For this Focus On item we’ve been able to grab some time with the super encouraging Suzy Knights from Beccles Triathlon Club.
What was your first exposure to Triathlon? My first exposure was my friend asking me to "do a triathlon" with her. Wanting to be a good friend and after a few glasses of wine I agreed! It wasn't until a few months later that I realised what I had let myself in for.
What were your first experiences? I was already a gym member when I started my training but only went occasionally and just on a couple of fitness machines. So I decided to download the couch to 5k app on my phone. It took me 5 months to get up to 5k running. I bought a hybrid bike a few months before the triathlon and used this to cycle to the gym (around 1 mile) and back as well as a bit of cycling on the gym bike. I also taught myself to swim breastroke, only being able to do a length at a time but slowly building up. The first triathlon I did (as promised) was Fritton Lake Super Sprint, this was an open water swim. I didn't have a wetsuit but it was warm enough that it didn't matter. I swam the whole thing breastroke and wasn't last out of the water, I jumped on my hybrid and remember how hard it was cycling on the roads compared to the gym. I was so pleased to get off the bike! Then onto the run, I was still not that great a runner and after the fatigue of the bike it was a struggle. However, I eventually crossed the line and it was the best feeling in the world. I was hooked!
What’s been the triathlon journey since then? Since that first triathlon the best think I did was join a local triathlon club. I was bullied quite badly at school and the thought of joining a group terrified me. It has amazed me how supportive and encouraging triathletes are. I love training and competing with them. I have now completed all distances after completing IMUK last year.
What have you gained? My health and fitness has improved no end. I suffer from asthma but all the training I do has made my lungs so much stronger. To start with even running for a few seconds would make me wheeze, however apart from when I am ill I no longer need to take my ventolin inhaler anymore. I have also lost over 3 stone in weight and dropped 4 dress sizes.
From a personal point of view triathlon has changed my life. I now enjoy my free time and weekends so much. I have an incredible group of friends. I have more energy and my mental health has improved.
You’ve taken on some triathlon roles beyond that of participant? After getting so much out of the sport and encouragement from my friends I wanted to give something back. So I decided to first volunteer as a coach. I did this for a while before taking on the chair role at the club. I also officiate at some of the local events when I am not competing. As well as all of that I help organise Beccles Triathlon.
Blimey you’ve nearly done it all and in such a short time. Any further triathlon goals? I want to improve on my IM time, possibly in 2019 I will go long again. I also want to qualify for the GB age group team at middle distance. I was a few minutes short in Oct last year so am going back to Pageura this Oct to try again!
What advice would you give to someone who hasn’t “tri-ed” yet? If someone like me who was as far from an athlete as you could get, can complete a triathlon anyone can. Just believe in yourself! Set yourself small goals and break it down into achievable steps. Don't worry if you don't always meet them, just keep trying. Also join a club, the support is invaluable. If you are still nervous then why not go along and spectate or even better marshal at an event.
- If you want to learn more about Beccles Traithlon Club click here.
- If you would like to help marshal a super friendly charity event please get in touch. firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you have a story to share of your triathlon journey, triathlon club or a triathlon that you organise? Please get in contact with your regional manager.