Earlier this year we launched our Trailblazers scheme to find women who embody our mission of inspiring and empowering through movement. Meet our first recruits who train and race but most importantly support and motivate each other and you.
We believe that running and triathlon has the power to change lives and create positive change. Together, we hope to spread that message …
Michelle (Chelle) Carlton, 34
Chelle lives in Southport with her husband Sam (also a runner) and cat Pebbles and credits running with giving her the resilience needed to work as a personal assistant in the ‘crazy world of the health sector.’ Chelle started running in 2018 after following her husband to all his different races and running events and seeing the positive impact it was having on his health. A trepidatious parkrun registration followed and now Chelle is a runner, triathlete, open water swimmer with her sights set on completing an Olympic distance tri in 2022.
Biggest Achievement: ‘Completing my first Ultramarathon at Race to the King 2021. 54 miles in one day across the South Downs Way after missing seven weeks of training due to tendonitis in my foot and having never run further than 18 miles! I bloody did it though.‘
Donna Strowger, 51
Swimming teacher, Donna and mum of two from Bognor does it all, from open water swimming to triathlon and ultras. Proof that age is no barrier. But before her first parkrun, not that long ago, she thought that running a bath was her limit.
Advice to your younger self? ‘Don’t give up on your sport, look how it helped you make lifelong friends especially when you moved 700+ miles from Scotland and didn’t know another soul.
When things don’t work out, don’t see them as obstacles, see them as fresh opportunities for bigger and better things.’
Jenny Katsoni, 36
A GP from Eastbourne, Jenny discovered running five years ago. And like many of us, then discovered cycling and swimming after getting a running injury. She has now completed her first triathlon.
‘Running has taught me to be resilient and preserve, she says. ‘In work and training, if things don’t go to plan I see it as a learning experience‘.
Advice to your younger self? Dream big and go for your goals, seize every moment and enjoy life, there is a time to be serious and a time to have fun.’
Emily Carter, 25
Her alter ego would be ‘Trip Hazard’ according to Emily, a specialist in domestic abuse support from Southhampton. ‘I always end up up tripping up on the trails.’
Emily is a girl after our own hearts, a champion of how empowering running is and the belief that anything is possible.
‘ Long distance running has taught me that you can overcome any mental or physical or mental barriers,’ says Emily. ‘ When you think you are at your limit, you push until you are out of your comfort zone.
Once out of your comfort you adapt, grow and push forward.‘
Katy Armitage, 27
From Cheshire, Katy, a development manager, is happiest when outdoors, and is currently training for her first Ironman in 2022.
Last month, she bagged her Age Group podium win at the Eton Dorney Sprint Triathlon, coming in fourth lady overall.
Advice to your younger self? ‘Focus on what your body can do not what it looks like. Taking up running and triathlon has completely reshaped how I look and think about my body.
I am so proud and grateful of my body that has completed a half Ironman, cycled 250 miles from London to Paris and completed a 50km Ultra!.‘
Grace Natoli, 52
Grandmother of three, Grace from West Sussex, ran her first 10km back in 2009 and now has over 40 ultra races under her belt.
‘Glam ma’ as she’s more commonly known, loves trail running, championing diversity and the new for more more inclusivity in the world of trail running.
‘Sadly my experience of being the only black person at a race is still the norm,’ she says. ‘ I get so excited when I spot somebody of colour at a race, and usually there is a subtle exchange of smiles or nods in the race village, and or a wave or words of encouragement during the run. Feeling part of a community, and seeing other runners like me would be so empowering.’
Becca Burns, 30
Having lost a third of her body weight after finding a love of exercise whilst at university, Becca is a passionate advocate of women’s fitness.
She runs, swims and cycles, and recently completed her first 70.3 triathlon while being coached by GRTW founder, Rachael.
‘I’m not the fastest or most accomplished but I love it and that is what is most important to me. Triathlon has shown me how strong I am physically and mentally and I’m so grateful for this crazy journey.’