As my parents are only emergency service workers, finding the money to buy new equipment is extremely hard, especially as we are financing three sports instead of one! Many people do not realise that at the age-group level, I am not funded in any way by British Triathlon, so my parents have to find it all themselves. That is the reason I am so grateful to my parents, as well as my sponsors, because without them, I probably wouldn't be able to do the sport I love.
For example, I have had my wetsuit for nearly 4 years now, so you could probably imagine the state it is in! There are chips in the suit from my nails, stones and rocks, and it just about fits where I have grown over the years!
When I completed my beach lifeguard qualification with the Chalkwell Redcaps recently, I had the privilege of meeting a bunch of caring, thoughtful people, and that is where I met my recent sponsor, Glynn from Rippleside Metalworks.
A few weekends ago, whilst training with the group from Chalkwell Redcaps, we got onto the subject of costs of funding the three sports in Triathlon. They were shocked at how much we had to spend not just on equipment, but on entrance fees (European Championships entry fees can be over £200) and particularly the Great Britain trisuit which is £135 without printing! I then received an email later that day from Iain, saying that he and the committee had discussed how they could help me and had decided they would sponsor me with a BRAND NEW WETSUIT!!!!!!!!!!!
Today, I went to trial said wetsuit at Tri and Swim Well with Dawn and Gill, and I have fallen in love with it!! I didn't realise just how bad my old wetsuit was until I tried this one on, but the difference is huge! My 'Chalkwell Redcaps HUUB wetsuit' allows me so much more movement and flexibility in the shoulders and arms that I didn't even know was possible in a wetsuit, and with my rotator cuff problems at the moment, it won't impede me as much as my old suit. It is also a lot lighter than my previous one, so travelling abroad with it will be a lot easier.
I would just like to give a HUGE THANKYOU to everyone at Chalkwell Redcaps - I cannot put into words how grateful I am to you for supporting me like this; I hope I can make it up by giving my full support to this amazing club, either in races or lifeguarding for you.