Arnott Kidd, Portobello’s amazing 80-year-old triathlete

Arnott Kidd won Triathlon Scotland's Outstanding Contribution Award. Pictures: Ian Georgeson
Arnott Kidd won Triathlon Scotland's Outstanding Contribution Award. Pictures: Ian Georgeson
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Most amateur triathletes take time to reflect on their exertions after conquering the gruelling swim-cycle-run challenge.

That is not, however, 80-year-old Arnott Kidd’s way of thinking. The recipient of Triathlon Scotland’s Outstanding Contribution Award for 2014 simply dusts himself down and starts preparing for his next race.

“I take each day as it comes, but I will fall off the conveyor belt at some point,” the fitness fanatic joked. “I wouldn’t do if I had a lot of health issues, so in that respect I am quite lucky. I don’t believe in slowing down.”

Arnott, who lives in Portobello with wife Heather and entered his first triathlon aged 60 in 1994, was honoured at the sport’s national governing body’s annual conference at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena – an accolade that caught him off-guard.

“I was immensely surprised,” Arnott said. “I knew they gave awards for Best Volunteer and what have you, but to get the Outstanding Achievement award was a lovely surprise. Sport has always been a part of my life, where the finer things in life have bypassed me. There are some very nice people at Triathlon Scotland and there is a real freshness about it all.”

A keen runner from childhood who has run a number of marathons, Arnott starred for Edinburgh Accies on the rugby field before embarking on a triathlon career that has now spanned 20 years.

“Having the variety of three disciplines was really quite attractive,” he said of the sport that includes a 1500m swim, 40km cycle followed by a 10k run. “It was quite a natural progression for me having been a runner and I found marathons a bit boring to be honest.

“I quite like training and do a huge amount. I don’t think I’d be able to compete at this age if I didn’t, so it’s a daily occurrence for me. It’s not an ordeal. It’s the cross-country season now so I’m doing that at the moment, but It’s just how I feel will determine what I do on that day, whether I go for a run, cycle or swim.”

Arnott now competes in the 80-85 age category and has won countless awards – the highlight being a silver medal at the World Championships in London last year. He said: “To get the silver in London last year was very good so that’s probably my highlight. It was also just a wonderful event as London organises these things so well. I don’t travel very well actually, but my wife loves it. I suppose it’s the icing on the cake to go to these things at my age. But I’m not a tourist as I go to race and my wife goes to take in the atmosphere. I’m very much of the old school and about the taking part. I do like competing, but it’s not the be all and end all.

“You can’t afford to take a break but I enjoy it so much though and do all the local events every year.

“I’ve had such a great life out of sport and I would like to think I am an inspiration to people out there.”