Rookie Rachel earns a Nice bonus
BY winning her age category at the Nice Ironman competition, Fingal Triathlon Club's Rachel Beck has qualified for a highly-coveted spot at this year's Ironman World Championships.
Taking place on the Hawaiian Island of Kona, the race brings together the best Ironman athletes from all across the globe, and Beck's achievement in getting there is all the more remarkable because Nice was only her second-ever event of that distance.
In fact she had given up triathlons altogether some time ago, only to have her interest piqued again last year.
'I actually haven't been involved in triathlon since 2007. It's only been since the middle of last year that I decided to do an Ironman again and I joined Fingal and I found them to be a great club, very encouraging. They have some really good coaches in Louis and Eleana. I've only done a few races this year.
'It is only the second Ironman I have done. I did Nice in 2006 and I finished in 11hr 2min, so I wanted to beat that this time around and I came home in 10hr 46min.'
As she crossed the finish line she had no idea of her final placing or the fact that she had just qualified for the most prestigious event on the Ironman calendar.
'I didn't actually know I had qualified. I had crossed the line and then went to find my friends and family, and about 10 or 15 minutes later I met them and they congratulated me on winning my age group.
'They said I had then qualified for Kona and I sort of didn't believe them as I didn't know where I was coming in the race. I didn't know where I was at any point in the race, but everyone was following me online.
'It was only with 5km to go did I realise I was going to achieve my goal of finishing sub-11 hours, but it was a bit of a shock that I had qualified.'
Beck says that she only really travelled to France with the goal to beat her previous time. At the weekend she booked her flights and accommodation for the Hawaii race, which takes place on October 11th, but in terms of goal-setting she's just recovering from the exertions of actually qualifying first.
'I haven't thought too much about what I want to do. I'm just recovering from the race and I need to get back to 100%. Then I need to think about it once I'm back to full health.'
The one thing she is well aware of is the conditions the race will take place in.
'It's a really savage race and a lot of people won't finish it, so hopefully I can finish and also set a better time than I did in Nice. The way I'm preparing for the race is to do hot yoga so I can cope with the heat.
'It's great because it really helps your body adjust to moving in such heat as you are stuck right in a heated environment.'