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These Girls Can

Meet these inspirational women and read their story about how and why they are involved in triathlon.

If you would like to share your story, don’t hesitate to get in touch via our #TriLikeMe questionnaire


Kate Squires

I first got into triathlon because of my partner. He completed an Ironman and through spectating at the event, I was motivated to give triathlon a go. The first event that I did was with my local tri club in 2017, although I’d done parts of a triathlon in a relay team.

I was excited, although slightly nervous at the start of the race, however once I’d got into the swim I really enjoyed it and pushed myself all the way around. When I crossed the finish line I was ecstatic and full of the sense of achievement that comes with completing a triathlon. The other thing that comes with completing a triathlon is feeling tired and I did!

The best thing about being a triathlete is the togetherness you feel with the other triathletes that you meet at the different events. The physical and mental fitness that triathlon gives you is great and because of the training, you get to eat extra food knowing you’ll burn through the calories. Yum!

I’ve already competed in a relay, doing the bike and run sections, as well as the Aquathlon (swim and run) at Hever Castle, both of which were amazing fun! I’m lined up to do the Monster Standard race which will be my first full standard distance triathlon, I’ve done the elements separately for relay teams but this will be the first time I’ve done a full one.

If you haven’t done a triathlon yet, then #TriLikeMe and go for it! Join a local club and this will help you to learn the ropes and be encouraged by triathlon minded people. Go along with an open mind, give it a try and see what happens!

Check out our permitted events to #TriLikeKate in 2018

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Jodie Stimpson

My triathlon life started very much with my family because my uncle did Ironman races and it was dad who taught me to swim. They both took me along to my first triathlon when I was 8. It was great to have that family support and I remember running straight to my dad after I’d won and giving him a massive hug after the race.

My first race was an amazing experience and one that I will never forget because I won! It wasn’t a bad way to start my triathlon life, however it’s not just about winning. I really love the addictive feeling of battling during a race – when you win it just makes the ending that bit sweeter! The race I’m looking forward to competing in is Super League Jersey at the end of September. The different formats make the race experience something completely different and it challenges you in new ways, it’s not your traditional swim-bike-run! Super League Jersey was really fun and unlike any other race out there - the short formats make it accessible for all experience levels. This year there’s an age group race, so I’ll see you there for an unforgettable weekend!

I’d recommend triathlon to anyone. It’s an addictive feeling and all you have to do is #TriLikeMe and start your first triathlon, then that’s it, you’re hooked.

Check out our permitted events to #TriLikeJodie in 2018

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Louise Clark

I could already ride a bike and swim and after ‘learning’ to run, I fancied giving a triathlon a go. I signed up for the 2018 York Super Sprint and it was fantastic! It was made memorable by the organisation from UK Triathlon and the super friendly, supportive atmosphere that there was around the event.

My second triathlon will be the Super Sprint race at the Allerthorpe Classic Triathlon and my first open water swim. My husband keeps teasing me that I’m going to be chased round by a pike! I’m really looking forward to the race, despite the ‘pike’ that may be there!

I’m hoping to do longer triathlons next year having started with Super Sprint races this year. I’m about to embark on a training programme at the gym to improved my running as that’s my weakest discipline.

The best thing about triathlon is being able to get involved in more than one discipline, I learned to run and it’s never too late to learn swimming, cycling or running. I’ve waited until nearly 50 to start triathlon, so I’m just building up! Put the time into training (and enjoy it!), find an event and just get out there and #TriLikeMe!

Check out our permitted events to #TriLikeLouise in 2018

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Sophie Coldwell

My first triathlon experience was when I was 8 years old and my mum spotted some adverts for a local triathlon, she signed me up and off we went! I remember struggling through the race, at the time I couldn’t even swim 50m front crawl, but I really enjoyed the experience of it. Once I’d finished I found at that I’d actually gone and won the race! I was so excited to get my hands on my first trophy!

For me the best thing about taking part in triathlon is being able to do something that I absolutely love as a job. I feel so fortunate to have the lifestyle I have, avoiding having a ‘proper’ job and having my life fully immersed in triathlon! I get to travel around the world competing in triathlon and call it work, meeting loads of great people along the way.

If you haven’t given triathlon a go yet, then #TriLikeMe and get involved! It’s a great way to meet people and you’ll meet people who travel from across the UK and the world to compete. My advice is to train with some friends as it’s a great way to keep fit and socialise.

This year’s World Series Grand Final in the Gold Coast will be my first as a senior and I’m really excited to compete. I also can’t wait to finish off my season in Jersey at Super League Jersey, it’s going to be an epic way to end my 2018 season. The racing is Super, the crowds are Super, the whole weekend is just Super! Super League Jersey was an amazing weekend of racing and activities in a beautiful location and it will be again this year. This time anyone will get a chance to compete and get to watch us pros in action on the same course after!

Check out our permitted events to #TriLikeSophie in 2018

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Emma Shallcross

Since I was 9 I’ve always been into swimming, but after university I wanted a more physical challenge! My local gym started offering GO TRI sessions, so I decided I’d go along and give it a go. The sessions were great for beginners and often covered 2 out of the 3 sports in one session. We would do a watt bike set and then go on the treadmill or start with a swim set and jump onto the bikes on poolside. It’s been a great journey and really rewarding to see my progress in fitness over the last 3 years. Once I had the basic experience of each discipline it was a matter of becoming more confident to push the limits for each one. I’m excited to race for Great Britain and thankful for the GO TRI sessions to open up such an opportunity!

Technically my first official triathlon was whilst I was in primary school at the Sefton Triathlon, but since getting into triathlon through GO TRI I’ve gone on to complete around 15 triathlons across England, Wales and Spain. I don’t think I’d have got into the sport as much as I have done since the GO TRI sessions as it led me to find out more about British Triathlon and becoming a member. Now I like to race all over the country and train with different groups of athletes.

My first senior race was the Carmarthenshire Triathlon in South Wales in 2015. I felt so nervous getting into the water at the start, but as soon as the gun went I was overwhelmed with excitement. Whilst out on the course I had a mix of emotions from wanting to be competitive, to also wanting to enjoy the atmosphere and the fun of the day. Once I crossed the finish line it was such a great feeling and that sense of achievement is one that I feel every time I cross a finish line!

The best thing about triathlon is that life is never boring! You can choose between swimming, cycling or running when you’re training, whether you go for a hard session or just take it easy, whether you do it with friends or on your own, even whether you choose a local event or take part in one abroad, it’s great! The fact that it keeps you physically and mentally healthy is the added bonus too.

I’m looking forward to the 2019 ITU Sprint Distance Qualifier at Redcar, as well as the Wirral Triathlon. I’m also super excited to compete at the ETU Aquathlon Championships in Ibiza where I’ll be representing Great Britain as an age-group athlete for the first time!

My advice to someone who hasn’t given triathlon a go is find a GO TRI event as an entry level opportunity and be confident that your body is a lot more resilient than you expect. Don’t feel under pressure to be great at all three disciplines, everyone has a weak sport and that’s what makes the sport open to so many people. #TriLikeMe and just do it!

Check out our permitted events to #TriLikeEmma in 2018

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Tylisha Preston

I’d never really thought about taking part in triathlon, however after having had two superb years of racing extreme obstacle courses, I felt the time was right for me to find a new challenge to conquer! I put time into learning to swim, spending 6months watching videos and spending many hours persevering in the local swimming pool. In the spring of 2016 I signed up for my first triathlon – East Coast Triathlon in Yarmouth.

The start of a race is a right mix of emotions – nervous, excitement, doubt and enthusiasm all swirl around. The first race in Yarmouth was even more full of emotions as I stood poolside with my heart thumping and legs like jelly, but as soon as the go whistle blew the excitement and adrenaline washed over me – I was doing it!

On the bike stage I remember telling myself to just keep pedalling to tick of the kilometres and on the run just counting down from 400 distract myself from the burning in my legs! I stayed strong and crossed the finish line with the biggest grin and most amazing feeling! There was no way my first triathlon would be my last, this was the start of something new.

Triathlon is a great sport, you meet so many different people all with different ambitions from the race coming together for one race. Some are raising money for charity, others to tick it off the bucket list and others trying to qualify for the GB Age Group Team. Some athletes excel in individual disciplines, but it’s the combination of the three challenges coming together that makes triathlon what it is. Be brave, conquer those fears and #TriLikeMe, you wont have any regrets!

Check out our permitted events to #TriLikeTylisha in 2018

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Lucy Jackson-Jones

My husband took up triathlon before me when he replaced a friend in a team race, I went along to support him and really loved the event atmosphere and thought “I’d like to give that a go”. Soon after I taught myself to swim front crawl and completed the Ulverston Sprint Triathlon, finishing 17th. After a bit of training and steady improvement each year, I won the same race in 2012!

I’m always super excited at the start of a race, despite having lots of butterflies. Pool swims are the most nerve wracking for me, I just love swimming in open water so much!! I always check mid-race to make sure that I’m enjoying the race – when you’ve put so much time and effort into something, you really should enjoy it. When you cross the finish line it’s always a mix of relief that it’s over, but pride that you’ve completed what you’ve worked so hard for.

The best thing about taking part in triathlon is just how happy it makes you feel! It’s not as hardcore as you think, so get out there give it a go and #TriLikeMe!

Check out our permitted events to #TriLikeLucy in 2018

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Nicola Warburton

I started off my triathlon life by taking part in duathlons (running and cycling). I had never previously competed in any sort of competitive race and duathlon seemed like a great way to start. It was great because I didn't have to commit to swimming in a race immediately, but now I've got that experience I'm much more confident and ready to race in the open water.

The first duathlon I did was the off-road Go Beyond Sport Mud and Mayhem Duathlon in Thetford Forest and the Sprint Castle Ashby Duathlon in Northamptonshire. The first time I took the dive into Tri was at the Mildenhall Sprint Triathlon which was a great race to enter in the world of triathlon with an indoor pool and beautiful scenery to motivate the novice triathlete!

I had everything set up and prepared in transition in plenty of time, so on the swim start I was happy that everything was in place. Words can’t describe the feeling of crossing the finish line, but to summarise my first triathlon experience in three words, they would be: determined, overjoyed and (energetically) completed! I couldn’t have done this without the support from my partner, he has been racing for many years and is really the reason I Tri today.

The best thing about doing triathlon has got to be the exciting element of mixing three sports that I love into one great experience. The variety that you get in training keeps it interesting, as well as the variety in competing across the three different disciplines. Though if I had to pick one, the cycling is my favourite because I have been training really hard to get that to a pace I am now happy with but can keep pushing for more.

The Olympic Distance race at Woburn Triathlon is my main goal for 2018. It’s a stunning location and have been training for the past year as completing an Olympic distance race is something I really want to do.

If you can do the disciplines on their own, then why not try triathlon! Work out what level you’re at for each discipline so you can get involved in sessions appropriate for you, then join a club and #TriLikeMe!

Check out our permitted events to #TriLikeNicola in 2018

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Emily Burton

I used to be a swimmer, getting up at 6am to train before school, but I was never the best. I did well at school cross-country and my PE teacher suggested that I give triathlon a go. I did my first triathlon aged 15 and immediately fell in love with the sport. I shocked myself by finishing second and realised that despite it being an individual sport there is a huge community feel.

Having been admitted to A&E with meningitis I soon got fed up with the white walls and decided that I was going to make the GB Age-Group team and channelled all my emotions into getting back into triathlon once I was allowed out. Whilst doing my A-Levels I was back training and after 10 months of hard training I qualified for the team! That first international race was the toughest of my life but to cross the line and see my parents made all the pain worth it.

Through triathlon I have achieved more than I could have ever dreamed of and have met some of the most amazing people and made incredible friends. My advice for someone to #TriLikeMe is to try not to be nervous and enjoy every minute of it!

Check out our permitted events to #TriLikeEmily in 2018

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Jillian Sabourn

I first got into triathlon through volunteering at World Triathlon Series Leeds in 2016. The best part of volunteering was the instant camaraderie and the feeling that I was part of something special. It was such a prestigious international event and the atmosphere was electric in the city centre that day, especially when the Brownlees won in their home town! 

Following this I was inspired to take part in a GO TRI open water taster session at Roundhay Park and then the Xtra Mile Leeds Triathlon there that Summer.  It was terrifying, exhausting and thrilling all at the same time.  I walked much of the run (ridiculous hill to start with!) but managed a sprint finish at the end.

For me the best thing about taking part in triathlon is the sense of elation when it’s done, especially as it means I can do things that younger friends can’t or don’t! Through training for and competing in triathlons, I am able to live a healthy and active lifestyle which gives me something else to focus on other than work and it also means I’ve met lots of new people along the way.  I’m currently training to take part in World Triathlon Series races in Leeds and Bermuda as well as the Morson Salford Triathlon in the Summer.

If you can swim, cycle or run you’re already at least a third of the way there! There’s a great sense of community when training and competing, and a shared sense of joy when you cross the finish line. Age isn’t an issue so get out there and #TriLikeMe.

Check out our permitted events to #TriLikeJillian in 2018

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Suzy Knights

My first triathlon experience was due to a 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.

I was already a gym member when I started my training but only went occasionally and just on a couple of fitness machines. 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 breast stroke, 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 swam the whole thing breast stroke and wasn't last out of the water!

Since that first triathlon the best thing I did was join a local triathlon club. 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.

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.

Check out our permitted events to #TriLikeSuzy in 2018

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Claire Higgins

When I turned 40, my elder brother decided the perfect Birthday present would be to enter me into a triathlon! I had a fear of water and wasn’t a great swimmer, hadn’t ridden a bike since being a child and as for running, well I just didn’t do it! ‘I had four months to train and ‘had to’ prove to him that I could do it! And I did… in 1:44:55!

I accepted the 40th Birthday present, took on the challenge, completed it, but wasn’t hooked. The swimming costume went away and so did the bike, but I found I quite liked to run, so I continued to run on my own for a while before joining a local running club.

I met some amazing people being part of the running club, who encouraged me to try triathlon again, so I also joined the local Tri Bramley Baths Group for more swim practice – this was when I became hooked! It was great fun and something I could do with some amazing friends I’d met along the way. My ultimate aim being to do the Driffield Triathlon again, and enjoy it … I did it!

Taking part in Triathlon has been an amazing roller coaster of a journey.  I’ve had ups and downs with injuries and illness, but it’s not stopped me wanting to continue.

I’ve also recently completed the British Triathlon Activators Course and am booked on the level 1 Triathlon Coaching Course in September 2017.  I love the fact that I can give something back to someone else and hopefully encourage others to #TriLikeMe and take up what is such a fantastic sporting activity.

Check out our permitted events to #TriLikeClaire in 2018

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Laura Housden

Being a dietitian, you are expected to be quite fit and healthy and I was, when I was younger I swam twice a week. I haven’t swum or cycled a lot since then and that was ten years ago!

My resolution for 2017 was complete a sprint triathlon after speaking to one of my patients who competed at quite a high level. I bit the bullet and in February booked on to the sprint triathlon in St Neots. It was open water, so I braved the Tri20 lake near Reading over the summer and although I found it scary at first, but I soon began I enjoyed it. As a pool swimmer it took time to get use to not seeing anything!

I completed the St Neots Sprint Distance Triathlon in 1 hour and 44 minutes. I am planning on doing another one next year to help me keep up with the swimming.

My advice to anyone looking #TriLikeMe is to give it a go and not be put off by the equipment. I used my hybrid bike, purchased the cheapest wetsuit I could find and found some running shorts in the sales.

Check out our permitted events to #TriLikeLaura in 2018

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Rachel Carey

Here Rachel shares her story on recovery after major surgery for Crohn’s Disease.

I’ve always been relatively fit and enjoyed exercising. After I had 2 major operations for Crohn’s Disease ended up with my needing a stoma bag, I started to gain weight from the medication I was taking and became determined to lose the weight. I had to adapt how I stayed fit as I was recovering from major surgery and in the long term as I had developed a hernia during the first operation which meant that I had to be careful with some abdominal exercises to prevent another one forming.

During my post-operative recovery, I started jogging. I also started to swim more than I had before. Jogging and Swimming are considered low resistance forms of exercise which is perfect for someone who is recovering from surgery.

I wanted to sign up for an event which would provide me with motivation. This is when I discover GO TRI. I found a local event near me and I quickly registered to enter. The event I took part in was an aquathlon which involves swimming and running, the two disciplines which I had been doing during my recovery. I hadn’t found anything else that just focused on swimming and running so I was thrilled. Get out there and #TriLikeMe!

Check out our permitted events to #TriLikeRachel in 2018

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Claire Hill

While away for my 40th birthday girly weekend with two of my closest friends, we were discussing the fact that I needed some challenges in my life.  I was given a copy of a triathlon magazine to go through.

When I took part in my events they were reaching the end of the season locally, but I haven’t been disheartened by this fact as I am now using my spare time to build up my fitness in running. I even went out and brought myself a new road bike which I started cycling the 15-mile round trip to and from work.

I am looking forward to 2018 because I can compete in more GO TRI events throughout the year with the hope that by the end of the year I could feel confident enough to complete a sprint triathlon.

To #TriLikeMe my advice to you is go for it. I had never been a runner but decided to give it a go one day and I have never been so pleased. I’m not looking back now, I’m looking forward to 2018.

Check out British Triathlon permitted events to #TriLikeClaire in 2018.

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Elizabeth Whittingham

I decided to set myself the personal challenge a few months ago of completing a triathlon before I hit 50 - which is next year!

The decision to do a triathlon came about whilst watching the Rio Olympics – I rather rashly said to my husband... “I fancy doing a triathlon!” It was the next sentence that set the goal… “In fact, I’m going to do one before I’m 50!”

I joined a local gym (JWC in Holmes Chapel) on a Beginner to Winner programme in August 2017 to start the journey. At the time it felt like I had set a challenge I would never be able achieve. With their support I am fitter, healthier and leaner than I have ever been and in February I completed the entry form for my first Triathlon!!

The cycling is definitely my favourite part, with running being my least favourite. I’ve recently completed my first triathlon, the Cheshire Sprint, and the whole experience was fabulous!! The sense of achievement was immense. Alongside that was the camaraderie. Everyone was so friendly, it was easy to understand the rules and it was superbly run. A fab day.

The memory that will stay with me from the event is turning into the finishing line and knowing I had done it and smashed my time goal by 21 minutes! Next year has been signed up for already – I’m hooked!!

I’m positive that if I can do a triathlon then lots of other people can too! So get out there, give it a go and #TriLikeMe!

Check out our permitted events to #TriLikeElizabeth in 2018

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Suzie Parsons

Over the past two years I’ve lost a lot of weight - 6 stone so far. My friend Dave encouraged me to go open water swimming and then after my first few sessions he said “you like swimming and cycling - why don’t you enter a triathlon?” I replied that I couldn’t run for love nor money, so he volunteered himself to train me. Most people do couch to 5k. I went from doing absolutely nothing to a sprint triathlon in 8 months!! 

The first triathlon that I entered was a GO TRI at Cannock on 9th April. It was a great event to enter as it gave me an idea of what to expect at the bigger events. I heard about it through a group called New2tri, and while I was there a few people came up to me wishing me luck.

The first main event I did was the Stratford Sprint Triathlon on 29th April. We had gone down the night before and I remember feeling really sick and excited at the same time. I’m surprised that I had any finger nails left I was that nervous. My friend kept telling me ‘you’ll be fine’ and once I got in the pool I was. 

The swim was great, no problem. The bike part was harder but once I got used to whizzing down the hills with enough speed to propel me up the other side I was on a roll – literally! 

Then came the dreaded run. I was waiting for my legs to be taken and given to someone else like they normally are at this point, but no they felt ok. I knew I’d probably be last but I just didn’t care as I was enjoying it and someone has to be so why not me. 

When I finished I looked for my friend but he wasn’t there. I thought that as it was cold he’d be sat in the car. But no. He had been waiting for me at the end of the bike part thinking I was still going when in actual fact I’d finished. I think that was the best compliment that he could give me.

When I finished I was buzzing. The best feeling ever!!  

I’ve recently completed the Nottingham Sprint Triathlon in a time of 1:53:04 - 3mins longer than Stratford, but the distances were a little bit longer, so I actually was faster overall. The weather was glorious even though I prefer to run in the cold. 

My main event for 2018 is the AJ Bell World Triathlon Leeds 2018. I’ve decided to enter this because my good friend and trainer encouraged me to a knowing it would be a good one to enter. The thought of running along the same blue carpet as the elites is amazing. I keep saying that this must be my midlife crisis. 

The best thing about triathlon is the family that you become part of and the support that you give and are given my everyone involved. I’m part of MVH Tri Club, but the triathlon family crosses all clubs. This helps because it keeps you motivated and keeps you moving around the course. To hear your name being called by the marshals telling you that you are doing well is a phenomenal feeling! 

My advice for someone thinking about giving triathlon a go is just give it a tri and #TriLikeMe! You will enjoy the atmosphere and remember it doesn’t matter how good other people are. You yourself are amazing for tr-ing.

Check out our permitted events to #TriLikeSuzie in 2018

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Lauren Alcock

What made you take part in Southwell Last year?

I really wanted to take on a challenge that I hadn't done before whilst raising money for charity. I work at Maggie's Nottingham, a charity which provides cancer support based at Nottingham City Hospital. I had previously done a few running events and wanted to do a bit more swimming and cycling so a triathlon seemed perfect.

What made you come back again this year and enter the full series?

I really enjoyed doing the Southwell Sprint Triathlon in 2017. The feeling when I crossed the finish line was amazing! I decided straight after that I wanted to do the Southwell Sprint again as it was really well organised and a great location. I wanted to do something even more challenging this year so I decided to sign up to all three in the Midlands Sprint Series. I'm fundraising for Maggie's again and hoping to raise £500. 

Which section were you looking forward to the most?

The cycle. I enjoy all of the sections but I love being on my bike, especially when the weather is nice! I also love the fact that all the competitors encourage each other during the cycling section and the marshals are all amazing at cheering us on.

Do you have any advice for first time triathletes?

The biggest advice I would give to first time triathletes is to not worry about all the little things like your transitions and drying off after the swim. It all goes smoothly on the day and it's more fun when you just enjoy it. A sprint triathlon is a great event if you've never done one before and it keeps your training varied and interesting. 

Check out our permitted events to #TriLikeLauren in 2018

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Debs Clarke

I first got into triathlon so that I could lose weight. I chose triathlon because of the excitement of doing three sports means you can move change what you do depending on how you feel! The first event that I did was GO TRI Stoke. It was a great event and the atmosphere was amazing with everyone wanting to do their best despite being a bit nervous! I felt so nervous stood on the start line that I almost started crying, but I was so happy when I reached the finish! The feeling of finishing my first one only left me wanting to do more and experience new challenges.

GO TRI is an amazing way to get into triathlon and I’d encourage anyone (and everyone) to give it a go. It’s a great way to get to know the sport and also gives a relaxed environment to practice the three disciplines together and rehearse transition skills. Joining a club has also helped me loads because of the amazing support, great coaching and sense of community.

The best thing about taking part in triathlon is being able to roll three sports into one which makes it far more interesting and exciting than just doing one! I also love the people that you meet at triathlon events from all different walks of life. My main target was to complete the half distance at the Ultimate Triathlon and I did in 8hours, loving everyone minute of it! I’m not someone who aims for times, just glad to be able to take part.

If you want to get involved with triathlon and #TriLikeMe, then why not try a relay with a group of friends to experience the atmosphere. With one person swimming, one person cycling the other running, a relay takes the pressure off having to do all three disciplines and is a great way to do something active with friends!

Check out our permitted events to #TriLikeDebs in 2018

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