The ups, downs and glory of setting a goal and achieving it
In 2014, BRJ member Berenice Curtis, set herself a goal. The goal was to represent Great Britain as a triathlete, something she achieved only one year later. An injury affected her first opportunity to represent her country, but not deterred, she continued with the goal. It wasn’t an easy journey and included race crashes, punctures and illness but last weekend, she represented Great Britain at the ETU Middle Distance Triathlon in the heart of the Austrian Alps. The race began with a 1.9km swim, followed by a 90km bike and finished with a 21km run. Berenice competed in the 40 to 44 age group, finishing a brilliant 19th out of 38 and sixth Great British lady out of 16.
Here is Berenice’s story to becoming a GBR triathlete
I come from a swimming background and competed at a provisional level in South Africa. I started cycling when I met my husband in London in 1997, returning to it in 2010 after studying and having my daughter and when I signed up for a 400km charity cycling holiday in Kenya. On returning from Kenya I continued cycling - having worked so hard to be able to ride my bike comfortably again I was not going to let it go - and continued at the gym close to my work.
I suppose it all kick started in 2012 when my friend said enter the London Marathon ballot, no one ever gets in. I told my husband I had entered, he said he would laugh if I got in, I said I would cry. I got in on first attempt! And in 2013, ran a marathon and cried crossing the finishing line in 5:02. Next, I won a place on the Prudential Ride London 100 mile ride.
In 2014, I felt like I was training but with no technical know how of what I was meant to be doing. I was always asking my gym friends loads of questions as they had running backgrounds and one’s partner was an Iron Man triathlete. It was then I started working with a personal trainer and coach
That year, I completed the Brighton Marathon, Blenheim Sprint Triathlon and London & Nice Tri Standard Triathlon. It was doing these triathlons when I realised I was doing okay and gave me the impetus to become a GBR triathlete.
In 2015, I completed the Paris Marathon in 3:53 taking 30 minutes off my previous marathon time, before switching my focus back to triathlon and the task at hand. This led me to enter all six of the International Triathlon Union (ITU) and European Triathlon Union (ETU) qualifying races plus more.
I qualified for the ITU world championships in September last year but unfortunately had a foot injury, I still went to the race, no way I was not going! The foot injury put pay to my running and I was side lined for about 4 months which was extremely frustrating.
At the beginning of 2016, my personal trainer and coach returned to full time work so I was kind of winging it for a while before I found my new coach Andy Matson. Andy has been instrumental in continuing my upward journey.
2016 did not start well: I crashed during a cycling time trial in February and broke my finger; I punctured in my first standard distance triathlon; was sick the night before going to Lisbon to compete at the ETU standard distance championships; and had a mechanical on another race. All this knocked my confidence, but with Andy's belief in me, I have managed to move forward. I was motivated by finishing second at a Nice Tri summer triathlon and qualifying for the 2017 ETU champions in Kitzbuhel at a Liverpool triathlon in August.
Further information about the race can be found here