Ruth Willott

Having rowed for my university, I was after a new challenge and perhaps one that allowed a bit more flexibility than being the same place at the same time as 8 other people! I’d been a “not very good” club swimmer (resident member of local swimming club B team) whilst a teenager, which means that although I’m not particularly speedy, I’m comfortable in the water and can hold my own amongst the chaos of arms and legs in an open water swim.

Whilst at medical school, two other friends decided to give themselves the challenge of completing a triathlon, and I gatecrashed their endeavour – in fact one friend eventually withdrew from the contest, leaving two of us to complete Derby triathlon in September 2009. As a first year, junior doctor in 2010 and relegated to work in the depths of Lincolnshire, I sought out a triathlon training camp in Mallorca as an impetus to push myself harder and it was here that I met members of Absolute Triathlon, who encouraged me to join their club. The subsequent mentorship within the club of Steve Lloyd and Helen and Mike Ward (who hosted many bike rides and cups of coffee from their house!) gave me confidence to believe that I could attempt distances longer than a sprint triathlon – under Steve’s tutelage, I took part in the Outlaw triathlon as a relay team member (to raise funds for the Karen Green Foundation) in 2013 and 2014 (undertaking the bike leg) and I swam the swim leg in 2015. In addition, I took part in the Outlaw half triathlon (half ironman distance) and I’ve now done this 4 times, although there is a running joke that as they often run out of finisher’s T shirts, my sole aim is to finish fast enough to earn one of these precious garments! The advantage of taking part in the Outlaw half and in the Vitruvian has been the tremendous level of local support from the Absolute gang, which is a huge boost on the course.

Triathlon has been a platform from which to spring to other events, so from the techniques and stamina that I’ve achieved through triathlon, I’ve been able to cycle from London to Paris to raise money for research into blood cancers and I’ve even given velodrome cycling a go! Next year, I’m aiming for the Mallorca half ironman in May, which I’m very much looking forward to, having cycled the course in training.