Oct 4 2012 by Caitlin Black, Harrow Observer
A POPULAR coffee shop manager has completed an Olympic-distance triathlon and raised more than £750 for charity.
The boss of Starbucks in Pinner, Fernando Gioia, 38, finished the gruelling mission in 3 hours 42 minutes.
The Virgin Active Triathlon took place at the Excel Centre, in east London, on September 22. Competitors tackling the longest distance had to complete a 1,500m swim in the River Thames followed by a 40km bicycle ride and then a 10km run.
Mr Gioia said: “It was a big challenge for me, the biggest sporting challenge I have ever done.
“I did want to do the whole thing in three hours, but I didn’t quite get there. However, I am happy that I completed it.”
Mr Gioia trained for more than five months, losing more than two and half stone in weight in the process.
The Uruguayan national endured 20 hours of training a week as well as cycling from his home in West Drayton to the café in High Street, Pinner, where he has worked for about 20 months.
The money he has raised is in aid of UK Youth, which is Starbucks’ chosen charity and helps to develop, promote and deliver a range of education programmes.
Its aim is to enable young people all over the UK to raise their aspirations, realise their potential and have their achievements recognised.
Mr Gioia took part in the challenge with friend Arran Rennie, manager of the Starbucks branch in Chiswell Green, Hertfordshire.
He added: “The whole experience was great. I do quite like sports and I have a black belt in karate but this was so tough. The swimming was the hardest part for me. It hasn’t put me off, though – I hope to do another triathlon in April.”
n In this year’s Olympic Games, the Brownlee brothers won a gold and a bronze medal for Great Britain in the closely fought men’s triathlon, with only 31 seconds separating Alistair in first and Jonathan in third. Alistair’s finishing time was 1 hour 46 minutes 25 seconds.