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Athlete of the month: Celia Greig

Celia Greig has been with the club since May 2017 and has been taking part in triathlons for six years. She is about to head into the 45-to-49 age category.

Celia has enjoyed sports for most of her life and she can remember her dad encouraging her. She says: “Dad attempted to make me into his racquet and ball sports prodigy for years, however it was skiing, snowboarding boarding, running, cycling and swimming that I most liked.

“I ran and cycled with my dad and we regularly ran 5k and 10ks together. But, when I was 20, my dad was diagnosed with PSP, which is a relatively rare degenerative neurological disease. This meant he had to give running and all the other sports he loved.

“My sister and I decided to run the Edinburgh Marathon in 2003 to raise money for PSP research. I achieved this with no real goal and limited training, but I was proud that my dad was able to see us crawl over the line.

“Sadly, he passed away that year, so five years after that, while living in London, I ran it again in aid of PSP and with a bit more effort. I joined Kent Athletics Club to try to train more effectively.”

By this point, Celia had caught the “running bug” and she went on to complete many events at 10k and half-marathon distance.

Celia also worked as a pool lifeguard and a children’s swimming teacher as a student. She says: “However, I didn’t swim competitively back then and I didn’t really achieve the skill level that I really wanted at that time.”

Celia and friends.

Discovering triathlon

Triathlon came when Celia was living in Sydney, Australia. She says: “I was suffering with quite a few minor running-related injuries so I decided to have a go at triathlon. It offered the chance to do a range of sports and not focus on just one.

“Between 2013 and 2016, I took part in six all-female Triathlon Pink events in Sydney, as well as one in Newcastle. I also did the Big Husky and Little Husky events, which are part of the Huskisson Triathlon Festival in New South Wales.”

Celia was keen, while living in Sydney, to develop her swimming skills so she could enjoy the open water swim events that living in Australia offered.

She also bought a new bike, with the aim of becoming “better and faster”.

Today, Celia’s favourite discipline is cycling. She says: “I feel that cycling is my strongest sport and I love the challenge of the range of terrain and courses in Scotland.

“However, I see the most improvement in both running and swimming, the more coaching I receive from GTC.” 

Races and goals

Celia’s race distance preference is sprint, although she has started to complete in longer distances.

She says: “Shorter distances – and the training required for them –  fit in better with being a working mum of three kids under the age of nine.

“But I enjoy longer events as well. I have competed in a standard-distance triathlon and I am doing the Knockburn Standard in September as well. I have also taken part in a middle distance triathlon.”

Celia is most proud of her two Edinburgh marathons – and taking part in a triathlon when her youngest daughter was just 12 weeks old.

Celia, right, with GTC friends.

She also took bronze in two events in 2018, the New Cumnock Supersprint and the Stirling Aquathlon, and she was first female vet in the Glenrothes Tri Festival in 2017.

She adds: “I was also pleased to be third female vet in my first standard- distance event, the Brighton and Hove 2018 triathlon, and I achieved my sub-six hour goal in the middle-distance UK Ultimate Half Triathlon thanks to the brilliant and supportive coaching of Fiona Maurer, who helped me to get over the line in 5:54:21.

“I loved the event and hope to do more in the future, especially if I can spend the weekend with fantastic GTC friends again like this year.”

Celia’s has several goals for the rest of the season. She says: “I want to improve my transition times, to do more early morning training sessions and to believe in myself more.

“Next season, I hope to entering an Ironman 70.3 and my lifetime aspirations for triathlon are to do a middle distance event in the sun somewhere; to complete a full Ironman event (maybe?!) and to continue to race with and for Glasgow Triathlon Club, for as long as possible.”

Celia’s tips for triathlon

Believe in yourself and your capabilities

Join a great club of likeminded people like GTC

Go to as many coached sessions as you can because they are fun and you can see the improvement almost immediately.

30 GTC members prepare to head to Ironman Wales

With fewer than six weeks until Ironman Wales 2019, we catch up with the GTC members who are committed to the race.

It was last year, after Alan Anderson had completed Ironman Wales 2018, that some 50 people signed up to do the race this year. Alan was keen to see a large crowd heading to the event – and he encouraged many people to enter.

It’s credit to our club and the athletes that there are still 30 people committed to racing.

GTC IM Wales competitors

In the men’s camp, the IM Wales entry list reveals: Alan Anderson, Nicholas Bone, Alan Brunton, Phillip Burns, Annibale Coia, John Conlin, Jeremy Deveney, Alan Duff, Tony Evans, Stuart Gillepsie, Paul Glen, Ian Hockey, Tom Kemlo, David King, Jim Lockhart, Gregor Love, Toby Messenger, Stewart Milne, Lochlan O’sullivan, Ian Ramage, Russell Snowdon, Gareth Treharne, Sean Webster and David Wilson.

Competing for the women are: Maggie Darroch, Hilary Glen, Viv Gough, Cat Hirst, Nathalie Jones and Claire Robertson.

For most, it’s their first time doing Ironman Wales and many will be doing their inaugural long-distance triathlon.

We caught up with a few GTC athletes to see how their training has been going.

Ups and downs of training

Truck driving and training

Dave and his truck!

For Dave King (age group 45-49), his job as a long-distance truck driver, working 70-plus hours a week, has meant that he has had to be creative with his training.

He says: “I work away from home all week and I live in my truck.

“I take my bike, wetsuit and running gear with me and do what I can, when I can. The looks I get when stepping out a truck dressed in a rubber suit are priceless. 

“The Ironman is a personal challenge. I still love being part of an amazing club although I have never been able to train with any club members!”

Early starts are key to success

Holiday cycling with the family.

Jim Lockhart, who is also in the age group 45 to 49, is grateful to his family, the revelation of early morning training sessions and losing a stone in weight.

Jim has been training for IM Wales since last September. He started almost as soon as he entered. He reports that training has been much easier than he expected and despite the odd wobble he has enjoyed it.

He says: “It took a while to get into the swing of things at the start, with dark mornings and struggling to find the time to train due to work and family commitments.

“But I bought Don Fink’s Be Ironfit book, which suggested early morning workouts and that has worked for me.

“My job can be quite intense and involves a bit of travel so it is easy to be derailed during the day. As hard as it can be to get up before 5.30am, it feels great to have trained for an hour or so before the rest of the world wakes up. It can feel like you have a few extra days per week.”

Jim has remained motivated to stick to his training. He says: “Perhaps it is the variety of training, the fact that the discipline of early morning training is really working for me, or that I have proved that I can find time to train for an event such as this while having a very demanding work schedule. Anyway, I have stayed motivated most of the time.

“I feel good about what I have achieved so far and the improvements I have made in every discipline. My swimming has come on a lot, my cycling has seen huge improvement as well, and I’m running as well and consistently as I have for years.

 “I may also be a stone lighter in weight!”

Jim reports that his family have been very supportive. Jim is married to Beth and they have two 11-year-olds, Ella and Euan. They are all members of GTC.

Jim says: “Beth and the kids have been awesome and I couldn’t manage this without them.

“Beth was involved in the decision to enter because we both recognised the commitment required. We’re both very busy and she is also studying towards her MBA, so our time commitments were fairly onerous to start with.

“Beth has pushed me to stick with the programme when my motivation has escaped me and she is also very efficient at finding me people with whom to share my long cycles.

“Viv Gough has suggested that I have a very efficient social secretary, who puts in the hard work so that I can get out on my bike. She is right!

“Beth has also been instrumental in many of my early rises – mainly by kicking me out of bed.

 “Ella and Euan are also fully supportive. I think they might be more excited about it than me. They want me to get the tattoo. I’ve said no.”

There have been a few slightly low moments for Jim but not anything to be worried about. He says: “The training has gone past in a flash. I get a bit grumpy every now and again with the early mornings and the schedule is pretty relentless.

“I look back at the two to three hours of training per week that I could muster last summer and put that in the context of how I am putting in 16 to 20 hours now.”

 Jim is not dwelling on the race just now. He says: “I haven’t allowed myself to think about the race and I’ve just concentrated on each week of the training plan.

“I know that I have the time off and the accommodation booked, but I haven’t thought much further than that as I know if I thought about the race it would frighten me.

“As I see it, if I train enough for the swim, the bike and the run, test the nutrition and do a load of running off the bike then the race should sort itself out.

“My mind has wandered on occasion and sometimes during a hard training ride, or a run that isn’t going so well, I have started asking myself questions: ‘Why did I enter this?’, ‘If this feels so bad after x miles, how am I going to manage 140.6?’.

“But I use this as motivation because I know that it is a mental test as much as a physical one. When it feels bad, I bank the experience so that I can put it to good use during the race itself.

“I know there will be plenty of time to be nervous about the race the night before.”

Sean hopes for a better 2nd IM Wales

Sean has enjoyed many bike packing trips as part of his training.

Sean Webster, GTC president, is competing in IM Wales for the second time. He says: “This year, I have a coach, GTC member Crawford at Project 3, who writes my training plans. I have been following this since December. He writes it and I do it.

“I think it is a lot easier to train with a coach.

“I have also been focusing more on my running. The run in last year’s IM Wales felt very hard, so my aim this year is to have a good one. I have done two ultra distance runs in my training and also a couple of half Ironmans.

“I am looking forward to the race.”

Busy life and busy training

Hilary, right, and husband Paul, left, with tri club friends, Gareth and Viv.

Hilary Glen is one of six GTC women taking part in IM Wales 2019. She has a busy job and there is the added pressure of her husband Paul also training for IM Wales. They have two children as well.

Hilary has been keeping us up to date with training on her blog: Why Am I Doing an Ironman?

Hilary is also being coached by Crawford of P3 and she has enlisted the support of personal trainer, Fiona, of Fit + Fabulous, who is another club member.

Hilary has reported her ups (mostly) and downs (seemingly few) through the past year of training.

I liked this observation from Hilary in May after completing the Etape Caledonia Sportive. She writes: “I now realise that an easy week when you are training for an Ironman actually consists of two strength/core sessions (one of them being a 6.30am circuits class the morning after the Etape), one swim (fortunately the open water session wasn’t on this week), three cycles and two runs.”

Hilary wrote about the importance of training buddies, too, having previously been something of a solo athlete.

And in her most recent blog post, Hilary was delighted to see many improvements in her fitness and confidence.

Hilary took part in the Heb Tri and finished feeling “strong and satisfied”. To her great delight, she was third female finisher and second female vet.

She writes: “It was a big psychological boost from my last race before Wales, and thanks largely to the fantastic coaching and training plan from Crawford, not to mention the on-going input from GTC.”

  • We wish all club members heading to Tenby in September the best of luck.

GTC athlete of the month: Callum Miller

Callum has been training with GTC for four years and now races in the Youth 1 (age 15 to 16) age category.

A pupil at Boclair Academy, Bearsden, his progress to triathlon began with swimming. Callum says: “Until the age of around eight, I was purely a swimmer because many of my close friends had started competitive swimming and I liked the sound of it.

“I found it enjoyable at first, but as friends moved clubs and stopped training, I too began losing interest.

“Also, I found that staring at the bottom of a pool for eight hours a week was not too enthralling.”

Callum training on the bike.

A move to triathlon

Having become disenchanted with swimming, Callum took up archery for a few years until he joined a triathlon camp.

He says: “Since that Easter training camp four years ago, I have dropped archery and began to move forward with triathlon as my primary focus.”

Callum is once again enjoying the swimming, as well as training in cycling and running.

He says: “I like being in the pool again but also with the added diversity of having cycling and running as a sometimes more enjoyable alternative.

“Another advantage of triathlon as a sport is that I find the training exceptionally fun. Overall it’s the diversity of three different sports that means I really enjoy triathlon.”

Callum likes the three sports equally. He says: “I know that some people have a favourite discipline in triathlon, such as a sport that comes more naturally to them or a sport they excel in, but I honestly find all three equally enjoyable at times.

“If I am doing a nice cycle in the sun on smooth roads, then cycling is my favourite. If I am in a warm loch, then my favourite is swimming. If I have a rainy day, running is my favourite.

“I feel like all three disciplines are great – if not the best – sports. They all have their merits and, to be honest, they don’t have many flaws, apart from cycling in the rain!”

Callum has seen great improvements in all the disciplines, as well as in his transitions, since joining GTC, but especially so in running.

He says: “It took few sessions for the coaches to identify problems and suggest improvements in my running – and how I could develop a better technique.

“I saw improvements quickly due to the fact it is probably the easiest sport for me to really exert myself and therefore allowing greater fitness to develop faster.

“I have really valued the incredible technique coaching from GTC.”

Callum racing.

Callum’s racing career

Callum began his triathlon racing career in the Tristar 2 age category. He says: “The race distances were perfect for me at the time and I then went through Tristar 3, continuing to pursue the standard age distances.

“Now, since entering the youth category, I have finished two sprint distance triathlons, both of which I felt much more comfortable doing.

“I think that I am going to continue to move up distances as my stamina allows, because ultimately I want to pursue Ironman distance racing.

“For now, sprint distance is long enough for me although I do hope to complete a standard distance triathlon soon.”

Callum has revealed two achievements he is most proud of: Last year, he was selected for the Scottish Academy and, this year, he finished in the top 10 in the British ETU Sprint Qualifier.

He says: “The Scottish Academy was my focus in 2018 and I worked exceptionally hard and tapered long for the trial.

“This year, finishing eighth in the sprint qualifier was great but I was more pleased with finishing my first sprint triathlon and achieving my goal time, by the skin of my teeth, of 1:05:00.”

This season, Callum’s goals  are to to re-qualify for the Academy Squad and “to achieve a peak fitness level so I am ready to try and qualify for the ETU sprint next year”.

He says: “Having one of my great friends attending the sprint championships this season has really spurred me on to go for it again next year – and to keep trying.”

When the raining or racing gets tough, Callum has his methods for coping. He says: “To be honest, tough training sessions are hard to come by because I enjoy the sport so much, but the occasional one, or a hard race, sometimes can be really demoralising.

“The thought of a goal, long or short-term, pushes me on though. I tend to think of things like Kona and the Super Series.

“Sometimes that still isn’t enough and that is when I turn to friendships. GTC has allowed me to make amazing friends, who I trust and get along with incredibly well. Having friends like that in training can really help.”

Triathlon goal

Callum is still young but he has set himself an impressive goal to make it to Ironman Kona. He says: “I think it is the most inspiring event to watch and I really look up to the pros who can achieve such unbelievable things.

“Watching the eight-hour barrier being broken has really inspired me to do the same, and really go for the top at Ironman level.

“Another thing I want to achieve in triathlon is to continue having fun. Always enjoying what you do is very important, and I don’t see point in pursuing something that is not your passion.”

Callum’s triathlon tips

Have friends and role models: Having friends will allow a social aspect to open up out with your training life, and it will mean you have friends you look forwards to seeing, as well as people who can encourage and support you.

Having role models is good also as it allows you to really see how it is done. Regardless of whether they are pro or just the fastest in the club, having someone that inspires you will spur you on.

Enjoy it: Having fun in the sport is important because it will keep you motivated and determined, otherwise you won’t give your all. Make sure you love what you are doing and find purpose.

Join GTC: GTC is such a friendly club and always doing the best thing for their members. It is not exclusive, meaning you can go to pretty much any training session and work it around your life.

People in the club are always there to give advice and offer guidance to beginners, which is very helpful if you don’t quite know what to do. There are so many sessions to attend, and so many coaches, allowing you to improve quickly and properly.

Rachel podiums at Celtman! 2019

GTC member Rachel Hunt, 37, has long had her eye on the Celtman! Extreme Scottish Marathon. At the weekend, she finished second female and won a place in the Xtri World Championship 2020 at Norseman.

She says: “Even before my first triathlon, I’d seen the Celtman! on the Adventure Show in 2014. It was what sparked my interest in triathlon in a big way.

“This year, the Celtman! was my race goal and I am delighted by how it went. It felt great to cross the finish line and felt strong right to the end.

“It was also exciting knowing I have a place in the Norseman.”

From gym starter to Celtman!

Just four years ago, Rachel was six stones heavier than she is now. She started going to the gym to lose weight and get fit but her goal was always to do a triathlon.

She started running and cycling, did her first sprint triathlon, then an Olympic distance triathlon, a 10k, half marathon and a marathon. She says: “Then I kept working upwards, doing my first  70.3 and an ultra run two years ago.

“Las year, I did my first 53-mile Highland Fling running race and a Half X ‘extreme triathlon’.

“The Celtman is my first IM distance race.”

Rachel was also fifth female in this year’s Highland Fling.

Training for the Celtman!

Rachel, 37, reports that training for the Celtman! went well. She says: “My training plan was written by my coach and I followed it consistently. Thankfully, I have been mostly injury and illness-free so I missed very few training sessions.

“The hours of training were long, peaking at 20 hours, but I tried not to think of the week as a whole or it would have been overwhelming.

“I think it helped my training that I tried to mirror the race in training as much as possible with a long run on rolling trails towards a hill.

“I did one run a few times, leaving from my parent’s house in Gartmore to the top of Ben Ledi and then to Callander. It was perfect because it meant practising running hills when already tired and then finishing on a quick tarmac section like in the race.

“This helped me visualise the race finish.”

Rachel admits she was very nervous before the race and scared of the swim. But she was also excited because it was something she had been working towards for years.

She says: “I tried to stay calm and not get too excited or nervous but there were a few meltdowns and I’m very thankful to Vicky and Rose and many club members who gave me excellent advice and encouragement.”

Rachel and her support runner Alwyn.
2am on race day: Rachel with her dad. Her parents were her support team.

Rachel’s Celtman! swim

She says: “The swim was very cold and no warmer than 11 degrees. When I entered the water I started shivering but I wasn’t sure if it was the cold or adrenaline.

“The swim is a point-to-point swim and you are really out in the middle of the deep sea loch at points but I tried to keep that thought out of my head so I didn’t panic.

“The loch is also full of jellyfish, which I didn’t like the sound of, but in the end I liked them. I was glad of the neoprene gloves, booties and hat, which were very kindly lent to me by members of the tri club, especially when my hand hit a couple of jellyfish.

“I felt myself getting cold during the swim and when I came out of the water I was shaking very strongly.”

Rachel had hot sweet tea ready in T1 but her hands were shaking so much it kept coming out the cup. It took her 10 minutes to get moving and on to her bike.

She says: “This was longer than many people but I don’t think I would have been safe to get on my bike any earlier. I never thought of quitting at that point though and I was just determined to get moving.

“The other memory from T1, which was funny, was seeing some people stripping off completely in transition out in the open in the main street of Sheildaig village.”

Rachel’s Celtman! cycle

Rachel reports that the cycle went fairly smoothly, although it took her a while to warm up and get moving after the swim.

She says: “There were a few guys that I saw quite a lot as I would overtake them on the hills and flats and then they would fly past me on the downhills. There was some cheerful banter between us.

“In the second half, I started overtaking more people. The headwind seemed constant no matter what direction we turned and I was glad I had trained a lot on straight Stirlingshire roads, which always have a strong headwind.

“I would have liked to have been a bit faster on the cycle as I had promising average speeds on long cycles before the race but at least I got stronger with time rather than fading later on in the cycle. 

“I left the bike with my legs feeling good.”

Rachel’s Celtman! run

The run was the “absolute highlight” of the race for Rachel.

She says: “I tried to keep running through the hills in the first section and made good use of the long downhill because I was determined to make the high route.”

There is a cut off time when competitors can continue over the two Munro high run route or must stick to a lower course.

Rachel met her support runner, Alwyn Poulter, on the road section and made it to T2A with 20 minutes to spare. At T2A everyone stops for two minutes to make sure they have the mandatory kit needed for the high route.

It was at this point that an Adventure Show interviewer asked Rachel how it felt to be so close to the second female place. She says: “I don’t think my answer was coherent. But it did give me a shove to keep moving up the hill as fast as I could with Alwyn encouraging me on.”

Reaching the next checkpoint Rachel was told she was now second female.

She says: “I knew that the first two places in the Celtman! get a place in the Norseman and this thought and the beautiful views gave me a boost in energy.

“We headed along a ridge, balancing speed with safety as there was a steep drop on both sides. As I was climbing the last peak, we spotted the first female coming down so we knew she was not far ahead.

“We reached the top and turned around running back down along the ridge to the scree slope. We opted for going down the right side of the scree slope and this was probably the scariest part as the loose rocks made for unsteady foot placements.

“I had a tumble near the bottom and scraped up my knees and elbow, which stung for a bit but it was not race-ending. The route headed through the boulder field here and I had fun hopping between rocks.

“We then joined the path down the hill, which was great fun on a rollercoaster trail.”

At this point the route meets the low route, with runners coming in the opposite direction and Rachel enjoyed everyone cheering each other on and high fiving as they passed each other. There was then a 7km run along the tarmac road and along a loop around the village back to the finish line.

Rachel says: “Alwyn was great at this point, helping to keep me running when my body and head were telling me to walk it in.”

Rachel is even upbeat about the weather. She says: “I couldn’t really have asked for better from the Scottish Highlands. The wind was hard work on the cycle and it poured for the road section of the run but at that point it didn’t matter and it was actually quite refreshing.

“I wore just my tri suit for the whole run section and never even thought of needing a jacket or a second layer.

“Last year was a bad weather year and they had to close the upper route early, which must have been disappointing.”

Top three Celtnan! 2019 females.

Times and places

Rachel describes her swim as “fairly average”. After 10 minutes in T1 she was playing catch up on he cycle course but rode hard in fourth female place and then by T2A she was in third place.

She was the fastest female on the high running route and the seventh fastest run overall.

Rachel’s overall time was 14:42:15. She was 16th overall and second female.

First female was Rebecca Hoare in 14:30:52, while third female was Magdalena Trumstedt in 15:10:28.

After a bit of a rest, Rachel now has the Devil o’ the Highlands ultramarathon in her sights for August.

Race report: Fiona Maurer smashes Celtman! 2019

Turing 40 prompted GTC member Fiona Maurer to look for a suitable challenge. She wanted to do a longer-distance triathlon and chose the Celtman! Extreme Scottish Triathlon 2019.

Fiona is married to another GTC member Gary and they have two young children with special needs. She shares her time between being a mum and working as a self-employed part-time personal trainer.

Finding the time to train for a long distance triathlon is tough but Fiona reports that “training is my respite and gives me personal strength and the opportunity to meet like-minded people”.

She adds: “Living with disability reminds me of how precious life can be and how grateful I am to be able to train or compete at any level.”

Fiona and husband Gary.

Lead up to the Celtman!

Fiona started focused training in December and arrived at the start line of her biggest challenge yet feeling “strong, healthy and ready to attack”.

She also had a support team to help her to in the Celtman!, which includes a 3.4km swim, 200km bike and a 42km run over two Munros, Spidean Coire nan Clach and Ruadh-stac Mor.

Before the race, Fiona said: “It’s going to be a long but exciting day. I’m glad to have Team Fit + Fabulous by my side, including my dad, Gary, Lorna Dewar and the very important support runner Craig Dewar.”

However, just two days before, Fiona and Gary had received devastating news from doctors that their young daughter, Emily, who has a tumour, will be required to start chemotherapy treatment. It was an outcome that they had hoped they would not have to face.

Fiona said: “After getting over the initial devastation, this became my driving factor to succeed at the Celtman! – for me and my family. It was just what we all needed!”

Fiona’s husband Gary offered invaluable support as part of Fiona’s team.

Fiona’s Celtman 2019

Fiona exits the swim.

The swim of 3.4km took 1hr 13min. Fiona said: “It was a little nippy in the water at 5am. After head-butting a jellyfish, I remembered I was on their turf, so I decided to go with the flow.

“I just swam and looked up now and again and enjoyed the views. I came out strong in the water.”

The bike section through wet, wind and beautiful scenery.

The 200km bike section took 8hrs 04min. Fiona reported: “Despite lots of training and lengthy cycles, the bike section was tough. The headwinds were relentless but luckily so were the views.

“There were rolling hills with some long stretches of magnificent surrounding mountains. Sunshine, wind, heavy rain, all Scottish style. I was also overtaken by some strong women.”

Fiona a support runner Craig.
Fiona is interviewed by one of the event team at the end of the race.

The 42km run took 5hrs 01min. Fiona said: “I came off the bike with knee pain. The first 10 miles I pushed through the pain. I enjoyed the hills, thinking how lucky I was to be running and not having the ass pain from the bike.

“I quickly realised however that I was not going to make the cut-off for doing he high course, over the Munros, so I decided to relax and enjoy it.

“Meeting Craig at T2A we chatted and laughed our way around Torridon, one of the most scenic landscapes in Scotland. We  picked off runners as we went and it became a game.

“Craig even picked me off the ground after a comical slowmo fall into a ditch.”

Fiona finishing third female for the lower route and 13th overall female on the course.

She said: “I smiled for 90% of the Celtman!, partly because of sheer enjoyment but also due to my support team. I could not have done it without them.

“They gave me 110% for 14hrs 29mins! I loved having them and they helped me achieve a lifetime goal.

“Not many people have a family that would bend that way.”

Read more about Fiona: Athlete of the month

Mia qualifies for ETU Sprint Champs 2020

It was only 15-year-old Mia Padmanabhan’s second sprint distance triathlon, yet she came first and won a qualifier place for next year’s Malmo ETU Sprint Distance Age Group Triathlon Championships in Sweden.

Mia crossed the line in 1:12:25, just a second ahead of the runner up in the female under-20 age group at the Eton Sprints Weekend in Berkshire in May.

She said:”It was a great experience and I was very pleased to win.”

Mia was one of the first in her age group to exit the open water swim. She enjoyed the “fast and flat” bike section, which was draft legal.

As she headed into the run, Mia knew the other girls would be on her heels. She said: “It was a flat out-and-back run course and I was aware of others close behind me. When we turned and I had the last 2.5km to run I gave it all I had.

“I was happy to win and I am excited about racing in the European Championships wearing the Team GB kit.”

Another young club member Callum Miller also had a great race at the Eton Sprints. He came ninth in a very competitive male under-20 age group in a time of 1:04:14.

GTC athlete of the month: Amy Ritchie

Our athlete of the month is Amy Ritchie, who was delighted last month to win the Aquathlon World Age Group Championships in Pontevedra.

Amy races in the senior age category and has been taking part in triathlons for a couple of years. She joined GTC just after entering her first triathlon.

She says: “I had just moved to Glasgow for my job and I had always wanted to enter a triathlon but never got around to it, so it seemed like a really good opportunity to train with a new club and meet new people.”

Swimming was my first love

Although she came to triathlon as an adult, sport and the great outdoors have been a part of Amy’s life for as long as she can remember. She says: “My parents are very outdoorsy, so we were always going on walks and bike rides etc.

“I tried a lot of sports over the years but I joined a swimming club when I was eight and that was the one that stuck. I loved it and swam to national level. I was in a junior national squad for a couple of years.

“Sadly, I suffered from an eating disorder between the ages of around 15 to18, so essentially I had to give up competing and didn’t have a particularly healthy relationship with sport during that time.”

Amy taking part in a running race.

Running club at uni

At university, Amy joined the running club. She says: “I had done the odd bit of cross country running in school. It seemed to come quite naturally because of my swimming background so when I went to university the running club felt like a good choice.

“I didn’t ever train particularly hard but I did quite a few cross country, road and hill races and met lots of friends through the club.

“I also love hill walking – I head out to the hills whenever I can – and I enjoy doing the odd bit of other sports such as rock climbing.”

Amy enjoys a range of sports as well as triathlon, including hill walking.

Then came triathlon

Triathlon appealed to Amy because she was already familiar with two of the sports.

She says: “I was attracted to the challenge and, as someone who is always trying to do a million things at once, the idea that you could have fun with three sports rather than one appealed.

“I had never really cycled but everyone I spoke to told me it would be fairly easy. I took this quite literally and didn’t train on the bike at first. In my first triathlon, my parents told me afterwards that they were worried I had fallen off because I took so long on the bike section.

“Joining the GTC was great though because it showed me that no matter your age or ability, literally anyone can do it, especially if you’re in such a friendly and supportive environment.”

Amy with triathlon friends.

Great friends and gaining confidence

Amy particularly enjoys the camaraderie of being in a club. She says: “Even though in GTC everyone has their own goals and interests, you all have this shared experience and love for sport.

“I also enjoy the fact that there’s always something to improve on and to challenge you.

“Last summer, I focused on my cycling for the first time and I saw huge improvements. When I joined GTC I wasn’t very confident on a bike and it was really rewarding to see how my times and confidence have improved.

“Then, over the winter, I focused on running and I am really seeing the benefits now. Taking part in GTC Thursday runs and Crawford’s Monday night run sessions have really helped my speed.

“Maybe, most importantly, I’ve seen a huge improvement in my self-belief. Having had a rocky relationship with sport in my teens, when I joined GTC I didn’t think I’d ever do anything special and I just wanted to get round a triathlon.

“I’ve proved to myself I can so much more and GTC has definitely played a huge part in that.

“I think that self-belief had spread into other aspects of my life and it really shows how much sport – and a supportive group of people – can do for you.”

Any, left, on the podium with Glasgow Tri Club pals.

On the podium

Amy has certainly enjoyed some great results in triathlon. She qualified for the ETU European Sprint Distance championships in Glasgow last summer. It was only her third triathlon.

In May, she won the Aquathlon World AG Champs in Pontevedra.

Now she is looking forward to doing her first standard distance race and she has several more sprint triathlons lined up this summer.

She says: “I want to spend more time on my bike, having just bought a shiny new one.

“I also want to enter a few more running races. I’d like to beat my half marathon PB and maybe do a couple of hill and trail races for fun.

“I’ll be happy as long as I’m improving at something and enjoying myself.”

Amy is keen to improve her cycling – and to see more of the world on her bike.

Triathlon goals

Amy also has aspirations to be as “healthy, happy and to continue to do sport for as long as possible”.

She says: “In the international Age Group races I’ve done, it’s the 70 and 80 year olds that get the biggest cheer. I’d like that to be me one day!

“I would also like to do some longer races that require more specific preparation eventually, too.

“And I would like to go on a cycling trip abroad in the next few years and use sport as a way to see the world.”

Amy’s tips for triathlon

Just enter a race. Everyone has to start somewhere.

Join a club and don’t be shy. Being part of a club can really help you structure your training, especially if you’re a beginner. Triathletes are a friendly bunch and it makes the training much more enjoyable.

Enjoy the ride (or the run, or the swim). You should do triathlon because YOU want to, and it should fit around your lifestyle, goals and ambitions.  I’ve met lots of really good friends through sport and been to some amazing places. There’s no better feeling than being out on your bike or running with your pals on a sunny day, so enjoy it.

New sponsor for GTC race

The club is delighted to welcome Big Bobble Hats as the new headline sponsor for the Bishopbriggs Triathlon for the next three years.

The club will receive funding support from the East Kilbride-based business until 2022.

Ian Hockey, co-founder of Big Bobble Hats, is already a GTC member and is very happy to offer the new sponsorship.

He said: “I know from my own experience that GTC is a great club, with a really friendly and all-inclusive atmosphere.

“I joined the club because I wanted to give open water swimming a go and I have enjoyed being part of GTC ever since.

“Big Bobble Hats is proud to be the sponsor of the ‘Briggs race and an additional sponsor to the club alongside Run4It and Billy Bilsland.”

Ian Hockey.

Club president Sean Webster said: “We are delighted to have Ian and Big Bobble Hats on board as our latest club sponsors. The sponsorship will be be a great support for our club, helping to keep the cost of sessions down and providing some unique momentos for the race.”

Big Bobble Hats

The company was launched in 2010 and has gone from strength to strength. With a team of five employees and further part-time staff, they visit numerous sports events across the UK selling their products.

They also sell their items on-line at Big Bobble Hats.

The Big Bobble Hat is like no other – and many GTC members have enjoyed wearing the club’s branded version.

Big Bobble Hats will also become the club’s supplier of club training kit, including t-shirts, technical tees, hoodies and baseball hats.

Ian said: “Our connection to sport comes through the athletes, as well as the fans and supporters. People wear the Big Bobble Hats and other kit while they are waiting to start a race, or afterwards.

“The supporters also welcome the warm hat and clothes like the hoodies while they are on the sidelines offering cheers and support.

“We are a local business and we are looking forward to being a sponsor of Glasgow Triathlon Club.”

See Big Bobble Hats.

A summer of great cycling with Billy Bilsland Cycles

Are you looking for new cycling kit or perhaps a new bike? Perhaps your bike needs to be serviced or you are having some bike fit or maintenance issues.

Billy Bilsland Cycles is one of GTC’s official sponsors and they are keen to help club cyclists. Many club members have already found the shop staff’s advice invaluable.

Benefits include a 10% discount on bikes, part and accessories in the shop. If you are looking for a carbon bike it’s possible to get one on loan from the shop. Let’s just say there are Cervelo and Ridley bikes to try!

The shop also offers a range of high-quality shallow or deep-section carbon rim wheels for loan, including Mavvic and ENVE; power meters; and hard boxes if you are travelling with you bike.

Bilsland is also Scotland’s only Ship My Tri Bike location.

Aftersales servicing at Billy Bilsland is done by Cytech 3 qualified mechanics and there is a lifetime of free servicing on bikes priced over £2,000 (not disc) and one year on bikes under £2,000.

See Billy Bilsland Cycles.

Enjoy a summer of great value running with Run4It

With summer in full swing, club members might like to be reminded that Run4It is one of GTC’s valued sponsors. The running apparel and accessories store offers a range of benefits to club members.

The main bonus is a 15% discount on footwear and accessories in all Run4It shops (excluding sale products, special offers or Garmins). You can request the discount in store or make use of an on-line code.

Run4It has also been very happy to be part of a special GTC event. The event, which included exclusive offers to GTC members, was well attended and there is a plan for another similar event.

This summer, Run4It is the sponsor of the GTC Training Aquathlons and will be providing vouchers as prizes.

See the Run4It website for details of where the shops are.