‘I lost two stone thanks to triathlon training!’
‘Iwas very sporty at school. I went to boarding school and was captain of sport, playing netball to county level and lacrosse at quite a high level, too. I wasn’t slim, though, and didn’t really know about eating healthily. In my 20s, I stopped playing sport, had kids and put on a lot of weight. In fact, by the time I’d had three kids, I’d put on four stone.
‘I played the odd bit of netball in my 30s, but nothing much and it was only three years ago, aged 49, that I decided I wanted to do a sprint triathlon when I was 50 because it was on my bucket list. I started swimming, but got a terrible pain in my shoulder. As I work for Simplyhealth [Kate is a part-time telesales advisor for the everyday healthcare company], I saw a private consultant who found I had problems with both shoulders, and I had to have three operations in a year as I’d torn my rotator cuff. The surgeon didn’t think I’d swim again, but now I feel better than I did before the injury.
‘I still did a local triathlon when I was 50, and got the bug, partly because I met an inspiring woman called Janet Taplin who’s 63 and competes for GB. I thought, “If she can do it, so can I!” She told me about the local Stonehenge Triathlon and Road Club (stonehengetriandroad.co.uk) and I now train there in each discipline every week. I can do the same triathlon 12 minutes faster than I did it the first time and want to keep improving!’
‘I never thought I’d be able to handle the cleats on a road bike and was nervous at first, but I love it now. Running is my least favourite part of triathlon, but now Simplyhealth has partnered with The Great Run Series [a nationwide series of runs of different lengths; greatrun.org], it gives me more motivation to put on my trainers. I ran a 10K Great Run in under an hour and that was more than I’d ever wished for.
‘We set up a running club at work and I’ve been designated a “run champion”, so I motivate others to make the most of our access to the Great Runs. I also help with the Simplyhealth #millionsmoving hub, giving people tips on healthier eating or how to train (millionsmoving.co.uk).
‘I’m going to do an open-water swim on the anniversary of my dad’s death to raise money for the British Heart Foundation [he died aged 64 of a heart attack 20 years ago]. Heart disease runs in the family, so that also motivates me to stay as healthy as possible.
‘I now have my level one triathlon coaching qualification and I’m a level two swimming teacher. I’m aiming to get my level two triathlon qualification by the end of the year. When I first joined Stonehenge Triathlon and Road Club, my chairman and coach Shaun Green encouraged me to get into the coaching side so that the club could benefit from some more coaches. I train in each discipline multiple times a week – I run three times, cycle twice and swim at least twice a week; one session being in a lake! I also do a Pilates class as this really complements what I do.
‘I love helping others and am quite a motivator. For me, I just want to keep going forever and may extend my triathlon distance or try a half marathon if I stay injury free.’
TOP TIP ‘Motivate those you know to get running by telling them to start a Couch to 5k programme. Remind them they’ll get healthier and live longer!’