Hello, I am Justine, from Wirral, Merseyside.
You could say I am a late starter to serious sport.
I dabbled at competitive rowing for a short spell in my teenage years as part of an VIII for a small club in Chester called Athena Ladies. My best friend at school was into rowing and she invited me to try it. I rowed for 3 years, enjoyed the summer months on the River Dee and notched up an England cap during that time. I then put my efforts into student life, a career and two fantastic children.
My enjoyment of running began in my mid twenties and led me to enter races ranging from 5ks to marathons on road, cross country and multi terrain. I would say I became an "average to good" club runner supporting my local club Birkenhead AC.
A knee injury sustained after the Brathay Windermere Marathon in 2007 turned me to swimming, spinning and strength work to restore my sporting spirit and ease the frustration of not running. This led me to triathlon. I joined the local triathlon club and met people who had completed ironman triathlons. Their stories and experiences fascinated and inspired me and I became hooked. I set the goal of completing a full ironman distance triathlon by the time I reached 40 years.
So early in 2008 I applied to enter Ironman Austria. The race was mid July, giving me 6 months to train on the back of zero triathlon experience. Preparing was truly a roller coaster. Plenty of other new challenges came and went, including competing in standard and middle distance triathlons to gain experience of transition, nutrition and hours alone on two wheels. I achieved my goal in Austria finishing in the top half of my age group.
After another ironman in 2009 I improved enough in my second and third season to put my ability to the test to try and qualify for the GB age group team at the Triathlon World Championships in Budapest. Since then I have raced in a number of European and World Championship events taking me to Beijing, Israel and Turkey.
Last year, after a 30 year gap, I started rowing again on the erg as a warm up for strength sessions to help numerous injuries. A four minute warm up became a competitive 2k with my partner Phil and it grew from that. I tried 5k and 10k distance rows and somebody told me my times were good, so I looked into it and realised that if I submitted my times, I would top the seasonal online rankings for various distances run by Concept 2. My focus then switched to the world records. Quietly I kept trying to break the 10,000m record and succeeded in early January 2015. Over the next few months I broke the 5k, 6k, half marathon, marathon and 60 min records.
I’ve found a sport that I absolutely enjoy and plays to my strengths: determination, tenacity, consistency, patience, focus, stubbornness, motivation, and self-control.
Being part of the Q-Power team is a dream come true. When I read what Jo said “Everything Q said makes sense”, I knew exactly what she meant. The attention to detail and “around the athlete care” is like nothing else I have ever experienced.
I feel extremely privileged to be in Q-Power.