What made you get into triathlons?
I was actually talent scouted at the National Biathlon Champs – I had been a National 100m butterfly swimmer for most of my years and needed a change.
I was scouted by the World Class Coach Dan Salcedo who invited me to the British Triathlon Talent Training days to “try it out”… well from there I was placed almost immediately onto the World Class Start program which was Sport England funded, then thrown straight into the deep end with my first super-sprint triathlon being the Youth European Team Qualifier!!
I actually initially did not enjoy it, and was even planning to give back the funding I had received! But with a lot of determination and help from my parents and coaches, I learnt to love the sport and developed my way up from there.
What has been your proudest/best triathlon moment?
SO many to choose from. I think initially making the GB Elite Junior Team in Madeira 2004 was the main highlight, to wear the GB suit and represent the country.
I have also fond memories of becoming World Biathle (run-swim-run) Champion in Monaco 2007 as well as my first Ironman 70.3 Pro Podium in my first year as a Pro at Galway 2013.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced?
Most definitely battling an eating disorder. I developed it when at Loughborough Uni and training in the elite GB squad up there. It’s a harsh dog-eat-dog (excuse the pun) environment, highly competitive, and it just was not suited for me. It really made me question myself and my career in sport- not only this, it massively impacted on my health, leading to osteopenia in the lumbar spine and the risk of infertility too.
I have been given a life sentence with the ED- it never fully leaves you, but I am a different person to what I was back then and I use the experiences to help highlight the risks to other young females and athletes- I will be in LOVE IT magazine shortly also highlighting these areas alongside pregnancy.
Who is your inspiration, and why?
I would generically say Chrissie Wellington and also Jodie Swallow: they are the heroines in the sport and they’re just such talented, hard-working troopers- it’s hard to not be in awe of them and their achievements.
If I’m honest, I find inspiration in my husband! I have learnt a lot from him, his morals, how he deals with situations, how he balances his own busy company, his children, us, training etc. I think/hope I have bettered myself by learning from him and that it has shaped me to become more of the person I wish to be.
What are your future goals?
After baby no2 in October, I will get back slowly into triathlon- focusing on aiming to get as near to 3hr for the marathon at VLM (despite not having masses of time!), as well as targeting possibly age-group triathlon racing; I don’t wish to go to PRO level anytime soon for the reasons of finance and also the fact I won’t be anywhere near ready.
What would be your one piece of essential advice to someone looking to start up triathlons?
That’s easy- firstly ENJOY IT! NO PRESSURE. Secondly, if or when you wanted to tackle it more ‘seriously’- I would definitely invest in a coach and a decent watch! All triathletes I feel need some guidance, and we all love to know our times and PBs!
What is your favourite piece of triathlon kit?
My ISM saddle- it is GODSEND and I am sure you all know why!! It has saved my skin- quite literally
What’s your favourite thing about triathlons?
Getting to learn about new people, places, race experiences. Not only this I love coaching my athletes and new athletes also- I get a lot from their love of the sport with regards to training and racing
As it’s Women in Sport Week: What do you think is the biggest challenge for women triathletes, & how do you overcome them?
That’s a tough one, there are a few challenges for women- on a Pro level it is fighting for equal share of KONA slots and equality in pay roll for these major races,
For age groupers and first timers, I would say the challenges (apart from braving lycra) would be to knock out any stereotypes that may be placed on women racing, competing, sweating even, and riding bikes! Sounds old fashioned but there are some who don’t see women within sports. You have to go out there- with your own goals In mind, and enjoy every step of the way; good or bad experiences. Draw from them both and it will strengthen you physically and mentally for not only sport, but for life in general