GTC athlete of the month: Claire Robertson   

Claire joined GTC six months ago and has thrown herself into the sport with great enthusiasm and determination.

She confessed she is fairly new to the competitive side of sports. She says: “I never really did any organised or competitive sports before joining GTC. I used to dance and I liked yoga but I would only run if I needed to fit back in my favourite jeans after Christmas holidays!

“But I realised that I wanted to feel a bit fitter and so I started looking for a new challenges.”

The year before joining GTC Claire, who races in the senior female category, did a 10k run and this gave her the inspiration to try triathlon.

She says: “After the 10k run the idea of doing a triathlon really appealed. It did seem pretty intimidating considering I couldn’t swim front crawl at all and I had barely been on a bike.

“Luckily, I met Catriona Padmanabhan on the train and I happened to mention that I liked the idea of doing a triathlon. Once Catriona told me about the coaching available at GTC and the friendly welcome I would get, I decided to go for it and sign up for a triathlon.”

Now Claire reports that cycling is her favourite discipline overall. She says: “Cycling of all the three sports just feels good and it is a great way to see places.

“I love running as well though. It brings out my competitive side and because of apps like Strava it’s really easy to track and look back at my progress. I find this really motivating. Also, I can take my trainers anywhere so I can keep up the training when I’m travelling with my work.” Claire is a Management Consultant.

Enjoying the challenge of triathlon

Claire is delighted that her fitness level has improved and she an now enjoy all three spots.

She says: “When I joined GTC I could not swim a length of front crawl but thanks to the Sunday night coaching I can now breath properly and I do not try to hold my breath to the end of the pool!

“I had never been on a road bike before and was nervous about handling and steering a bike properly, being clipped in and traffic. None of this bothers me now.

“My fitness has improved a lot from all the training too, which has meant my running pace has improved and I can run longer distances than I thought I ever would.”

Claire has been focusing on sprint distance triathlons in her first year. She says: “I did four triathlons at Montrose, Lochore Meadows, Mull of Kintyre and Lochgilphead.

“I had so much fun at each of them and they were all challenging in different ways, but each was a great experience.

“I hope to improve my swimming over the winter and do a standard distance race, or two, next year.”

Running and cycling events

Claire also ran two half marathons this year. She says: “I am so pleased with my running and I really like the half marathon distance. This month I ran the Great Scottish Run in 1hr 59m, improving by two minutes on my Aberdeen half marathon time in August.

“My first run in April was 5km and it felt like really, really hard. I took over 32 minutes to do it so I never imagined I would be able to run 13 miles in an event.

“Another great achievement was a 70-mile mountain bike challenge from Ballater to Methlick in July. That was tough, but it felt fantastic at the end.”

The future of triathlon for Claire

She says: “Every triathlon, event and challenge I have been involved with this year has pushed me to do something different and learn something new.

“With triathlon there is such a variety in the types of events and I want to keep trying new events, learning something, pushing myself and raising my aspirations. Maybe I will do Celtman! one day!”

Claire’s tips for triathlon newbies

It’s easier than it seems – just sign up.

Join GTC because you benefit from so much support. There is brilliant coaching, but also, just being able to stand next to calmer, more experienced people to calm your nerves before a race is so helpful.

Running eventually gets easier, and in time you’ll even be able to talk at the same time!

Many thanks to Claire for telling us about her first six months with GTC.