Looking for a new challenge post retirement, Marian Boyd joined Ocean Lake Triathlon Club and her journey has taken her to European Age-Group gold.
Having grown up in Dublin, Boyd competed in and won swimming galas as a child, finishing 4th at the Irish National Championships. Living in England, once she’d retired, Boyd decided she wanted to get back to open water swimming where she met some members of a triathlon club local to her in Kent.
“I met a number of triathletes from Ocean Lake Triathlon who were training where I was swimming,” Boyd said.
“I’d bought a bike just before retiring to help with general fitness, so decided to join the club to see how it went. Triathlon was something I’d always wanted to get into but hadn’t run since a back injury in my early twenties. The club was really welcoming and triathlon started to take over my life.”
Boyd’s first steps into the sport came off the back of a desire to maintain fitness and a healthy lifestyle, having lost over 4 stone at age 50 but finding the weight creeping back on again once no longer working.
“I’m a competitive person, so to be able to compete against other women my age was great” commented Boyd. “Even though I’d come to the sport at an older age and it meant it would take me a bit of time to be competitive, I started daydreaming about becoming an Age-Group athlete.”
She had the choice between representing Ireland and Great Britain, however, chose the country of her birth. Her journey from aspiration to champion still had another twist or two to come though.
“I suffered injuries which kept me out of action for most of 2016 and 2017, but it was great to be able to celebrate with my clubmates as they competed at World and European Championships,” Boyd added.
“My injuries were related to running, so when I heard about the aquabike, I decided that that was the event for me. I knew I had to get serious if I was to make it onto the team and started training with Liz Scott who got my fitness level to a place it had never been before and I qualified for the Irish team to race in 2019.”
The championships that she’d qualified for were the 2019 European Championships in Targu Mures where she competed in the aquabike race.
“I turned the trip to Romania into a road trip with my sister,” said Boyd. “It was great to be with her and take part with the other Irish athletes. There were only ten of us and I didn’t meet the others until the Parade of Nations. I loved the walk through the streets with all the athletes and the atmosphere at the opening ceremony was fantastic.
“The camaraderie between all the competitors before the race itself was wonderful and wearing the national trisuit was such a good feeling. It was a really hot day but having competitors from all different teams and those lining the route cheering and giving encouragement.
“My favourite thing about the Age-Group system is that it gives people of all ages the opportunity to continue to set targets and compete at a national and international level. It’s meant that I’ve been able to become an international athlete despite being in my sixties.”
Boyd took the gold medal in her age group and pre-qualified for the 2020 race to defend her title prior to it’s cancellation.