Ta­lented Twins

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - Podium - By Nadja Roy

Paulaand Lynda Hick­man sit on a rock side by side wait­ing for me to ar­rive. Twice a week we meet for a 3.5 km swim at Meech Lake in Gatineau Park, Que. As ex­cep­tional and in­spir­ing ath­letes they al­ways push the pace. At first glance, the 63-year- old twins ap­pear shy and unim­pos­ing. Ath­letes half their age work hard to keep up with them. Train­ing with younger triath­letes mo­ti­vates Paula and Lynda to work on tech­nique and speed.

Born on the Isle of Wight, Great Bri­tain, the twins grew up com­pet­ing in lo­cal horse shows. They were the only two women in their elec­tri­cal engineering class at the Univer­sity of Brighton. Lynda would go on to get a mas­ter’s de­gree in sys­tems engineering from Car­leton Univer­sity in Ottawa.

Af­ter mov­ing to Canada, Paula com­peted in road races and dis­cov­ered her nat­u­ral run­ning abil­ity. Lynda soon fol­lowed, want­ing to keep up with her sis­ter. When suc­cess came eas­ily, the twins de­cided they needed more of a chal­lenge. They turned their at­ten­tion to mul­ti­sport rac­ing and the re­sults have been as­tound­ing. Lynda is a two-time Cana­dian cham­pion and took her age group at the 2001 world cham­pi­onship. She’s qual­i­fied for Kona three times, tak­ing her age group at Iron­man Lake Placid in 2006 and at Iron­man Texas in 2011. This year she won her age group at Iron­man 70.3 Muskoka. Paula took the Cana­dian cham­pi­onship in 1999 and is a two-time Iron­man World Cham­pi­onship qual­i­fier and ran a blaz­ing 3:11 marathon in Ottawa in 2008.

Paula has strug­gled with health is­sues for the last few years. Chronic sys­temic in­flam­ma­tion stopped her in her tracks and forced her to stop train­ing for a year. Af­ter a year of al­most no ac­tiv­ity she bounced back quickly and is run­ning 10 km races in a very re­spectable 43:00.

The rivalry be­tween such in­tense com­peti­tors is in­evitable. With al­most iden­ti­cal heart rates (there is only one beat dif­fer­ence be­tween them, both at at rest and at max) beat­ing each other is quite a feat. Once, in tran­si­tion dur­ing a race, out of habit Paula asked Lynda to wait for her. Lynda replied, “It’s a race,” and took off on her run.

Their goals for the fu­ture? Paula is con­tin­u­ing to re­build her­self and is hop­ing to run a half and full marathon next sum­mer. On her end, Lynda will be com­pet­ing in the 2014 Iron­man 70.3 World Cham­pi­onship in Mont-Trem­blant. Ob­vi­ously for the twins age is noth­ing but a num­ber and it sure won’t be slow­ing them down.

Nadja Roy, a for­mer elite triath­lete, lives in Ottawa.

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