NEW IRONMAN PHENOM EYES IMA TITLE
After just two years in the sport, Wellington admits it has been a whirlwind experience and never dreamed she would achieve such heights so soon.
She claimed an ITU World Age Group title in 2006, after only having done a handful of triathlons. In January 2007, a friend, suggested she go to Switzerland to meet Australian coach Brett Sutton and get his views on her potential.
Her first year in triathlon was 2006, when she claimed an ITU World Age Group title. Her then coach suggested she join Australian coach Brett Sutton at his base in Switzerland.
“I wanted to know if I’d make it as a pro,” said Wellington. “He said ‘Go for it, girl.’”
She joined with Sutton’s elite group of athletes with an Olympic dream but soon realised that she was more cut out for the longer distances.
Just five weeks before Ironman Korea Sutton told her she was ready to tackle the Ironman distance. She went on to win in sweltering conditions and finished 7th overall, then backed it up with a 3rd at Singapore 70.3 only a week later.
Wellington’s journey to claiming the Ironman title was anything but normal and while active as a child and a competitive swimmer as a teenager, the 31 year old never considered herself a competitive professional athlete.
As a student at the University of Brimingham, she swam a little but admits it was more an exercise in drinking than anything.
After university, Wellington spent a couple of years travelling, returned to get her masters then started working for the UK Government on international development policy..
In 2002 she took up running to lose weight gained while travelling, which led to a marathon debut in London of 3:08.
While riding her bike a year later, Wellington was hit by a car unable to ride or run she turned to swimming once again. A triathlete was born.
A work stint in Nepal, led Wellington to find herself riding over some pretty major terrain to keep active.
“Nothing seems difficult compared to trying to ride over those mountains,” said Wellington.
“I start this new season as World Iron Man Champion (still can’t believe that) and in many ways so much has changed for me. The dream has begun,” stated Wellington.
I have met some amazing people since winning Hawaii, life has been totally hectic but it hasn’t changed me as a person.”
Wellington has spent the first two months of the year in London, training hard and enjoying an intimate relationship with the turbo, gloves and woolly jumpers.
“It has been superb to spend some quality time with family and friends.”
In 2008 she will contest three Ironman events, Australia, Frankfurt (6 July) then defend her title in Kona come October.
Wellington admits there is always room for improvement and will not stop striving to be a better athlete, mentally and physically.
“I will make sure I am in the best possible shape when I toe the start line at all three races - and give it absolutely everything I’ve got,” she said.
“But it’s going to be tough. There are some strong, strong girls racing, who are going to relish the chance to hit the target that’s now on my back,” she added.
While continuing with her own sporting goals, Wellington will to continue to play a part in inspiring people to take up sport, have self belief and challenge themselves to do that little bit more.
“I am so excited about the opportunity to continue the social projects that the Team (Team TBB) has started in the Philippines, especially because this is the new location for our warm weather camp and we will be able to see tangible, positive change happening on the ground.
There are a couple of smaller charities she is closely involved with. One is the Girls Education Nepal - www.girlseducationnepal.org.np, which was founded by her close friend, Nonna Lamponen while they were working in Nepal. Additionally she is an Ambassador to a UK based organisation called Envision - www.envision.org.uk, which provides young people with the opportunity to make a difference in their local communities through social projects.
The Panthers Ironman Australia Triathlon is a qualifier for the Ford Ironman World Championship held in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. The race will take place at Westport Park, Port Macquarie.
Michael Bradley Photography
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