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By Joanne Murphy

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He has a string of wins to his name including fastest overall amateur at IRONMAN Lanzarote in 2019 which saw him finish 11th overall on the day,  as well as multiple age group wins at IRONMAN UK before breaking the tape as the overall winner in 2019.    Racing in Kona six times he has had some super results on the Big Island in Hawaii, his most recent in 2019 saw him finish in 9:02.  This Sunday Brian toes the line of the Supersapiens IRONMAN UK, eager to deliver a performance that will see him on the podium with his ticket stamped for Kona once again.

Brian gives us some insight in this episode to his journey in sport, from his days as a footballer to a keen marathon runner before taking up triathlon and excelling in the sport. It hasn’t been plain sailing for Brian to get to where he is today but with courage and commitment he has embraced the opportunity to be the best athlete he can be all whilst balancing a busy work and home life, in his own words ‘ exercise is my drug’

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It was a rollercoaster start in life for Kim as she underwent open heart surgery at just three years of age at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital in London, however her fighting spirit and competitive ambition from an early age has seen her enjoy much success in sport both as a field hockey player and now as a professional triathlete.

As an age group triathlete she quickly excelled in the sport winning the 25-29 Age Group at the 2014 World Triathlon Championships in Kitzbuhel Austria.  Stepping into the world of professional racing she claimed her first title at IM 70.3 Buenos Aires in 2016 and also finished on the podium at IM 70.3 Staffordshire and IM 70.3 Sweden in the same year.

Since then she has been on the podium at a variety of IM 70.3 races, raced multiple full distance races including the IRONMAN World Championships in 2019 where she finished 26th. She has already stamped her ticket for the IM 70.3 Worlds in Utah this year and for Kona, so there are an exciting few months ahead for the Norfolk based athlete.

Already in 2021 Kim has claimed silver in the National TT Circuit Championships in the UK, in addition to this she had a 5th place finish at IM 70.3 Texas and an 8th place at IM Tulsa and also finished 5th at the Lake Dorney Triathlon last weekend in a stacked field featuring some of the UK’s top female professional triathletes.

Kimberley’s sporting success continues to rise, with her positive attitude, great perspective, tenacity and passionate focus on being the best athlete she can be, I expect we will see her on many a podium over the years to come with a number of bike and race course records added to her name in the process.

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Keith’s running journey started in 2016 with his daughter Alanna, running the Dublin Marathon with her in 2017, capturing and captivating the hearts of the nation as they completed the event together with Keith pushing Alanna in her chair over the 26.2 mile distance. Tragically Alanna passed away unexpectedly just a few weeks later, however, Keith continues to run in her honour and her memory.  He embraced running with Alanna and now has pushed beyond what he ever thought possible by taking on some mammoth Ultra Running Events.  It wasn’t an easy road to running success for Keith in fact he hit rock bottom after Alanna passed away before he began to pick up the pieces of his life again and realise that he had a reason to not only survive but to thrive. Running is his recovery and his therapy on a road that has hit some heart breaking obstacles and challenges.  But Keith is not afraid of these obstacles he now faces as a runner, in fact he embraces them, the bigger and tougher the better for the man from Navan who was a participant in RTE’s Special Forces – Ultimate Hell Week in 2019,  he has his eyes set on success at the Marathon Des Sables in the future and Big’s Backyard Last One Standing World Final in Tennessee this October, just don’t ask him to get back on a rowing machine anytime soon! 

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Aoife is a proud member of Eagle A.C. and has represented the club over a multitude of distances from 5km to marathon.  In her late teens Aoife attended Arkansas Tech University on an athletics scholarship and showed great promise as a junior athlete, representing Ireland in the Euro XC in 2005. Unfortunately, injury prevented her from reaching her full athletic potential at that time. 

Coming home to Ireland, she took time to recover, rebuild and reignite a love of running. A New Year’s resolution to run the Cork City Marathon in 2015 paved the way for her to commence her marathon running journey which has seen her return to the top step of the podium and build on her achievements in running. With some key race successes, coupled with changes to her career and her training in recent years,  Aoife Cooke has run her way into the history books and has ambitious and exciting plans to excel even further in her chosen sport of marathon running. 

This was a fun chat with Aoife, her humility and positivity shines through in this episode, we get some incredible insight to her journey in sport and once again are reminded that our dreams and goals are never too far out of reach with courage, commitment and a desire to succeed. 

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The winner of the Deca UK in 2017, Ger completed 52 Long distance triathlons in 2018 which included a double, a continuous triple, a quinn and an indoor deca distance as part of his 52 in 52 challenge for Mental Health Ireland. In May of the same year he also completed a 100 Mile run in 20 hours on a 550 metre loop. He has some more challenges up his sleeve to the end of this year and into 2022 and beyond.  It hasn’t been an easy road for Ger at times with some DNF’s at a number of races early in his endurance racing journey, but rather than knock him down, he tuned his mindset to the idea that ‘failure is feedback,’  These disappointments he endured in sport,  they drove him forward, to strive for more from himself mentally and physically, building confidence, resilience and a determination to succeed that is iron clad. 

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Hannah took up running at the age of 34 and has represented her club and country at local and international level, winning national and international medals in a wide range of distances. Stepping up to ultra-distance and endurance mountain running she has finished on multiple podiums across her running career.  Turning her hand to triathlon as she approached her 50th birthday, she has since raced at all distances in triathlon and has a hoard of race titles and medals across duathlon and triathlon from home and abroad. 
In 2018 Hannah was electrocuted in a freak accident whilst out training on her bike, resulting in life-changing injuries that have curbed her life professionally and in sport. However, just like every obstacle she has faced in achieving success as an explorer, adventurer and athlete, Hannah’s courage, determination and positive attitude are strong armoury in conquering this mountain in life she is currently ascending in returning to full health.

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Heather won the national road race cycling championships in 2009 and broke both the national 10 and 25 mile TT records within a year of switching from triathlon to cycling. She finished 5th in the points race in the 2010 Commonwealth Games and competed at world cup level on the track and raced for Ireland at UCI level races internationally. She has won multiple national titles in triathlon across all the distances is a five-time duathlon National Champion, at one stage she was National Duathlon Champion, Sprint, Olympic and Middle Distance Triathlon Champion at the same time.  Heather continued to race nationally in cycling whilst successfully competing at triathlon, she was part of the winning county team in Ras Na mBan a few days after winning the Middle Distance National Championship at the Lost Sheep Triathlon in 2016. Married to Desi with almost 8-year-old twins Grace and Oliver, Heather maximises her time to try and strike a healthy balance across all areas of her life in a busy household.  By profession, she is a hospital pharmacist and has raced internationally whilst continuing to work, and produced some of her best performances since the twins came along.  Heather is not afraid to work and race hard, with some gutsy performances, lots of grit, determination, natural talent and strong work ethic, her results in endurance sport speak for themselves.

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Cath’s swimming accolades include swimming the English Channel in 2018, which began with her taking a notion to google how do you swim the Channel.  She has represented Great Britain at the World Ice Swimming Championships in Russia, where she finished third in her age group. She has completed 8 official ice miles to date and a number of unofficial ice miles, she plans to complete the Ice 7’s Challenge by completing an Ice Mile, ratified by IISA in each of the seven continents on earth.  Although the pandemic has delayed some of the timeline on this challenge, Cath continues to prepare for the challenges ahead by swimming in a recently built pool at home and sitting in a chest freezer daily!  She loves swimming and loves ice swimming even more, her immersion in cold icy water is her sanctuary from daily life.  Ice swimming coupled with the social aspect of swimming has had a huge impact on her life, resulting in a whole new world of adventure and exceptional achievements.  Cath’s passion for her sport is infectious, the vivid description of her adventure in Antarctica is fascinating, she may hate cold showers but pop her in an ice bath and she is a magnificent mermaid and incredible advocate for going after your goals with perseverance and dedication.  

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As an athlete Gavin began Triathlon in 1995 and won at every level from Youth, including a British Junior Title, to senior, over every distance nationally. He was the first ever male triathlete to represent Ireland at an Olympic Games in 2012 where he finished in an impressive 23rd position. Gavin is the only Irish male athlete to have won an Ironman 70.3 as a professional athlete breaking the tape at IRONMAN 70.3 Zell Am See in 2013 after achieving his Olympic dream a year previous.  Studying Sports Marketing at University set him up for life during and after elite sport going down the road of working in sponsorship for a few years in the States before returning home to work in an agency in Dublin and now as part of Team Ireland and HupHup.  Before retirement as an athlete, Gavin had a stellar career in a sport he is extremely passionate about. In fact even though he has retired as an elite athlete, he lives and breathes the sport through his athletes.  He brings his passion, experience and self confessed competitiveness to the next generation of athletes chasing goals, dreams and podiums. In the most recent full season of racing in 2019 some of the HupHup coached athletes results speak for themselves.  Having raced at the highest level in the sport of triathlon Gavin is utilising his experience to bring the best out of not only his coached athletes but also to ensure the Olympic Experience for Team Ireland Athletes is the best it can be. There is enough material is this episode to have two shows, but as Gavin has promised to do a follow up for the 100th episode this is going out as one show.