A long-time member of Farnham Triathlon Club and the town’s cycling club has been honoured in the King’s Birthday Honours List.
Ian Howard is a former chair and president of British Triathlon and a keen cyclist with Farnham Road Club.
He is the current World Triathon vice-president and received an MBE in the King’s first honours list.
“I received a letter about the award about a month ago but had to keep quiet – I did tell my wife, though, as she’s very good at keeping shtum!” he said.
“It was a lovely surprise – a once-in-a-lifetime thing.
“I have been involved with triathlon for 40 years and know many of the athletes, volunteers and officials, and feel it is for all of us, not just for me.
“Although triathlon is my main sport, I’ve been a member of Farnham Road Club for just as long as I have been involved with the triathlon, and I see the award more for services to sport.
“I served on the board of the British Olympic Association for five years.
“I’ve been a member of the Farnham Triathlon Club since the 1980s when I was introduced to it by by two schoolteachers at Lord Wandsworth College.
“I knew what a triathlon was as I happened to take part in the national championships when I lived in Reading.
“The championships were taking place in Reading in 1983 and I took part as a runner who couldn’t really swim properly, and that was an interesting experience.
“That got me into it and I became a member of the Farnham club, who were one of the first six triathlon clubs in the country.
“I have taken part ever since although, rather embarrassingly, I have never had a committee role there.
“Once I started competing I soon got good enough to represented Great Britain as an age-grouper and then the national federation, British Triathlon, asked me to do stuff for them. I leapfrogged club committees to start doing stuff nationally, and became an age-group manager and then joined the performance committee and I was on board.
“I still compete now – I’m 68 next week and take part in the 65-69 age group.
“I’ve just had a knee operation so I hadn’t been running for a while. I did the Hart triathlon the other weekend in Fleet and I’ve just started running again.
“I have won quite a few national titles and once I get things back up to scratch I will start competing seriously again and get back to a decent level.
“I don’t yet know when I will receive the award but I’m looking forward to it enormously – I’m sure my wife will buy a new hat for the occasion.”
Ian regularly represented the Great Britain Age-Group Team in the 1990s and 2000s and his experience saw him appointed as independent board member for business and legal affairs on the newly-created British Triathlon Board in 2007.
He was subsequently named deputy chair of the board and, from 2007 to 2012, helped create a robust and sustainable financial and administrative basis from which international performance could develop as the home Olympic Games approached in London.
Howard was appointed chair and president of British Triathlon from 2013 to 2019, and has also held positions such as vice-president of the Europe Triathlon (2023-16), World Triathlon Board member (2016-2020), and currently serves as president of the Association of Commonwealth Triathlon National Federations and vice-president of World Triathlon.