When he joined a Sudbury gym to exercise his problem knees, little did taxi driver Michael Nolan realise where it would lead him.
His instructors at Zest gym thought he had a flair for using equipment, like the monkey bars, and encouraged him to take it further.
So he started cross country running and found that his poorly knees - the reason for him leaving the Army - were all down to wearing the right pair of shoes.
Now a year later, he says he can’t believe the fact that he has qualified for the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships.
He is off to Canada next month to take part, and is hoping to succeed in three different races - a three kilometre sprint, a 15 kilometre race and a team event.
They all involve obstacle courses including weight carrying, nets, climbing over metal frames, monkey bars and crawling along the floor under netting.
Michael, from Tudor Road, drives for Fox Cars in Sudbury but in his spare time competes at events around the country in obstacle racing, which is where he qualified for the world championships.
Once there, he will compete against scores of competitors from all over the world.
He said: “When I heard that I’d qualified, I couldn’t believe it to be honest. What I really need now is help with sponsorship from a local company.”
Michael joined the Sudbury Army Cadet Force, and later on joined the Army.
“I had problems with my knees which is why I eventually left. But, when I joined the gym they suggested I had trainers fitted and that has made such a big difference and I’ve come on leaps and bounds.
“I have been able to do a lot more since then.”
Michael has been training at boot camp and has found another local assault course competitor who has qualified for the European championships, and they train together and, he says, help push one another.
“I’d really like to find some support from a local business if I can. That would help a lot.”
He added: “I am really looking forward to the championships next month.”