Sheffield’s GBR Team Triathletes are inspirational!

Sara Eames – GBR Team Triathlete from Sheffield

At the beginning of May I met Sara Eames on twitter. Sara is a GBR Team Triathlete and Duathlete from Sheffield and had discovered Total Fruit Cake at Giant Sheffield when she went for a bike fit.

Having tried this handy slice of fruit cake packed with Dates, Apricots, Nuts, Honey and loads of other delicious high quality ingredients, Sara went on to buy herself a whole box full! Total Fruit Cake is a perfect choice for an energy boost on the bike; as Sara calls them – “pocket packets of power”.

Being a Triathlete

Sara, from Handsworth, has been racing for the GBR Triathlon team for 4 years. She is completely self funded, working full time at Abbeydale Sports Club six days per week.

Each GBR Team member has to have a GBR tri-suit, to swim, cycle and run in, on top of which there are track suits, tea shirts, trainers and all the other kit an elite athlete needs. Race fees are around £120 per race, and then there are travel expenses and accommodation to fund – you have to be passionate and totally dedicated to take part. “It’s a way of life” she tells me.

Each competitor races individually but even though they are representing Great Britain, they are completely self managed there is no support team looking after the competitors during a race, unless it’s family and friends. So friends are very important and none that understand better what it’s all about than those you are competing with – it’s a close knit community!

Enter Caz Kay and Fiona Kesteven, also from Sheffield and also Team GBR Triathlon/Duathlon competitors! Caz is a full time PE teacher at Notre Dame School and mum of two littlies, as is Fiona who works for the University of Sheffield as a Sports Centre Manager.

These three lovely ladies support one another with everything Triathlon – from moral support with training, to sharing the driving, to helping out with practical arrangements for races.

“You need to be very organised”, Fi says, “your bike needs to be in the right place, your running shoes, food, kit, spares …” the list goes on!

It seems that you can be in a holding pen for quite a long time before a race starts. There are lots of things that can go wrong – kit failure, punctures – you have to be very organised.

Having said all this, all the girls LOVE what they do; Caz explains, “On race day, in the moments before the race sets off, you are nervous and full of apprehension but at the finish, first you experience euphoria and then a sort of relief that you actually completed the race”.

All medal winners, the girls compete in the Sprint Distance for their age group; this entails a 750 metre swim, followed by a 20 k cycle ride, finishing with a 5 k run. The races take around the hour mark to complete, “the shorter the distances, the more intense the race.

This distance is so popular that each competitor has to qualify to get a place in the GBR team each year. Each athlete has three opportunities to qualify during the season, at each attempt, the competitor must finish in the top four places.

As a Gold medal winner, Fi has already qualified for the 2017 season; Caz qualified at Glasgow over the weekend, coming  2nd in the race. Sara, who is carrying an injury at the moment, is pinning her qualification on The Peak District Triathlon at Chatsworth on the 3rd of July. We are rooting for her!

The girls train with Racing TNT a British Triathlon Federation Club. “So what about fitness plans, nutrition, sports massage, compliance etc?”, I asked. “We sort that out for ourselves”, they all said in unison!

They each have their own nutrition regimes; Caz has a keen interest in this area and helps out. They are allowed a certain amount of caffeine, and are issued with a list of banned substances to avoid, which includes everyday drugs and additives as well as the obvious no-no’s; every race has the potential for drug testing.

So Tipple Tails total fruit cake- Nutritious and full of energy and all ingredients locally sourced and it tastes amazing! Perfect for when these energetic ladies need a little #ExtraOomph.

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