Jeeves has the world in her sights


Jenny Jeeves only took up triathlon three years ago but surged to European victory last summer and now has the world in her sights heading into 2023.

The 55-year-old clinched her first title at the European Middle Distance Triathlon Championships in Bilbao in September, finishing in 5:09:37, 12 minutes ahead of compatriot Melissa Dowell in the F55-59 category. 

It was a dream debut for the Devonian, who admits she could not quite believe what she had done despite clocking some good times before heading to Spain.  

“When I came to the finish it was dark and the finish line was all lit up,” said Jeeves.    

“I knew I’d won as I came round the corner, and it was an absolutely amazing feeling. I was in total shock that I’d done that. I get a bit nervous before but as soon as I’m in a race I just get on with it.  

“I had amazing support on the run, loads of people shouting my name and ‘Come on GB’. Everyone was so proud of me; it was a really good day.”  

Jeeves started out as purely a runner before gradually spending more time in the pool, when a friend suggested she try triathlon.  

The hills of Devon and Cornwall proved the perfect place to get to grips with the bike, and before she knew it, Jeeves had qualified for European competition.  

But even though she knew she had the ability, a lack of experience on the international stage meant she was not sure how it would all play out in Bilbao.  

"I started running in my 40s when one of my neighbours asked me to come out with them when they were training for the London Marathon," added Jeeves.  

"I realised I quite enjoy running and had a successful ten years winning age categories. I got my England vest to run in the 10k.  

"Whenever I picked up a niggle I went swimming and then one of my friends asked me had I thought about triathlon?  

"I like a challenge and I thought let me try this. That was three years ago, and it’s just gone from there really.   

“Last year I had done some local triathlons and to qualify for the Europeans I did my first 70.3 in triathlon. 

“That was a huge surprise for me because I finished third in my age group. At the beginning of this year, I did some duathlons and realised I’m quite strong on the run and my cycling has really improved. 

“Although I say it was a surprise I won the Europeans, I knew that I could do well if it all went in my favour – but so many things can go wrong in triathlon, it mostly all went in my favour.  

“I just had no experience of the Europeans or any other big race like that before.   

“Three weeks later, I went out to the IRONMAN World Championships in Utah. Now I’ve had two really big races that have totally pushed me beyond anything that I thought I could achieve, mentally and physically.”  

The Age-Group Team provide British Triathlon members with the opportunity to represent Great Britain internationally at World and European Championships in a variety of swim, bike, run disciplines and distances.

Championship racing opportunities are available in triathlon (swim, bike, run), duathlon (run, bike, run), aquathlon (swim, run), aquabike (swim, bike), cross duathlon (cross country run, mountain bike, cross country run) and triathlon (swim, mountain bike, cross country run) and winter duathlon (cross country run, ski, cross country run) and triathlon (cross country ski, mountain bike, run).

With those two experiences under her belt, Jeeves now has high hopes for 2023 backed up by her strict training regime.  

A hectic programme of run, bike, and swim is all fitted around a full-time job as a finance assistant, but Jeeves would not change it for anything and hopes her hard work can help inspire others to take the plunge.  

“I would like to compete next year and see if I can go one better and get maybe top three in the world,” she said. “That’s a really big ask but if I don’t, I’ll have fun trying as I love training and I’m very disciplined.  

“I just tick each session off in my head. I never look too far ahead; I just focus on what I’ve got to do today because otherwise with triathlon training it can just consume you.  

“I love watching it on television, seeing the Olympics, the Brownlee brothers and Lucy Charles-Barclay – they’ve inspired me and my friends have inspired me too.  

“There are so many inspiring people out there and I like to think I can inspire my children to go out and achieve things in life that you didn’t think you could achieve.  

“It’s all about having that mindset; I’m going to try this and put the hard work in. You can’t achieve anything in life without hard work.   

“I’m part of a ladies-only cycling group and they said to me that seeing what I’ve done this year has really inspired them and some of the ladies are looking into races next year.  

“If I can be a bit of a role model for other people then I’d be really happy.”  

Find out more about representing the Great Britain Age-Group Team and competing in British Age Group Championships on the Championships and Qualifiers page here.

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