To commemorate her 60th birthday, Appleshaw resident Caroline Ward wanted to undertake a challenge befitting of the occasion and opted to complete 6 triathlons.
When we caught up with Caroline, she explained that she is not an experienced triathlete, but a novice which made her challenge even more impressive. Inspired by daughter Emma and husband Mark who had both previously completed the London Triathlon, the trio hatched a plan for Caroline to join the pair in July 2019. She successfully finished the route in just 2 hours and 5 minutes and was hooked.
After months of training and competing, in January, Caroline decided to embark on her own personal challenge; Six for Sixty in 2020.
Caroline explained: “I set myself a huge and slightly scary challenge. To celebrate my 60th, I’m going to do 6 Endurance Events this year.”
Months more training followed and in May this year, Caroline completed Challenge One: Running and Cycling from John O’Groats to Land’s End in 3 weeks. This was closely followed by Challenge Two when Caroline ran and cycled the height of Everest, 8848m of ascent, again in 3 weeks.
August saw Caroline complete The Unofficial London Triathlon as Challenge Three when she swam in London Docks, transitioned on the Emirates Airline back to Greenwich, completed a 20km cycle ride through London with traffic, red lights, potholes and cobbled streets before completing a 5km run in 34 degrees heat.
Blenheim Triathlon followed in September along with the Ampus Triathlon before Caroline completed her challenges in October with the Appleshaw Triathlon when all of the family joined in.
Caroline enjoyed the experience so much that she decided to complete not just one, but two encores, competing in the King Alfred’s Way and New Forest Rattler Challenges to complete her amazing experience in style.
Caroline shared: “My overriding feeling is what on earth have I done? This has been a huge endurance challenge for me, from the lowest and most unfit start, and I’m unbelievably proud of the achievement. I have also badly injured my shoulder but I am very very grateful for the support of my family who’ve been unwavering in their support, especially my husband Mark and of the patient and encouraging support of the Andover Triathlon Club, who I joined a year ago.
“The club has athletes of all levels, from me to many GB triathletes and many superb IronMan athletes. I’ve always felt completely welcome, they’ve helped me learn front crawl from scratch, and supported me learning to run (still rubbish at it!), and I have made many good friends there.
“Personally, now, I feel great (apart from the shoulder). Have never felt fitter, more alive, more energetic, more happy. I even miss it if I don’t go out for a ride or a run for a couple of days. I never ever would have thought it would have been me to say something like that. It’s changed everything.”
This article was written by the Love Andover Observer editor, Audrey Lucy and featured in the paper on the 17th November 2020.