Amazing Kate, from novice to star!

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Triathlete Kate Silk... out of her comfort zone, but determined to overcome any perceived barriers. Photo by Silas Brown

If you are looking for inspiration, you don’t need to look any further than Kate Silk, one of the great success stories in sport, writes TIM GAVEL

This time last year, Kate Silk was preparing for her first triathlon.

Before the Females in Training program, she had never owned a bike, nor run with a group of people, and hadn’t swum in years.

At 27, Kate, a physiotherapist at Calvary Hospital, was well and truly out of her comfort zone, but she was determined to overcome any perceived barriers.

Some barriers are real, others are perceived. For Kate, the mere thought of running, swimming and cycling in group training for the first time was as daunting as the race itself.

Another such barrier was swimming in Lake Burley Griffin for the first time. As luck would have it, the lake was closed for swimming on the day of her triathlon debut.

In the end, the triathlon became a duathlon and Kate didn’t need to swim after all, but the fears had been conquered, nonetheless.

Kate completed her first event without any drama alongside her fellow debutants. From that moment, she was hooked.

She was named the ACT Novice Triathlete of the Year and with a number of triathlons under her belt, Kate is now preparing for the Canberra Half Iron Man in December.

Remembering, of course, that this time last year she had never competed in the sport before, this time she faces a 1.9-kilometre swim, a 90-kilometre bike ride and a half marathon.

With her life outside work now devoted to training, Kate says it has given her a sense of work-life balance.

She says the role played by Females in Training cannot be underestimated.

Close to 600 women have taken part in the training program over the past 12 years, which includes three training sessions a week in preparation for their first triathlon.

Ages range from 18 to 73, with a large number in their late 60s preparing this year to compete in the longer event.

Often, women who have finished the course and competed in their first triathlon return as mentors to coach the novices, supporting them through their triathlon debuts.

For her part, Kate says, with the novice triathlon taking place the day before her half iron man, she is forced to take on a mentoring role, saving her energy for her big event.

It is surely one of the great success stories in sport, not just women’s sport in Canberra.

Encouragement is provided in such a way that it motivates people who, for one reason or another, have never attempted anything like this before.

Well done, Females in Training.

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Tim Gavel
Journalist and ABC sports broadcaster

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