Chester Triathlete gets ready for Rotterdam
WHEN Claire Brown first took up competing in triathlons three years ago, never in a million years did she imagine she would find herself representing her country.
But that’s exactly what the 36-year-old radiographer from Great Sutton will be doing when she competes at the ITU World Championship grand final in Rotterdam on September 17.
Claire has qualified for the Sprint distance – a 750 metre open water swim, 20km cycle and 5km run – in the 35 to 39 age group.
Supporting her will be housebuilder Redrow Homes, having agreed a sponsorship package worth £800 to cover her race entry, GB kit and transporting her bike to Rotterdam.
“The entry fee alone is £315,” says Claire, “so without Redrow’s support it would be very difficult for me to take part.”
Claire first took up triathlons for fun, to keep fit and to help lose weight before her wedding. She quickly found she loved the thrill of taking part and has since taken part in numerous events, culminating in a Half Ironman challenge – a 1.2 mile open water swim, 56 mile bike course and 13.1 mile run – in June, an event which also saw her raise £1,500 for The Brain Tumour Charity in memory of a friend.
A member of Chester Tri Club, Claire explained: “I qualified for the world championship event after finishing the Redcar Sprint Triathlon in 1 hr 12 mins, a little over a minute behind the fastest woman in my age group. Then it transpired I’d also qualified for the Olympic distance – double that of the Sprint – as one of the fastest losers based on my time in this year’s Deva Triathlon in Chester. However, I’ve opted for the Sprint distance in Rotterdam largely due to the time I’ve got available to train.”
Claire is only a few weeks into a new job, working full time as a radiographer at the University of Liverpool Veterinary School’s small animal teaching hospital at Leahurst, Wirral.
Her current training regime includes cycling to and from work every day, a route which takes her past Redrow’s Ledsham Garden Village development close to her home.
“It wasn’t me who approached Redrow. A training partner shared a post about me qualifying and needing to find a sponsor, a friend of his saw it and said he would make some enquiries at his workplace. Luckily Redrow were willing to support me,” said Claire, who swam competitively in her younger years until university and “life” got in the way.
“The swim is definitely my strongest discipline and I usually finish in the upper group, while the cycling is my weakest and where I need to focus my training. In the run up to Rotterdam it’s all about quality not quantity, sharpening up my speed and trying to stay injury free.”
Completing a Half Ironman and qualifying to represent Great Britain have definitely ticked off two ‘bucket list’ items this year for Claire – and she’s also learned that she’s very likely to qualify for next year’s European Championships which will take place in Glasgow.
David Bexon, group sales and marketing director for Redrow – and a keen triathlete himself – said: “I know exactly how much time, effort and energy goes into finishing a single triathlon, so to compete successfully in multiple events like Claire has is amazing. She can be very proud of herself for qualifying for the ITU World Championship grand final and we are very pleased to help her compete as we very much wish to be associated with excellence and healthy pursuits. It also ties in nicely with the Bike Chester event which we have championed for the last two years”
Claire says she’s happy simply taking part alongside 700+ other Team GB members in Rotterdam, but a top four GB placing from the 18 British women competing in her event and age group would be the icing on the cake.
“As for what could happen on the world stage, I don’t even dare dream. Just the experience of taking part is enough,” she adds.
Redrow was established in 1974. Today, it is one of the most successful and acclaimed property developers in the UK, building around 5,000 premium quality family homes a year in prime locations across England and Wales. Over Redrow’s history spanning more than 40 years, it has earned a unique reputation for quality and building beautiful homes, which people love to live in. To help achieve this it also focusses on two other key areas: valuing people and creating outstanding locations. Implementing its strategy whilst engaging with colleagues and stakeholders helps Redrow deliver significant value to investors and the wider community. Redrow is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 index. For the year ended 30th June 2016, the Group reported record revenues of £1.38 billion. Redrow has been awarded the ‘Best Large Housebuilder’ title twice in the last three years at the What House? Awards. This year, Redrow was named as a UK Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer for the fourth consecutive year. Visit redrow.co.uk for more details.