My fiancé Reece and I live just outside London where we work and train together. We both used to be elite level swimmers until 2 years ago; this was when we decided to make the spontaneous ‘transition’ to triathlon. GLL have supported Reece throughout his swimming career while he was swimming for Waltham Forest Gators. When I moved to London with Reece he suggested I apply too.
Our shift to triathlon has been a fantastic journey made easier the support from GLL. As elite level swimmers we had already mastered at least one of the three disciplines of tri, however we would not have been able to maintain that without access to our local GLL facility Chingford Leisure centre, and of course the magnificent facility at the no ordinary park 50m pool in Stratford. With the swim taken care of we turned the attention to the run. It took us a good few months to build up our running to a decent standard; we used the GLL facility and Walthamstow Pool and Track to help facilitate this process. Within a couple of months we had begun to see some noticeable improvement in our running. Cycling however, took quite a bit longer to develop. In fact, we were laughable in the beginning, staying upright was an achievement and let’s not mention clip in shoes. We are still not overly confident out on the road and that’s nearly two years on, swimmers are designed to go in straight lines! Having access to the watt bike facilities at Stratford really helped develop the muscular endurance of our leg muscles, at least we are good on straight roads, thanks GLL.
The first triathlon we signed up for was the full Ironman UK 2014; this consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run. At the time of entering this neither of us owned a bike nor had ever competed in a multi-sport event. If you think we’re a bit mad, you’re probably right! However after 10 months of solid training and use of superb GLL facilities Reece and I made it to the start line of Ironman UK and indeed finished in the top 10. We had a great race, completing the challenge and getting a real buzz for endurance racing.
After Ironman UK 2014 Reece and I had just one target, return to Ironman UK and qualify for the World Championships in Kona Hawaii which is only achievable by winning your age group (18-24). This was a colossal challenge for both of us given that the winners were over an hour faster than us in 2014, even in Ironman terms that’s a big gap to make up.