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Podiatry lecturer represents Team GB in Triathlon

West Ham

Never too late to realise your sporting dreams, says Claire Duguid

By Lee Pinkerton

Her day job is being a senior lecturer in podiatry at the University of East London (UEL). But in her spare time Claire Duguid is a triathlete, and her passion led her to represent Team GB in this year’s European Games in Glasgow.

Claire has been at UEL since 2008 and her story is one of hope. She came from a sporty family, and as a child played netball competitively. But an injury meant her burgeoning career was halted. It was her UEL colleagues, David Watkinson and Jo Dawes, which got her into triathlon (running, swimming and cycling) when they started up a club in 2009.

Claire got the bug and at UEL she was able to increase her training to five or six days a week.

In July 2018 Claire went to Denmark for the World Aquathlon Championships, completing a demanding one kilometre swim followed by a five kilometre run.
The very next month she found out that she had qualified to compete at the European Games in Glasgow, just five weeks before the event.

Although she does compete against other athletes from around the world Claire is at pains to point out that she is not an elite-level athlete. She participates with other women in her age range (35- 39).  Claire knows that she is unlikely to win an Olympic gold medal as a triathlete, but she says she has found the training and competition to be life-affirming.

“I’ve found it a fantastic experience” she said. “Talking to the fellow competitors at the European Games, I found that lot of them are full time athletes. I wouldn’t want to give up my day-job, because I love it. But I do definitely want to keep competing.”

And competing in a sport when you’re older runs in the family. Claire’s father was 63 when he qualified for Team GB in cycling. So Claire’s story shows that just because you don’t achieve your ambitions in your teens or twenties, it’s never too late to realise your sporting dreams.