Long Course Weekend prides itself on being an inclusive event available to everyone, where age is never a barrier. We talked to one of our inspirational athletes, Linda Spillman, who at 70 years of age, will help celebrate our 10th Anniversary by competing at this year’s event.
In your registration, you said you watched our very first swim…were you a local supporter or visiting the area at the time?
I knew the event was on and went especially to watch it. I was not a good swimmer and wanted to be able to swim confidently in deep water. I remember really looking forward to seeing this open water event as it happened. I was very impressed at the high level of ability with some in just swimsuits! A few years earlier I’d watched in awe at TV coverage of David Davies completing the 10K open water swimming event at the Beijing Olympics.
Have you competed in triathlons before? If so, when did you start competing?
I did my first supersprint triathlon in 2011 when I was 62 with a pool swim! I’ve done many triathlons since and taken part at LCW since 2013.
What inspired you to begin competing in triathlons?
The first Wales Swim inspired me to join the Newport and East Wales Triathlon Club. I hoped I’d improve my swimming and wanted to do open water swimming. I later joined Lliswerry Runners when parkrun started. I soon realised my running was better than my swimming. I’ve met some wonderful, inspiring people along the way including my bike buddy Julie whom I met whilst training for my first Ironman. I’ve had lots of help and advice from Tenby Aces especially with open water swimming and enjoy their camaraderie and enthusiasm. I’m also inspired by men and women I meet at long distance events who continue to enjoy the sport. I’m also very lucky that my husband is trained in Sports Massage.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
My biggest challenge so far has been completing Ironman Wales 2017 in the teeth of a gale and Long Course Weekend Sportive 2016 which was equally as wet! I had to dig very deep to keep going to the finish at both. I find all events at this distance a challenge. It requires good preparation and consistent training and many things can get in the way.
Do you have any training advice for your fellow athletes or people considering signing up?
Just enjoy it! Find other people to train with and check out the course if you can.
What made you choose LCW?
In 2013 a friend said she’d entered the 70 mile bike at Long Course so I ambitiously signed up for the 1.9K swim, 70 mile bike and half marathon – nervous about the distance of the swim and bike. The sportive was on the hottest day of the year with my bike computer registering 90 degrees. The NEWTs and Lliswerry Runners were out in force and I was delighted to see them at various points throughout the weekend. These clubs have been at Long Course Weekend in great numbers over the years to compete and support. It’s a great weekend and caters for all abilities with its wide range of events and has a fantastic atmosphere.
We wish Linda all the very best in LCW!!