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Helen's First Tri Report: "being spat, snotted and belched at has not put me off"


Helen finished her first triathlon sponsored by Fund Her Tri UK on 23/07/2023 at Ullswater Epic Man Triathlon.



I decided to sign up for my first Olympic distance triathlon (1.5k swim, 40k bike and 10k run) as I thought it would be a good challenge and give me something to train for. The conditions on the day were awful, with heavy torrential rain all day. I got up at 5am to make sure I was at registration for 6am and give myself plenty of time to get ready and rack my bike.


I felt nervous waiting around at the start. The first to set off were the middle distance competitors, then the sprint before, and, finally, the olympic distance participants.


To be honest, I felt like the start was not very well organised and quite confusing with all the different swimming hat colours for the different waves within each distance - it wasn’t very clear who was meant to be where, and no one could hear the person shouting at the front trying to organise us. Eventually, me and my orange cap found our wave and started the race.


A fast swim to start the race


I enjoyed the swim and even managed to catch up with the pink wave ahead of me. I think I was one of the first out of my wave, which gave me a boost.


It was super muddy trying to get up to transition as the mats didn’t go all the way from the lake. I struggled to get my wetsuit off quickly, but I think the lubrication gel around my ankles worked!


Then on to the bike course, which was a familiar route for me as I had done a recce with my friend a few weeks before.



It was really wet and there were lots of puddles and flooded sections of road to navigate. I had to slow right down for the slippy corners and saw two guys who had come off at various points. I unfortunately had someone almost spit in my face and another lady cleared her nose as I was cycling past. Gross!


I was glad to have made it back to transition and quickly switched my shoes over, ready for the run.


The biggest challenge: the run


The run was hard work and definitely the most challenging section for me. It consisted of 4 laps of a 2.5km course. Some of it was on road, some along the lakeshore (which was hard, like running on sand!) and some on grassy/wooden footpaths. I decided I prefer doing one big loop rather than doing laps of the same course.


I wore my Inov8 mudclaws as I was worried it might be slippy but ended up having no cushioning, so not sure it was the best choice after all! To make things worse, I had a man belch at me in the face during the run! Eurgh! At least he apologised! 😂

I was so glad to cross the finish line and to have made it around in one piece. Despite the conditions and being spat, snotted and belched at by fellow athletes, it has not put me off doing more triathlons! I’m thinking about doing the Helvellyn triathlon at the start of September. The issue is the cost of entry for these kinds of events which is why Fund Her Tri UK is an amazing charity helping to get more women on the start line.


My advice, if you’re thinking about giving triathlon a try, is to go for it! It’s good fun and there’s a great community of like-minded people to connect with. And remember: take your flip-flops with you for walking around at the start... And watch out for snot rockets!


Support more women to cross the finish line and close the gender gap in sports. Click here and donate to Fund Her Tri UK!


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