Two years ago, Kirsty couldn’t swim front crawl for more than one length but after watching Eddie Brocklesby cross the finish line in Lanzarote as the oldest woman from the UK to complete an Ironman, aged 70, she was determined to make a change.
Eddie was 53 when she started taking part in triathlons; the same age that Kirsty was when she watched her cross the line and that was what inspired Kirsty to think “If she can, I can.”
After arranging insurance for Kirsty with our unique home and bike policy and hearing her story, we asked her to share with us a little more about her inspirational journey:
Once I’d been inspired by Eddie on TV, I felt like there was no time like the present to begin my triathlon journey. Swimming was my weakness so I started training in Builth Wells’ pool around 3-4 times a week. I had a bike with a basket and streamers on the handles and knew I’d need to get a better one if I was to take it seriously. I challenged myself to be able to swim 16 lengths before I invested in a new bike, and I achieved it.
My first experience of a triathlon race wasn’t the best. I was in a dirty river surrounded by around 200 women all kicking and splashing and I was terrified. I looked up to my husband whilst I struggled along, switching from front crawl to breast stroke. He shouted down, “Don’t give up, if you get out I’ll push you back in!” he knew how much it meant to me to finish and that’s what I did.
32 hours after the race I’d gotten a stomach bug, I think it may have been from the dirty river water. I’d already signed up for the Eaton Dorney triathlon in a few weeks’ time and was feeling so deflated because I thought I wouldn’t be able to compete.
I got better, completed the race and after many more was instated as an age group triathlete for Team GB in May 2015.
My season so far has been great, I competed in The Jensen Button Trust Triathlon in Derby in July. It was great to be amongst some prolific athletes like Adam Bowden and Emma Pallant. During the eliminator round I came 14th place which meant I could move on to compete in the top 50 final.
I’d got a new TT bike before the triathlon which I’d ridden during training but obviously not tried out in competition. Unfortunately, during the top 50 final, I tripped over my bike on the first transition and by the time I’d gotten off and was about to run, my foot was the size of a rugby ball! I didn’t get to finish the final due to my injury but it was still a great experience.
The most recent triathlon I competed in was the ITU World Triathlon in Chicago. Before flying over, I’d joined a Facebook group with other members of Team GB who were all competing. Many had recommended Pedalcover for insurance so I thought I’d give them a call. With its unique home and bike insurance policy I managed to get everything covered for just £450, a saving of £232 on the nearest quote.
On my way to the venue I was joined by Johnny Brownlee in a lift, he wished me the best and I saw it as a good luck charm.
It was so hot in Chicago. Luckily, to warm up, I managed to find a shaded avenue of trees. Whilst I was there I noticed a lady talking to camera. It was Louise Minchin from the BBC. Before I knew it, I was in front of the camera and appeared live on television!
The triathlon was a fantastic experience with a great route. I managed to finish 21st out of more than 60. I was over the moon with my result, although there was only 16 seconds between myself and 18th place, so it was very close.
For now, I’m taking a little time off – besides a cycling holiday to Thailand – before my training starts again on December 1st.
I’m hoping to take part in the Cardiff Half Marathon next year and to ultimately qualify for my age group in the European Championships in May.
In the early days, many a night I sat outside the pool with butterflies in my stomach, ready to turn around in the car and head home. However, I kept going and kept improving little by little and now I’m a member of Team GB.
My advice to anyone who is thinking of getting involved in any sort of challenge, be it triathlon, cycling or simply getting more active, is to never give up. Don’t get disheartened if you don’t achieve your goals right away, it’s taken me 55 years to get to where I am today but it’s been a fantastic journey.
What an inspirational story. Thanks Kirsty!
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