With the sign-up deadline to join team United Response at the London Triathlon fast approaching, Beth tells her tale of beginner to winner in a matter of weeks! Both Beth and her father, Stuart, are taking part individually to raise valuable funds for United Response.

It’s just under 4 weeks until I compete with my dad in the London Triathlon and it’s safe to say the pressure is mounting!

I’m managing to find enjoyment in the majority of my training... apart from the fact I can’t swim. Yep, that’s right - zero ability in the water.

I always knew the swimming was going to be the hardest aspect for me. I love cycling and can just about get through a run but I haven’t swum regularly since my swimming lessons when I was eight. A time when I was definitely less fearful of the water than I am now!

Forcing yourself to swim in cold open water is a very surreal feeling. When I first went to Tooting Bec Lido a couple of weeks ago, it took me 20 minutes to even get my face in the water. I managed 45m of front crawl – the length of two buses - I have to do 750m in four weeks!

A week after the Lido, I went to the New Forest Water Park where there is a lake and did a 600m lap. It was terrifying. It felt like the lake weeds were dragging me under, I held on to every possible buoy and I only managed to put my face in the water for about a minute.

Since my open water ‘experiences’ (aka fails), I’ve upped my game and am trying to swim 20 minutes most days just to get comfortable in the water. On Saturday, I managed a few lengths without stopping which felt like a bit of a mile stone!

My dad seems to be taking great pleasure in telling me how he’s knocking minutes here and there off his swim time but if it was him writing this blog, it would be all about his running fails. It just shows, whatever your level, you can train up and find enjoyment in it somewhere.

It’s most certainly the biggest challenge in my 23 years of existence, but that’s why I’m doing it. I want the satisfaction of running (or crawling) over the finish line knowing I’ve done some hugely valuable fundraising for United Response. I also want the excuse to consume an impressive amount of food and multiple beverages in celebration. If that’s not a motivation to sign up yourself, then I don’t know what will be!

Beth Bridewell, web assistant.