Age Group Triathlete
I am now a Great Britain Age Group Triathlete. I have competed in the:
- ETU European Sprint Distance Triathlon Championships in Lisbon 2016
- ETU European Aquathlon Championships Chateauroux 2016
- AJ Bell London Triathlon Standard Distance Triathlon Elite wave 2016
- TriLiverpool Sprint Distance Triathlon Elite wave 2016
And will be competing in the:
- ETU European Sprint Distance Triathlon Championships in Dusseldorf 2017
From an early age I loved swimming as a way of relaxing and focusing my thinking. At university, I used to swim 100 lengths on a daily basis to escape the pressures of my Fine Art degree. For fun, I also took part in a variety of charity-based distance swimming events. In 2011, having been adamant about not being competitive, I decided to enter my first open water swimming race at Grafham Water. Although I was overwhelmed by the darkness of the water; the chaos of a mass start; and the feeling of swimming in a wetsuit (particularly as it was a large ill-fitting surfers’ shorty), I was keen to conquer this uniquely challenging discipline. The following year, I entered an aquathlon at the same location and surprisingly finished 2nd in my age group and 4th overall.
In autumn 2012, I was given a place in the Cambridge Half Marathon as a present. Despite not having done any structured running training before, I was excited by the challenge of preparing for this event. I followed a training plan religiously and, in snowy conditions, finished in 1 hour 45 minutes knowing I still had plenty more to give. After finishing 2nd in a local fun run a month later, I decided to join Cambridge and Coleridge Athletics Club.
In 2013, I also found the courage to consistently join Cambridge Triathlon Club’s weekly swimming sessions, as I knew my programme of 100 lengths 6 times a week wasn’t helping to improve my speed! By this time, I was naively running most days and ended up with a stress fracture by September.
The next part of my story again stemmed from a ‘present’: I was given an entry into the 2014 London Triathlon sprint-distance race as a Christmas gift. In response, I purchased a £300 TT bike (which I still race on today) and began my own slightly crazy, self-devised training regime which included spin classes, core classes and kettlebell sessions, as well as club running, swimming and the occasional 5-mile bike ride. I was amazed to finish 5th overall in the world’s largest triathlon – my passion for triathlon had been well and truly ignited.
2015 was my first proper season as a triathlete, entering a large number of local sprint-distance races and aquathlons. Here are my results:
- Nicetri, St Neot’s sprint-distance 1st lady overall.
- Emberton Park sprint-distance 3rd lady overall.
- Emberton Park sprint-distance 1st lady overall.
- Nicetri, St Neot’s sprint-distance 1st lady overall.
- A J Bell London Triathlon 6th lady overall.
- Lee Valley aquathlon 2nd lady overall.
I was delighted and astonished by my success, especially when I learnt that I had qualified for the 2016 ETU Sprint Distance Triathlon European Championships in Lisbon.
In September 2015, I decided that a more structured approach to training would improve my performance and help me to avoid injury. I contacted one of my former school teachers, a certified triathlon coach, who agreed to work with me. Unfortunately during my first week of coaching, I broke my 2nd metatarsal in a freak work place accident, where my foot was trapped underneath a chair leg.
While the consultant that I saw doubted that I would be fit to compete in time for May’s race in Lisbon, I was determined not to give in. I followed a progressive 10 hour weekly programme of swimming (legs strapped together); deep water running intervals; core and arm strengthening exercises; and turbo sessions, as provided by my supportive coach. In February 2016, my requested x-rays finally showed that the break had healed and that I could start to introduce slow jogging, albeit for 30-second intervals. Over subsequent weeks, I gradually progressed in terms of run distance, whilst using water running for the high intensity training.
At the beginning of May 2016, I participated in Saffron Walden sprint-distance triathlon, a pool-based race with an undulating cycle route and a challenging cross country run leg. I was amazed to finish 1st lady overall, not only because this was my first race back after a serious injury, but also because the race followed a time trial format, and I was competing against a number of experienced GB age group representatives. I knew I was ready for Lisbon.
Having worked so hard to prepare for the race in Lisbon, I was certain that I would give everything when I got there. In a highly competitive age group, where a tight 90 seconds covered 1st to 10th position, I was thrilled to finish 10th (5th GB lady).
A month later, I raced in the ETU Aquathlon European Championships in Chateauroux, finishing 4th in my age group and again leaving nothing out there.
Following these successes, I was invited to compete in the Elite waves of the AJ Bell London Triathlon and TriLiverpool. It has been an unexpected privilege to participate with world-class athletes and I hope that I can build on what I have learnt and race more regularly at this level, as well as aiming for ETU podium finishes.
I have achieved all of this on a very limited budget (for example, I race on a £300 aluminium-framed bike bought second hand), without additional funding and on top of my significant work commitments as a full-time primary school teacher. I realise that as I progress in the sport, this will become increasingly difficult to do.
In order to further my development, and help me to achieve my goals, I would appreciate your financial support, so that I can most importantly obtain equipment commonly used by my fellow competitors (such as a carbon-framed bike, or a multi-sport watch), as well as helping to assist with coaching, travel, accommodation and competition costs.
I invite you to become involved in the further development of this great sport within our country, and to assist in the development of a local young person and athlete.
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