Ruth Wilson qualifies for TeamGB

The feeling I had stood waiting at the ETU sprint qualifier at Grafham, is something I will never forget. As I lined up with the other 220 athletes hoping to qualify for the European Championship, the cold, crisp November morning chilled me to the bone. My stomach was doing somersaults. After taking up the sport of triathlon last year this was only the third Duathlon I had entered the nerves were unbearable…

The day before the race was much more relaxed, I was staying at my daughter Gemma’s house which is local to Grafham, so I was able to pick up my race pack on the Saturday afternoon. I have entered a few Nicetri events and they are always well planned, and enjoyable. Keith the organiser is a lovely, friendly bloke; he regularly talks the athletes through the course, offering tips and words of encouragement.
The next morning Gemma and I headed early to Grafham to rack my bike and more importantly, to warm up. My friend and coach Kevin Dawson taught me how critical a good warm up is for a solid performance. My self-belief and confidence have improved tenfold thanks to Kevins’ knowledge, encouragement and patience. The warm up felt good. I have had a few issues with my calf and back this year but I was feeling ok. My sports therapist Andy Coulson, has been an absolute godsend and without his help I wouldn’t have been able to compete. After the warm up I got changed and went to the race briefing and before I knew it I was heading for the start line.
Despite the illusion of warmth created by the clear blue skies, the cold pierced through my skin like a knife causing my teeth to chatter and my body to shiver. The gun went off and I headed out on the first run the route was slippery and wet from the overnight rain. The lead group had gone off very quickly but I kept calm and ran at my own pace. The last section of the run was hilly and tough, I gritted my teeth and pushed to the top. Coming into the transition I lost precious seconds as I searched for my bike, I couldn’t remember where I had left it. Once I had found it I headed out on the 25k bike leg. The bike leg felt very hard, it was okay on the way out but a strong headwind on the way back made it very difficult.
Once I got back to transition my main concern was my helmet. I suffer from Reynards Syndrome in the cold temperatures and in previous events I’ve spent minutes trying to remove my helmet, luckily the new gloves I had bought worked well. I quickly shoved on my trainers and ran out to the last section. It was a tough field at this point I thought my bike leg had let me down. I queued up for my time feeling a little deflated as I didn’t think I had done good enough. The results slip showed another story, I had qualified first in my age group and the bike leg was actually very respectable. It was a great feeling knowing that Kevins support, Andy’s expertise and my determination had paid off…next stop Holland.’