Working on the NHS frontline to the European duathlon start line


Working for the NHS is not the only thing Megan Powell and David Vogwell have in common as this weekend they will both be representing the Great Britain Age-Group Team at the Europe Triathlon Duathlon Championships in Venice-Caorle, Italy.

They are two of the six ambassadors who are being supported by Yellow Jersey Bicycle Insurance in their role as British Triathlon Age-Group Ambassadors in 2023, and both athletes are looking forward to representing the Age-Group Team again.

“Wearing the trisuit is always a special moment,” Powell said. “It lives in a special box with the rest of my GB stash and when it comes to packing it for a race, I get very excited. I was sad to retire my old suit after Bilbao, but I am very excited to make some memories in the new short-sleeved edition and as an Age-Group Ambassador. I can’t wait to use the platform to inspire others to take the plunge into age group racing.”

“It is something you feel proud in especially because you know you’ve earned it, you’ve earned the right to wear it and have had to work to get there,” Vogwell added. “The first time I represented the Age-Group Team I remember at the start we ran into the town and I caught a reflection of myself in a shop window of me in my GB kit and all these different coloured trisuits around me which athletes from all over the world were wearing, and I just couldn’t stop smiling, it’s one of those moments which you can’t imagine ever happening.”

Powell, who is a junior doctor and recently found out she had been successful in applying to become a GP trainee, travelled to age group events as a spectator, supporting her mum, before getting involved in the sport herself; first through triathlon relays and then by joining her university triathlon club.

The athlete from South London has medalled at all six of the World and European Championships she’s been to, including winning European gold in the female 25-29 age group in 2020.

“Every winter I sit down with my coach and create a list of training and racing goals for the year, it’s the best way to stay motivated on those dark, gloomy, winter days,” Powell said. “I’m not afraid to say that I am gunning for the overall female win at the European Duathlon Champs.

“This will be my fifth Europeans in the sprint distance, and I have one gold, one silver and two bronze medals to my name so far, I have come 3rd and 4th overall previously, so I’m aiming high.

“It’s definitely not easy [combining her job in A&E with training], but continuing to train at a high level gives me motivation and purpose outside of work. It really helps me to switch off and process the emotional demands of being a doctor and most importantly, I enjoy it.”

Like Powell, Vogwell also works for the NHS as an occupational therapist. He didn’t own a bike and was not a confident swimmer when he agreed to sign-up for an IRONMAN at a friend’s wedding reception in 2015.

Since then, he’s represented the GB Age-Group Team three times including a top-10 finish at last year’s World Triathlon Powerman Middle Distance Duathlon Championships Viborg, but this will be his first time competing at a European Championships.

“For the first couple of events, getting there and qualifying that was the goal, whereas this time, I go there with a bit more of a performance focus. I’m not going to be winning, but I want to finish higher than I have done previously, but still go there and enjoy it too. I’m looking forward to meeting some familiar faces, and some new ones too.

“Last year was a horrible start to the year with injury, I had Covid a couple of times and things like that. This year has been the complete opposite with the ambassador news, and, because the Venice event is quite early it’s been an early training block to get ready for that.”

Powell and Vogwell will be part of a 300-strong GB Age-Group Team in Caorle, with the Italian coastal town hosting both the European Championships for sprint and standard distance duathlon.

Qualifying events are held throughout the year giving British Triathlon members the opportunity to qualify to represent Great Britain internationally at World and European Championships in a variety of swim, bike, run disciplines and distances including triathlon (swim, bike, run), duathlon (run, bike, run), aquathlon (swim, run) and aquabike (swim, bike).

To find out more about how to qualify, visit the Age-Group page here.

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