Isla came to triathlon from a background in horse riding. After having children, she tried a few running events and was encouraged to do more when she won a bottle of wine in a race. “That was great motivation!” she says
But then a back injury caused by a riding accident stopped Isla in her tracks and she was unable to run nor ride for a while. Desperate to lose weight once she was allowed to exercise again, and because she was riding as an amateur jockey, Isla had a summer entering various challenges, including the Rat Race Coast to Coast. It was during this race that she thought about giving triathlon a go.
She says: “I don’t know what happened but until then I’d never considered triathlon. Then, I suddenly thought, this might be a fun idea.
“Luckily for me, the spin and circuits instructor, Ricky Taylor, at my local gym is a multiple Ironman. He was also a member of GTC and encouraged me to join the club.”
That was four years ago and since then Isla has enjoyed many successes.
Isla’s progress with GTC
Isla reports that she has improved in all disciplines since joining GTC, but most of all in swimming. She says: “When I started at GTC I had barely swam since I was at school and I could only do a few flailing lengths of front crawl.
“With much patience from the fantastic coaches I am now a confident swimmer. I no longer have ‘the fear’ at the dark, deep end of the Western Baths.
“I also conquered my fear of open water swimming by attending South Lanarkshire Council open water swimming at James Hamilton Heritage Park in East Kilbride. At the beginning I wouldn’t even put my face in for more than a few seconds and now I am fine.”
In training, Isla prefer cycling the most. However, when racing it’s the running she prefers because, she says, “There are less things to go wrong with running!”
She adds: “Having said that, now that I am a more confident swimmer, I am beginning to enjoy the rough and tumble of the open water races.”
Isla’s race plans
Since taking up triathlon, Isla has completed more sprint races than any others for logistical reasons. She says: “There are more events available closer to home and with a busy family and work life – I am a work rider at Jim Goldie Racing – I need things to be simpler.
“I have completed standard and middle distance events and I loved the challenge, but my nemesis is going long-distance. I started the Rat Race City to Summit Iron Distance Triathlon in 2014, but I got timed out at mile 20 on the run. That is a lasting memory.”
Last year, Isla was thrilled to qualify at Strathclyde Park for the ITU World Triathlon Age Group Championships in Mexico later in the summer.
She says: “It was a superbly terrifying and exciting day. The club support was amazing and I loved every second. Fellow GTC member Maggie Darroch and I had an amazing experience in Mexico.”
Isla’s goals for this year are to complete a longer triathlon so she has entered the Outlaw Iron Distance triathlon in July.
Her life aspiration is to be like the 86-year-old lady she met in Mexico. She says: “Maggie and I were waiting in the pre-race toilet queue at the worlds and we were chatting to this older lady who was competing for USA. She was 86 and her motivation and enjoyment of the sport was infectious. I want to be like her.”
Isla’s top tips for triathlon
Enter an event to give you a goal for training.
Don’t be intimidated by other racers, instead, ask them questions.
Just do it! (At the risk of sounding like a well known trainer brand.)
Join a club because you’ll learn from the coaching and other athletes and you’ll meet like-minded people.