Local triathlete Kerry has been competing since 2009 and attends the World Triathlon Championships in Auckland next month. Here, she tells us what it's really like to take part in a triathlon, and what motivates her to go further, faster, higher and stronger. It's an inspiring read!
First things first, let me introduce myself: my name is Kerry Rough, I am a local triathlete and I live, breathe and train in our glorious county of Rutland. Not only am I a member of Rutland Velo Club but I also belong to Stamford Triathlon Club.
I first started triathlons after watching my other half in numerous races up and down the country. Before I met him, I didn’t even know what a triathlon was! For those of you that don’t know, a triathlon consists of a swim to start with, followed by a bike ride, finishing up with a run. After watching my boyfriend compete, I began to think that it didn’t look too hard or difficult to do, so I signed myself up to a women's Sprint triathlon back in 2009 called the Deva Divas in Chester (my home town). I already ran most weeks and was able to swim; I just needed to purchase a bike (and possibly learn how to swim a bit better than a dying fish!). Although the training was difficult at first, the elation and feeling of crossing the finish line in my first ever event and becoming a ‘Triathlete’ ensured that I was signed up to my next triathlon within a matter of weeks. It was clear that I was hooked!
After 2009 came a fantastic season in 2010 where I managed to qualify for the World Triathlon Championships for my age group in the Sprint Triathlon event. This really geared me up for a whole summer of racing and training virtually every day for around 3 months or so.
Triathlon is one of the fastest growing sports in the UK, with around 800 races in the UK organised last year alone. You might have also heard about Ironman events, which are triathlons but of epic proportions! One must complete a 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile bike ride with a marathon to finish. Most people take around 14-15 hours to complete this mammoth event, with the top dogs finishing in around 8 hours and the cut-off being 17 hours. I have yet to compete at one of these events or have the courage to sign up for one, with my main race distances being of the Sprint or Olympic distance variety (750m swim/20km bike/5km run for the Sprint and 1500m swim/40km bike/10km run for the Olympic distance). There are also middle distance events, or half Ironman events which you can partake in or even Duathlons or Aquathlons which are run/bike/run and swim/run events.
For me triathlons are a way of giving it my all and testing myself to my limits. I have always loved a challenge and have always participated in sports, whether that is running, playing netball or hockey, football or even having a go at golf. I am not afraid to give it a try! (Pun fully intended.) Triathlons are a way of showcasing your very best athletic ability and you can race against people of all shapes and sizes and all abilities. Races can be huge in number like the Dambuster event held here at Rutland Water every June, which accommodates around 1000 competitors, or tiny like the off-road event I completed a few weeks back in Bedford with around 40 people. No matter what event I am doing, I always give 100% and always feel so happy when I have finished. Ask any triathlete and they will tell you about how good racing makes you feel. It is totally different to a running, cycling or swimming event in that you have mastered all three disciplines and you know in yourself that getting around the race was a real challenge. If it was easy literally everyone would be doing it!
This year I have managed to qualify for the World Triathlon Championships due to be held in Auckland this October. That has been my main motivation this year (as well as the thought of a cheeky glass or two of vino after I have finished my season) and has kept me going when the training is getting tough.
If anyone else happened to watch the Men’s Olympic Triathlon event a couple of months back, with our home boys Alastair and Jonny Brownlee (yes they are brothers!) taking gold and bronze, you were probably blown away just like I was. Being there in Hyde Park to watch the race unfold, I was just amazed to watch these strong lads bring home the bacon. I can only hope that this encourages people to get signed up for an event, to pick up their running shoes and get out on their bikes!
With the amazing countryside here in Rutland, it is not hard to be motivated to get on my bike. Having the guys up at Rutland Cycling in Whitwell in case of any problems, I can feel assured that if ever I have a puncture or need new parts for my bike, someone will be there to assist me.
Well, I hope that you have enjoyed hearing about my love of Triathlons and what pushes me further, faster, higher and stronger. Over the coming months, I hope to inform you about my training, motivation and guidance as well as training tips for triathlon and cycling and appreciate your comments and feedback.
Happy Training all!