This time last year, Sue Watson was settling into retirement.
Now the 65-year-old from Greatham is getting ready to represent Great Britain at duathlon!
For Sue, a former teacher, has just qualified for next year’s World Championships in Pontevedra in Spain and admitted: “I am buzzing.”
What a 12 months it has been for Sue who only began dabbling at the sport in October 2017.
She went with a friend to have a go at training with the town-based Tri Life organisation because her first idea - to have a go at open water swimming - didn’t work out.
She has never looked back. It was just last weekend when Sue competed in the Autumn Duathlon at Oulton Park in Cheshire and was second in her class. In only her second duathlon she ran 4.2k, cycled 21k and ran another 4.2k in one hour 42 minutes.
I was trying to do open water swimming but it was not for me. Someone said come and join us at triathlon training. The inspiration from the club has been amazingSue Watson
Sue admitted: “Retirement is not as easy as it sounds and you can really lose yourself if you are not careful.
“But the people at Tri Life were so keen to help me and get me drawn in to what they were doing.
“At first I said I thought I would never run and thought I would rather gnaw my own thumbs off but the inspiration from the club has been amazing.”
With support from the likes of Tri Life founder Matt Turnbull, Sue’s progress was so good, she began to enter races.
And by last weekend, she had qualified for a world championship in her age category.
“I am excited about the whole thing,” said Sue, who used to teach in Middlesbrough until her retirement.
She lives in Greatham with husband Anthony, who works for Hartlepool Borough Council, and who Sue describes as an amazing supporter of her achievements.
“He is fabulous and he has been really supportive,” said Sue.
Tri Life founder Matt Turnbull said: “This lady needs a massive round of applause. If anyone is interested in getting involved in any part of multi discipline sport or having a go at a triathlon, visit https://www.tri-life-triathlon.co.uk and remember age is not a barrier.
“These are normal people, doing extraordinary things!”