Sue Tetley

“My relationship with sport and exercise has been rather mixed throughout my life. I was never particularly sporty as a child. I enjoyed sprinting and doing the long jump. I went to school in the 80’s to mid 90’s and still remember very clearly waiting to be picked for teams. I was generally picked somewhere in the middle or towards the end. Never a good thing for a child’s self-esteem. 

As a teenager, I really got into racket sports, badminton initially then squash.  I had a few friends  who were at a similar level and would enjoy playing weekly. At the age of 18 I went to Loughborough University to study psychology. I was aware this was a very sporty university, but that wasn’t really a consideration when I went there. The level of even the inter-mural hall sports was very high.  It did put me off trying much sport there. I chose to do karate as it was something I could start with as a beginner and work up the grades. I enjoyed this and did it for a few years. Twenty odd years on, I wish I had made more of the available facilities. 

Following university, I started to dabble in running and did my first race for life. Prior to that, I don’t think I’d ever run 5K before. A few years later, I did my first half marathon in Nottingham where I was living at the time. This was a huge achievement for me. It was great that lots of my friends did the event as well. Throughout my 20’s and 30’s I was always rather inconsistent with exercise, training for an event and then not doing much afterwards. I was definitely a ‘Yo Yo’ exerciser.

In my mid 30’s exercise took on a different and more cathartic role and really helped me with my mental well-being as well as physical well-being whilst going through multiple rounds of IVF.  After each failed attempt, I would enter a running event or cycling event. After I had decided to stop treatment and choose to adopt instead, I threw myself into a more consistent pattern of exercise.

Around 4 years ago a friend of mine spent about 6 months trying to persuade me to join the local triathlon club.  Initially I thought I wasn’t good enough at any of the disciplines, however, soon realised that this didn’t matter at all.  I was getting injured just running. I started PT sessions and soon realised I needed to do loads more strength and conditioning to prevent injury. Joining TRISudbury was a real turning point for me.  I had never been part of a club before and had always exercised on my own. I really started to enjoy training with groups and have made some great friends.

I have now done many triathlons and taken on new challenges each year.  I also discovered my love of swimming in open water and last summer did a 2 mile swim in the Serpentine. I really love challenging myself. I’m never going to be the fastest, however, I am mentally tough and won’t give up on my goals. My next challenge will be a half ironman distance triathlon. In addition to this, I also became the Welfare Officer for the club for 2 years. I am now one of the club’s Mental Health Champions. At the AGM earlier this year, I was delighted this year to be given the female Grindstone award and became a This Girl Can Ambassador for Suffolk as well.

I am nearly 43 and I totally believe that if you work hard and never give up on your goals you can achieve anything. It’s so important to me to be a good role model for my little girl. I am fitter now than I ever have been and would say to anyone to never let anyone tell you that you cannot achieve something!”

 

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