, 16 being the minimum age, but special dispensation was granted for him to compete. During this same year Stuart went on to win the Scottish Youth Aquathon series and he represented Scotland at the GB championships at junior level.
Stuart then returned to swimming for a couple of years actively competing in various Championships, including Scottish Schools, in the 100m backstroke.
In 2004 Stuart left Helensburgh to study for a BA Sport Studies (Hons) at the University of Stirling. In 2005 he was accepted for the University’s scholarship programme for the triathlon and in 2006 Stuart won his first U23 representation at the GB championships in Windsor and later that year he went on to represent GB at senior level in the Copenhagen European Cup event.
In 2007 Stuart spent a year warm weather training on Australia’s Gold Coast, and it evidently worked as he became the youngest ever Scot to complete an Ironman Triathlon (3.8km swim, 180km cycle, 42.2km run)when he finished 48th in China on the 20th April 2008 at the age of 21. Stuart’s total time for the event was: 11:05:51
Having completed his BA Hons Sports Studies, Sociology of sport at the University of Stirling in 2009, Stuart completed an MSc in Marketing at the University of Strathclyde in 2011. Now working as a Marketing Executive, Stuart still retains a keen interest in sport.
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