In the news

20th August 2010 at 01:00

Jen Taylor

Jenny Taylor, 34, an education consultant in Plymouth, has just finished a triathlon in Nottingham, covering 140 miles in 13 hours for Barnardo's. It's not tough though, she reveals. Until last summer, she was a teacher at Stoke Damerel Primary School. She now assists schools seeking supply and tutors teachers in Team-Teach, a scheme for teachers who work with children who need physical assistance, such as those with autism or teens in pupil referral units.

Triathlon virgin?

No. I've always done sport. From the age of 11 I did tetrathlons, but swapped the horse for a bike about four years ago. I initially started shorter distance competitions, but they were over too quickly, so I opted for triathlons. With a couple under my belt, I competed in the Iron Man.

Why ditch teaching?

I became a member of the school's senior leadership team and was competing in long-distance competitions at the weekend. It was tiring; I used to cycle to work and home every evening and would train all weekend. Lesson planning took place at lunch breaks. I didn't want to become a head as I wanted to compete - and have a life. What I do is great. Instead of making a difference to one school I have access to many, thus inspiring more children and having training time.

Hot on planning?

Yes, for competitions I go on a nine-month training programme. It's great because I have to eat as much as I can. I tell myself the more chocolate I eat, the better. The kids thought I was crazy - they used to think I lived on it.

Do they second the motion?

Yes. When I was a teacher I set up a running and cycling club and loads of kids signed up, even the young ones. As a qualified cycling and triathlon coach I managed to spot some talent and refer them to the local club. One child, who I referred in Year 5, is now 13 and competing.

Tough?

You have to push your body as far as you can. I can train for each element or as much as I can, but it's still tough. When you're on the last stretch, well into the run, it requires a lot of mental dedication. I'm running for Barnardo's, who do projects to give abused children a sense of value and worth. In the tough times, if I compare what I'm going through for just a few hours to the brutal things these children endure for years, there is no comparison.

And at the finish line?

I'll have a bottle of wine and lots of ice cream - funny combination, isn't it? Further down the line I would love to qualify for the Great Britain Age Group races.

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