A BOROUGH schoolteacher will swap pens and paper for pedals and trainers this weekend when lining up at the Dusseldorf Sprint Distance Triathlon European Championships.
Claire Walker will be representing Team GB in her respective age category this Sunday in western Germany as hundreds of Europe’s best triathletes compete.
The Hillmorton Primary School teacher has been competing in triathlon races for three years after first taking part in sprint triathlons and she is hoping her latest competition can help inspire the next generation of track and field athletes.
Walker currently teachers her year four class and her pupils are more than aware of her achievements after she finished a remarkable tenth at last year’s Sprint Duathlon World Championships.
Speaking to The Observer, Walker said she first took part in sprint triathlons as part of a challenge in 2014.
The Rugby Triathlon Club member said: “I first started to enjoy racing three years ago.
“Ever since I decided to join Rugby Triathlon Club they’ve helped support me by developing my fitness levels.
“Since then I have trained to qualify for my age group for Team GB in both sprint duathlon and sprint triathlon.”
Her ironwoman journey will not end this weekend though as the teacher aims to compete in The Outlaw next month.
Involving a 2.4-mile swim, 112 mile-cycle ride, and a 26.4-mile run, The Outlaw tests the toughest of athletes – something which Claire relishes.
She said: “The Outlaw will be my toughest challenge to date.
“My training has had to adapt for this event, so I am training for longer to build up my endurance.
“After this year I will have hopefully completed a triathlon of every distance.”
Part of Walker’s success is down to the support she receives from the school.
The early starts and late nights appear to be paying dividends now as she prepares to represent her country.
The Rugby Triathlon Club Championship winner said: “I have to fit my training around work which does mean some early starts and later nights, but it has been brilliant to share this with my class who have been really excited and interested to hear about my events and training.
“It’s great to share my enthusiasm for the sport with them.
“They have loved looking at my kit and asking questions about the sport. Hopefully there will be future triathletes among my class.”