Alexis Wins Triathlete of the Year Award
At a glamerous ceremony held upstairs in the Lounge Alexis Smith was awarded with possibly the most coveted of sporting awards: The Shetland Triathlete of the Year. Following another good year of results and showing a very positive approach to training everyone was in agreement that she was a very worthy winner. Here is the post-presentation interview with questions coming from STC's very own Pete Fenwick.
Congratulations on being presented with the 2013 Triathlete of the year award Alexis. You have made a big impression on everyone in the club since being involved for the last two years and having narrowly missed out on the award for 2012 we were all really pleased that you received the most nominations this year.
Thank you! It's a pleasant surprise and a nice boost to receive the award this year.
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Alexis Smith, im 38, live in the wastside with my husband Mark, and my daughters Oriana 7 and Megan 4. I work for BioMar as a logistics co-ordinator.
When did you first hear about the triathlon club and what made you want to come along and try it out?
I'd done a bit of running in the past, a few 10km races and a couple of half marathons and I enjoyed doing endurance/challenge type events so when i saw they were thinking to start up a triathlon club up here it sounded like something I fancied trying. It had always been in the back of my mind but wasn't really until after having the bairns I became more interested in sport and decided to give it a go. I was quite nervous about coming along at first as i wasn't sure if, being slightly less than super fit, that I'd be able to fit in!
What was your first event you took part in and how did it go?
The first event I took part in was the Duathlon championships at Tingwall (2mile run - 13.5mile cycle - 2 mile run) two years ago. Nothing like aiming high for the 1st attempt (or if i was going to fail, i was going to fail properly!) but surprisingly I came in 2nd for the female category! (but we won't mention too loudly there were only 2 females in the race that day so as long as i completed it, I'd be guaranteed a medal!). So despite having a heavy mountain bike and having done very little training for it, it was a good result and I really enjoyed it. It was quite hard going at times, especially the return leg of the cycle and then having to do another run. I could easily have finished after the cycle. But I willed my mind to carry on - the sensation of "jelly legs" after coming off the bike and into the 2nd run was odd, but you get used to it. It was a great sense of achievement and such a good buzz, I was disappointed it was the last one of the season. If I'd only plucked up the courage to attend some of the earlier ones....
What training have you been doing over the winter and do you feel you are getting a benefit from it?
I decided to concentrate on improving my swimming and cycling this winter so i got a lighter bike and a turbo trainer and have been using that quite a bit. I've also improved my swimming by joining the masters swimming club in Lerwick. There is really great provision in Shetland for teaching bairns to swim and it's brilliant that there's now a swimming club for adults. I've never been a particularly strong swimmer and wouldn't have come on half as well without going to these coached sessions. I also attend the tri club winter training 10km runs, coached swimming and duathlons. Training with more experienced athletes has helped me develop, and I'm grateful to the people at these clubs who give up their own time to help others improve.
What are your plans for this year and do you have any goals you want to achieve?
This year I'm aiming to better my time for the novice triathlon in May. I'd like to keep improving, especially the swimming so I can do the longer distance events. I've also signed up to do a "toughmudder" obstacle/running challenge with my sister, although my husband thinks it should be called "stupidmudder!" In the longer term, I'd love to do an ironman but I'm going to build up to that over a couple of years - the open water swim is quite a scary thought at the moment! In addition to this I've just heard tonight I've got a place in the great north run half marathon in September.
What would you say to someone who wants to come along and have a go a taking part in a triathlon club training session or event?
Triathlon can seem a bit daunting at first but just come along and give it a go. You don't need to have the fancy expensive equipment or be an experienced athlete to take part. If you think you have to wait until you get a bit fitter/faster before you can take part that day may never come so just jump in at whatever fitness level you're at. you're bound to improve once you start, and it can be good motivation to have other people to train with to push you on. Plus it's a good buzz, you'll feel great and have a good sense of achievement after you've taken part. We all feel it would be brilliant to see more people of all abilities at the club :)
It was celebrations all round for Shetland Triathlon Club at the weekend with the release of the Tri Scotland Legends Rankings for the 2013 season, the discovery that the club and Pete were up for Shetland Sports Awards, and the clubs Jake Porter Duathlon was short listed for TriScotlands Event of the Year 2013!
The Legends Rankings are calculated on individual performances at certain events across Scotland. It rewards those that consistently race and perform well. The club and the athletes were all looking forward to the release of the results following a good seasons racing.
The club was aiming for a high ranking this year, but with Island games taking priority, the team didn't manage to get to as many ranking events as they'd have liked. That being said, the club, which only has a small handful of eligible racers, climbed to 14th in Scotland with a score of 526.41, an improvement on the 18th place they made last year with 451.62. A club spokesman said: "This a great achievement for STC given that the clubs that are above us are the big city clubs like Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen etc who have much higher numbers racing. It shows the commitment the team have shown to racing both here and on the mainland, and the fantastic results they have been able to produce over the year."
In the female Standard Distance Rankings, it was great to see Gee Zissler taking first place. Gee, who is the partner of Shetland's own superstar Pete Fenwick, has been racing as part of Shetland Tri Club. Gee not only managed to top the table for her age group but beat off all other racers to take first overall for the season. Lynsey Henderson, came in at 13th, having only managed to race 1 ranking event this year. Unfortunately the rankings do not take into account the English based races that Lynsey had won. Gemma Passmore had had to withdraw from the only ranking event she'd made it to this season, so unfortunately didn't make it onto the table.
In the male Standard Distance Ranking, Pete Fenwick was ranked in 3rd place for the senior age group and 5th overall in Scotland. Andrew Aitken also suffered from not racing at enough ranking events but came in at 35th for his age group.
In the Sprint Distance Rankings, the whole team managed to score well despite the much higher numbers competing for points. Gemma, in her first season, made it to 3rd place in the senior age group and 7th overall. Gee and Lynsey fought it out at 13th and 14th, with Gee just 1 point ahead of Lynsey. In the senior men's rankings, Pete came in at 5th, Andy at 13th, Mark Georgeson at 20th and Bonar Barclay in 45th.
Even better news for the club as a whole, was the discovery that the clubs "Jake Porter Duathlon" held in April 2013 was short listed to the top 3 events in the TriScotland Awards. Although the event didn't win, the club were delighted to have an event of theirs recognised at such a high level. Gemma, who organised the event alongside the club said: " I'm shocked! We knew it was a great event and we were so impressed with the money raised and the interest in it that we thought we'd put it forward. I never thought we'd be noticed, let alone shortlisted. It would have been great to win for Jake, but this is just as meaningful to me and I'm sure to his family. The event will run again in April 2014 and I'd love it to be as good, if not better!"
Shetland Triathlon Club are up against the rugby team and the swim team for 'Team of the Year' at Shetland Sports Awards, as well as Pete being up for 'Sports Personality of the Year'. The team said: "It's going to be a tough decision for the judges this year with such good results from everyone, but we want to say good luck to everyone we're up against. Even if we don't win, it's been great to have our achievements noted both here and at TriScotland."