“My best day off in lockdown” are the words of Sarah Hindle after she took on the AJ Bell World Triathlon Leeds Virtual Challenge having previously signed up to the original event as a volunteer.
“I’ve been involved in triathlon for a number of years and signed up to volunteer at Leeds this year,” Hindle said.
“When the email came round saying it had been postponed, I was really disappointed but saw the virtual challenge as a great way to still take part. I try and race in two events a year, but have had my races this year cancelled, and this was a great way to still be able to complete one in 2020.”
Hindle got into the sport in 2012 having signed up to the Comic Relief run and an indoor triathlon before completing a local supersprint race.
“I signed up to an indoor triathlon with Virgin Active and decided I’d take on an outdoor one having enjoyed it so much,” added Hindle. “It turned out to be quite a different experience to the indoor one, but I got the bug and have carried on ever since.
“I managed to get two friends involved and now we do two races each year and it’s something we really enjoy doing so, it was great that we had this virtual challenge to allow us to take part together.”
To complete the challenge, Hindle headed down to her local cycling park with the two friends, trying to make the most of the opportunity and experience to compete alongside one another.
“I took the day off from work, partly to have a haircut and partly to take on the challenge,” commented Hindle. “We did it at our local velopark because of the chance to complete the cycle on a closed road. They then did the run, but I did it the day after as I had an 11km cycle to get home again.”
“We were on a complete high afterwards because it felt almost ‘normal’. Doing it with them helped it feel like the usual experience because we were there together, even though it was very different in format.
“I completed the run the day after on my own. It wasn’t fast and I haven’t run more than 4km since lockdown, so that 7.5km was a challenge but I made it.
“The challenge has put me in a good place to carry on and do more than I otherwise would have throughout lockdown. Having completed it, we’re debating taking on a physical event later in the year now they’re back on.”
As well as racing and volunteering, Hindle is also a qualified British Triathlon Technical Official, having been inspired whilst volunteering at the 2018 European Championships in Glasgow.
“I was chatting with another volunteer who was also an official,” she said. “It struck me as a really good way to give back and support a sport that I love and have a passion for because I can make the sport more accessible, help educate and encourage more people to take part and simply have fun.”