Almere but yet so far for an Age-Group Team debut

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Having qualified to race for the Great Britain Age-Group Team for the first time this year, Catherine Else has been keeping herself motivated and is as excited as ever to race at the rearranged event in 2021.

Else had qualified to race in the Aquathlon Championships at the ITU World Multisport Championships in Almere, Netherlands, however, will now have to wait until 2021 to make her debut in the blue Great Britain trisuit.

“I actually only qualified for the team in March of this year,” commented Else. “It was right before lockdown, so went from being thrilled at being part of the team to the uncertainty as everything started closing.

“I had a big year of events planned and this would have rounded off the year really nicely. I was really looking forward to the privilege of being able to represent my country and the chance to push myself a bit harder.”

A member of Belper 1020 Triathlon Club, Else had been encouraged by her clubmates to try and become part of the team.

“I’d seen members of the club represent the team and wanted to give it a go,” Else said. “I didn’t think I’d get in this year, so was really pleased when I found out I had.”

With a number of events lined up throughout 2020, Else has been replicating the races as best she can and is sticking to her training plan.

“My husband made a homemade pool for me to practice my swim during the lockdown period,” added Else. “I’ve been trying to complete the distances of the races I was signed up for even though they haven’t happened. It’s really helped with motivation and allowed me to stay on my training plan for when the races have been rearranged for in 2021.

“My coach said to ‘stick to the plan’ because some races may still happen this year, but it also gives me more time to prepare ahead of the championships next year. I’m still really excited to be part of the team because I know it’s going to happen, even if I have to wait a year to get on the start line.”

Having the training plan and something to train for, as well as taking part in various virtual challenges throughout the lockdown period has helped give Else structure and enabled her to continue to focus and enjoy taking part in triathlon.

“I’ve done virtual races and challenges, as well as completing the distances of the races that I’ve had cancelled,” Else added. “As a club we’ve done virtual sessions and, now we’re able to meet up, I’ve been out with others on bike rides and for some open water swimming sessions.”

With her focus very much on training and racing her way through to next year, the delay has done little to dampen her anticipation to be part of the Great Britain Age-Group Team.

“Almere is now my end point for next year and will help to keep me focussed all the way through 2020 and 2021 until it actually happens,” commented Else. “Having seen photos of the Age-Group Team walking behind the flag and cheering one another on, I’m really looking forward it, even if it is a year away.

“My trisuit has already arrived and I look at it every now and again, reminding myself of what I’ve achieved and excited for what is to come.”

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