The athletes Lucinda Brown has met and the inspiration she’s received since first being encouraged to get involved in swim, bike, run has driven the Great Britain Age-Group Team member to now want to inspire others.
Brown, who competes in the female 40-45 age group, was first encouraged to get involved in triathlon by 2014 Commonwealth champion and her now coach Jodie Stimpson who she met through her work with Super League Triathlon.
Their conversation started about the importance of physical and mental wellbeing and the positive impact triathlon had on Stimpson’s own journey. That led to Stimpson encouraging the mother of two to get involved in the sport herself and, after some persuasion, Brown decided to give the sport a go and has been coached by Stimpson ever since.
“If it wasn't for Jodie, I wouldn't be where I am today,” Brown said. “She is a huge inspiration. She's got so much out of triathlon, it’s been her life, and she opened my eyes up to the benefits of the sport, not only in becoming physically and mentally stronger, but also just the people you meet along the journey and the friends you gain. That, for me, has been a big part of it.
“She reminds me every single time I race, what's my number one goal, and that's to have fun. That settles any nerves, and actually, if you just remember that the main thing is to have fun, I find you'll always race better. That's really how I did as well as I did in Montreal [2022 World Sprint Triathlon Championships] because I genuinely got reminded the day before by Jodie, what's my number one goal, and I said it's to have fun. I went out to have fun and that's exactly what I did.”
Brown finished eighth, and in the top-three Brits, in her age group, at last year’s World Sprint Triathlon Championships in Montreal, where she was also part of the World Age Group Mixed Relay Championships for the first time.
Last year’s trip to Canada was the second time Brown had represented the GB Age-Group Team after making her debut at the 2021 European Sprint Triathlon Championships in Valencia. Finding out she had qualified for the Age-Group Team was a moment that left Brown in tears.
“I raced at Blenheim and Jodie was like ‘you know what? Why don't you throw your time into the mix for age group racing?’ I knew nothing about age group racing, so I just sort of threw it into the hat, because at the time, we were just putting times in rather than going to qualifiers because of the pandemic,” Brown said. “Then I suddenly got this email from British Triathlon saying you've qualified for the World Championships, and I literally fell off my chair.
“I was in tears, and then when I went to Valencia that was my first time wearing the GB suit. I have to say, the moment that I put that GB suit on, and I was racing around that course, Valencia, and the flags are flying and everyone's cheering your name and it suddenly hits you that you're actually representing your country. It's pretty damn special.”
Having met many people along the way, Brown is now hoping to inspire more people to get involved through her own experiences as well as through the stories she’s heard from other athletes.
“When I first started, I literally knew no one,” Brown said. “I remember turning up to my first race at Dorney and feeling quite intimidated because you turn up and see athletes who appear to have all the gear and looked like they really knew what they were doing.
“But actually, overtime, it has been amazing. I've made genuine friends for life in my own age group, but older, younger, just so many different people, and as a result, we stay connected. We've all had that shared experience and we're planning ahead for the next one, we all want each other to succeed.
“I think just to be able to share experiences and understand each other's challenges, but also share the highs and the lows of what it's like to be still doing this and representing your country at our age is pretty special.
“For me, the biggest message is you're never too old. Give it a go, be brave, say yes and just give it a go. You won't regret it, and just remember it's about having fun and meeting genuine friends for life, as well as the physical and mental benefits that you gain from being part of the sport.”
Sharing Brown’s passion for wanting to inspire others, Stimpson added: “Triathlon has given me so much that I want to share what I have been given. All of my knowledge from racing over 25 years at the top of the sport, I have learnt a lot about training to get the best out of what I have and also life lessons that everyone can relate to no matter what their profession is.
“Triathlon is my passion and I share that passion and joy with a lot of people out there and I just want to help people get the best out of themselves no matter their level or ability.”
To find out more about how to qualify for the GB Age-Group Team, visit the Age-Group page here.