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International Women’s Day

March 8th, 2018 | by Sarah Wills
International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day and we thought we would have a chat with some of our Female athletes and see what they had to say about their experiences in Triathlon.

Meet our 4 ladies –

Tracy Markham
Alex Rees
Juliana Morgans
Ellie Goss

We asked all 4 ladies 6 questions and here are their responses:-

1, How did you get into Triathlon?

Tracy – My dad suggested I try it after I had a bad bicycle crash and was too nervous to cycle in big groups. I love cycling and non-drafting triathlons allowed me to take part in sport and get my nerves back on the bike!

Alex – Marshalling with a local club on race days encouraged me to give it a go.

Juliana – Through AWE. I used to work for Princes Gate Spring Water and as most people know, the team are all keen Ironmen and Women. I used to listen to them talk about it all the time and I was totally inspired and longing to be like them. They asked me to go on a cycle for their charity one year and I signed up for a 200 mile cycle from Chester to Cardiff, but I hadn’t been on a bike since I was a kid. After learning how to cycle in a month and only cycling 19 miles before it, it was a great success and I loved it so much – even getting the award for ‘most improved’ I had the bug, there was no stopping me. Then I thought why just cycle when you can do all three. I couldn’t swim so this was now my next challenge to master, 3 months later I could swim a mile and then I put them all together. Now there has been no looking back.

Ellie – My Auntie Leah runs Swansea TRIsharks so she persuaded me to have a go a few years ago.


2, What do you enjoy most about the sport?

Tracy – I love the social element of the sport, and how you have an automatic connection with other triathletes. I have moved countries a couple of times and signing up with a local triathlon club has helped me to settle in quickly, meet like- minded people and build a friendship network. Whilst it is an individual competition it is definitely a team sport!

Alex – Feel good factor . Helps with body image (for ladies of a certain age)

Juliana – 100% the social aspect, the people I have met through triathlon is amazing. I am socialising with people who I would have not necessarily met without it. Most the people are double my age but age/gender is not an issue. We have so much in common as we have the same drive and we all understand why we do it – why we go through the pain or the 5 am wake ups every morning to get in the pool or on the wattbike/treadmill before work.

Ellie – Its good because it’s not just one event.


3, What motivates you during a race?

Tracy – I am motivated to beat previous times and be proud of how I have raced.

Alex – The finish line and all the supporters especially Activity Wales Events. Support is second to none .

Juliana – The after feeling. The feeling after a race I cannot even describe. I feel invincible, like there’s no stopping me conquering anything in life. I’m not a natural athlete and I’m known for being very ditsy. When I first told my mum I was buying a bike she laughed and quoted ‘we need to get you a good helmet’ the fact that after a race I can stand there and be like ‘Yes , I have achieved that’ makes me beam, I’m sure my smile can be seen in space.

Ellie – Its good because it’s not just one event.


4, Do you have any pre-race rituals?

Tracy – I always check my bike from every angle and then write a message on my water bottle to keep me encouraged and focused on the race. The last race it was “Finish Proud”

Alex – Just the usual check my kit. Put my number on and eat porridge. Hubby has a bottle of wine with friends but I’m not good enough for that yet!!

Juliana – Organisation. I have to have everything organised to the finest detail. I also have to be there an hour early, if I’m in a fluster, there’s no point starting. Oh and I have to see my mum and aunty before every race. They hold my hand and send me positive vibes – once they do this, I’m good to go and feel I can do it, as I feel they’re with me every step of the way. Obviously, not in presence as the majority of the time, they’re supporting from the coffee shops on route.

Ellie – I like to have a good panic about jellyfish, makes me go faster!


5, Any favorite post-race/training indulgences?

Tracy – YES! My treat after a race is always a HUGE plate of french fries covered in mayonnaise!

Alex – Anything and everything as you will burn it off the next day

Juliana – Pizza, definitely pizza! I can remember the last 2 miles of the marathon at LCW thinking, 2 miles and it’s pizza time, keep going! I may have had a few conversations about pizza on the way round to people too. One man asked me ‘what’s my motto to keep going’ my reply was the pizza and pint at the end 😊

Ellie – I love having a massage after an event, after training I like to sit in the hot tub with a chocolate milkshake & a bacon roll.


6, If you had 1 or 2 bits of advice for any other athlete, what would it be?

Tracy – Stay in the “now”. Don’t think about the bike when on the swim, or the run when on the bike. Just focus on giving your best in the moment and take each race one step at a time.  Also, don’t forget to eat and drink when racing. A couple of times I have been so excited during a race, or so “in the zone” that I have forgotten to eat enough… and the race has ended in disaster!

Alex – Join a club for advice and support

Juliana – My advice for athletes would be – don’t be nervous as we’re all probably feeling the same. When your waiting to jump in the sea, turn around and talk to the person next to you, that little bit of company can change your whole mind set completely.

My main advice however, would be for the women that are thinking of getting into triathlon. This sport is heavily male dominated, especially in Pembrokeshire. It can be daunting to start, even more daunting if you’re young. There are also loads of Ironmen in Pembrokeshire which is sometimes a put off from the start as you feel like you’re on the back foot to begin. I was so scared starting, I couldn’t swim, I couldn’t cycle and I wasn’t a particularly good runner either. None of my friends were into triathlon and when I started a cycling club I did not know a single soul. Even choosing my bike was nerve racking as I didn’t know what I was looking for and felt stupid even being in there; but I refused to give up because I knew this was all part of the challenge. If you’re having these thoughts and you’re too scared to start, don’t be. We’re all in the same boat, even if people look like they’re fine as social media portrays a great image, as people will only post the happy times, that person has probably felt the same. Give it a try and trust me you will love it, I haven’t looked back and I have gone from not being able to swim a length in January 2017 to completing LCW in July 2017. We can do it!

Ellie – Enjoy yourself & always smile, get in & get out.

Thank you ladies and we hope this has inspired everyone else to participate in the events.

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