Stephanie Forrester - lottery winner
20 March 2002
The triathlon is one of the youngest and fastest growing sports to take place at Manchester 2002 and it will also be the sports debut at the Commonwealth Games.
Scotland’s Stephanie Forrester has been competing in the sport for the last 12 years and its growing popularity across the world comes as no surprise to her. She said: “I think that this speaks volumes for the universal appeal of triathlon as being a fun, healthy, rewarding, inspirational and exciting challenge for anyone, either as a participant or spectator.”
Steph, 32, believes that the triathlon, which was only established in 1974, gains an advantage from being a relatively new sport. She added: “Its newness means that it is not burdened by history and resistance to change. It is a good example of an evolving sport in which it is realised that change is sometimes necessary to help development.”
Lottery funding has also helped the sport according to Steph. She said: “Triathlon in Britain has definitely benefited from lottery funding. Initially I think it was mainly the elite level that benefited. More recently I think the benefits can be seen much more deeply throughout the sport.”
The triathlon is renowned as an extremely gruelling event and Steph aggress with fellow Briton Tim Don when he said you have to be ‘a bit of a loony tune’ to do it. Steph said: “You do have to be obsessively crazy to do this sport for a living.”
The triathlon wasn’t an obsession that Steph had from an earlier age though. She explained how she used to run whilst studying a PhD in Chemical Research at Cambridge University and this lead to her becoming a Triathlete: “One of the guys I ran with suggested triathlons, so once I’d finished University and could finally afford to buy a bike with working gears and brakes, I started training for triathlons.”
Steph’s advice to anyone thinking of taking up the Triathlon as a sport: “Do it now and you won’t regret it! Join a club, check the BTA website for clubs in your area and pick a race to start training for.”
Steph, who says her proudest moment was winning the ITU Duathlon World Championship in 2000, just hopes to do her best and enjoy this year’s Games she said: “My ambitions for Manchester are to race to my fullest potential, and to enjoy the experience of competing in such a special sporting occasion.”
When quizzed on the Commonwealth Games course Steph said: “Technically it is a fairly straightforward swim, with no waves or currents to complicate matters.”
Forrester sees everyone in the event as a rival and concluded with a simple message for them all: “I like to do my talking through my swimming, cycling and running.”
The triathlon will take place at Salford Quays on 4 August and is a free event so why not come and cheer the athletes on.