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Catherine battles back after cancer treatment to join women taking on Try-a-Tri triathlon challenge

BY DONNA DEENEY

Published 11/11/2015

Carmel Lynch (left) from the North West Triathlon Club and Catherine Curran. Photo: Martin McKeown
Carmel Lynch (left) from the North West Triathlon Club and Catherine Curran. Photo: Martin McKeown

Five years after a cancer diagnosis left her devastated, Catherine Curran will be at the starting line of one of sport’s most gruelling events — a triathlon.

Catherine signed up to take part in the massive challenge after reaching a crossroads in her life which saw her struggling to cope with the fight back to fitness.

In a tragic coincidence, her diagnosis was coupled with the sudden death of her nephew and godson in the United States.

She will be among 70 other women taking part in the ‘Try-a-Tri’ event organised by the North West Triathlon Club at Templemore Sports Complex in Londonderry on Sunday.

Before setting off on a 3k run the women have to swim 250m and cycle nine miles. Speaking ahead of the event, Catherine said she still can’t believe she even signed up for such a tough event.

“I had a really good level of fitness before I was diagnosed with cancer but my treatment was very aggressive and it completely floored me both physically and mentally,” Catherine said.

“Even putting clothes in the washing machine left me needing to lie down and it was hard for me to get used to that because I was so fit.

“In the midst of my recovery, my nephew Patrick who is also our godson died suddenly in America and that, on top of everything else, left me completely broken.

“I reached a crossroads where I could have gone either way but I have two children and I knew I needed to get back to myself somehow. I had been struggling on my own but signing up for the Try-a-Tri event has been such a turning point.

“I have been so inspired by the other women and the struggles some of them have had — women afraid of water learning to swim and others getting on a bicycle for the first time.

Carmel Lynch (left) from the North West Triathlon Club and Catherine Curran. Photo: Martin McKeown
Carmel Lynch (left) from the North West Triathlon Club and Catherine Curran. Photo: Martin McKeown

“I am way fitter than I was when I started the training for it in September and I am 100 times fitter than I was six months ago and having all the other women helped me so much.

“Every single training session I asked myself ‘Why did I sign up for this?’ but although I am nervous, I am ready and I, along with the other women will cross the finish line some time on Sunday.”

The event was the idea of Carmel Lynch, a member of the North West Triathlon Club who wanted to see more women taking up this challenging sport.

She said: “I have been overwhelmed by the volume of interest there was in the Try-a-Tri event.

“We set up an information day at Templemore and I had hoped around 30 women would show up but at one stage there was actually a queue, the interest was so great.

“In the end, 75 women signed up to take part in the event and of that nearly 70 have completed the training and will be at the starting line on Sunday which is far beyond our expectations.

“Anyone can do this, some of the women couldn’t ride a bike or swim before they started the training but they have achieved what they signed up for so it shows anyone can do a triathlon and no one should be put off trying.”

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