Glasgow Triathlon Club

Swimming, Cycling, Running. We do it best!

Triathlete of the month: Jo Hewitt

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Jo has been a member of GTC for five and a half years and is now a level 2 coach. Until recently, she dedicated a good few hours of her time each week to write the club newsletter.

Jo, a senior research scientist, confesses that co-ordination sports are not her type of thing and she arrived at triathlon after joining a running club.

She explains: “I’m terrible at sports such as tennis, basketball and football so I naturally prefer the triathlon disciplines of swimming, running and cycling.

“I have been swimming since I was old enough to ask to go but just not very well! I started running as a method to get fit while at uni and then, when I moved to Englandshire to start a job, I joined a running club.

“I’d been getting gradually faster at running through training for my first marathon and while training for my second marathon I started looking for something a bit different. Our running club had a ‘multi-sport section’ of about 10 triathletes so I decided to jump on the bandwagon and try a sprint triathlon. I had to buy a bike in order to do so.”

That was seven and a half years ago and since then Jo has completed many different triathlon distances, including Ironman-distance events.

Jo says: “I think my favourite distance is middle distance. The bike leg is long enough to play to my strength – I’m more of a metronome than a speed demon, even if my metronome isn’t that fast. And there is more likely to be interesting scenery during a longer triathlon. That said, the only events I’ve entered this year are a standard and a sprint!”

She believes her best achievements include finishing her first long distance triathlon. She says: “I did my first ever 100-mile ride three months before the Outlaw and I was convinced I’d signed myself up for something unachievable. But I completed it and after the event I was over the moon with my swim and bike times.

“I also ran a 5k in less than 22 minutes in the same month and I nearly broke 45 minutes for 10k. This is a few years ago but I will get back to those times eventually I hope!”

Jo is also proud that last year she “survived” Ironman Lanzarote. She says: “Training through the winter, lack of motivation, poor nutrition on race day, stubbornness and the fabulous support and camaraderie of Jo E, Alan and Linda and random strangers got me through.”

Jo and her partner Jonathan on a bike ride in Sutherland.
Jo and her partner Jonathan on a bike ride in Sutherland.

This season, Jo is focusing on being able to run again after a calf injury and taking part in the Buttermere standard triathlon in September. She has also entered the Craggy Island Triathlon in October. She is also marrying Jonathan in July.

When things get tough, Jo gets stubborn. She says: “Training can be hard and so I do things like counting strokes in swimming or pedal strokes on the bike to take my mind off the pain or the difficulties.

“I also enjoy a bit of competitiveness when running, such as when I try to hold off a training buddy who’s just behind you or try to keep up with someone who is usually in front. Our head coach used to be my downhill running target!”

Triathlon coaching is a natural progression for Jo, who likes to help and support others. She says: “Coaching gives me a chance to help people to achieve their goals, whether that’s fitness or racing orientated. It’s great when you can see or are told that your coaching made a difference to someone.

“Coaching also supports the club because without volunteers there would be no GTC.”

Jo’s triathlon tips

Keep it simple: Enter a race and just give it a go.

Embrace the rain: Accept that it is Scotland and that it may rain. My first triathlon was in October in the pouring rain. I couldn’t feel my feet until halfway through the run but still loved the whole thing.

Have fun: If you’re not having fun, why do it?