Swim, bike, run has become a way of life for Sam Lee, who is club secretary at Nantwich Triathlon Club. The Triathlon England Adult Volunteer of the Year shared her story for this month’s edition of the Triathlon England member newsletter.
“Back in 2020, I was weighing in at 20 stone. I couldn't run five metres, let alone 5km. I was a bit of a recluse, sat in my house, no interest in sport or anything. I joined a local running club and six months later, Paul McIntyre [club founder and head coach of Nantwich Triathlon Club] became part of that running club and took me under his wing.
“My triathlon journey really started when somebody created a bucket list for my 40th birthday and a close friend put a triathlon on it. I was like, ‘no way, never’. I couldn’t swim, I didn’t own a bike and I could just run 5k. So, from that September, I started training and did my first triathlon in May the following year.
“I now lead a much more active lifestyle, it’s become a way of life. I think I've still got some kind of body dysmorphia and I just look in the mirror and I'm still me. I'm still the same person, but I think coming on this journey, pushing myself, has had a really positive impact. Completing my first IRONMAN 70.3 last year, only 18 months into the sport, that was something six months prior I would have never dreamed of. So, there’s a lot of personal self-satisfaction and achievement of pride that I feel.
“I’ve got so much out of being involved in this sport, more than just the health benefits. I've got a significant friendship circle and most of the club feels like an extended family. Everybody cares for each other and, whilst we're all competitive by nature because we race, there isn't any competitiveness within the club. That's one thing that new members say about Nantwich. They are perhaps a little bit anxious or nervous when they join, but they always then turn around and say what a welcoming club it is, which is a really nice feeling that everybody is so inclusive and caring.
“I was absolutely blown away, gobsmacked, to win the Adult Volunteer of the Year award. Just to win it at the regional awards was absolutely phenomenal as I was really touched by the entries that went in. Then to be selected as the national winner was great. I was watching the live broadcast and I couldn’t believe it when they read my name out. It was absolutely fantastic. But I do it because I love it and it's a passion, it just comes naturally.
“I enjoy it, and I like seeing the benefit and helping other people. I've been on my own personal journey through triathlon, and it has honestly been life changing. If I can just give a little bit of something back, that’s great. Everyone has their own personal story at Nantwich Triathlon Club, whether it's work- life balance or health, everybody has their own story behind them, so it's great to be able to impact that in a positive way.
“I'm never going to win a race, but I don't care. It's just about being happy, having fun and not breaking yourself.”
If you would be interested in sharing your story, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.