KAPITI WOMEN'S TRIATHLON  |  021 775432 | enquiry@kwt.org.nz

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INSPIRATIONAL STORIES

Seeing is believing

When Penny Gray learnt she had a deteriorating eye condition she gave herself two choices: sit in a corner and cry about it or get up and get  on. Penny  chose the second.  With almost no vision at all,  the Eastbourne woman  got up and onto a bike and starting training for the Kapiti Women's Triathlon.  She can now boast completing ten  triathlons with only a  tiny tunnel of vision in front of her: "The best way to describe what I can see is if you hold a very small toilet roll in front of your eyes - that's my view on the world."

Competing in the triathlon hasn't been without its hazards. "I got lost once and wandered off in completely the wrong direction.  I suppose no one realised I couldn't see."

Nowadays she is a lot better prepared, recruiting husband Eddie (the only man participating in a woman-only tri) who kayaks beside  her  in the swim, tandems her on the bike and holds her hand during the walk/run.  Eddie made the tandem out of Penny's own bike.  But  Penny's on her own for the training - well almost. For the walk/run  she  pushes a friend in a wheelchair who acts as her eyes, she trains on an exercycle and she's solo for the swimming in the local pool.  Penny talks as if it's no big deal and says she takes her inspiration  from a  70 year old woman who took up triathlons in her 60s after having  done no exercise all her life. It kind of makes all the excuses for  not entering the triathlon pretty weak!

No turning back

When Joanne Gimblett's Mother died suddenly of a  weight-related illness, it shocked the mother-of-two to the core. It also led in a radical change in lifestyle.  Aside from the loss of losing her Mother, Joanne had become increasingly concerned about the 106 kilos in weight she carried. Now, two years later Joanne is 36 kilos lighter and is starting to train for  the Ironman. What went on in between?  Two years ago Joanne resolved to lose weight, but when a friend suggested she enter a triathlon Joanne begged off claiming she was too overweight. Instead she started exercising on a bike and running and one year later Joanne had shed 38 kilos. Since then she has competed in three triathlons, biked the Round the Lake Cycle race and heard from many women who have told her they have been inspired by her weight loss and fitness gain. "You see if I can do it anyone can." But the biggest spin-off for Joanne has been  seeing  her two sons follow her lead.  "We've done the Round the  Bays"  together the last two years and this year my oldest son has entered in the Weetbix Tri." With the Ironman on the horizon for next year one things for sure for Joanne "I don't ever want to go back to  how I was before.

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