After the shock loss of her first husband, a run of poor health, a bombshell diagnosis of breast cancer and a mastectomy, competing in a world triathlon was the last thing on Judith Taylor’s mind.
Yet barley a year after surgery, she was contesting the World Masters Swimming Championships in Perth, Western Australia.
Unable to move her arm after the operation, the mother of three decided to work on her swimming “to get on back on track”.
This September, the 57-year-old Rangiora housewife will compete in the London triathlon, first in a 1km swim and 5km run, and three days later in the standard 1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run on the Hyde Park course used for the Olympics, but modified.
“It's quite exciting,” she said. Mrs Taylor’s group will join the 177-strong New Zealand triathlon team at the event.
Since starting triathlons 20 years ago, she has twice represented New Zealand. Selected for the world triathlon championships in Auckland, she finished 13th in her age group – a disappointment.
She in now training under a new coach, Rangiora sportsman Darren Atkins. “I feel we’re really in tune. He’s really good. I’m enjoying his coaching; I’m battling it out at the moment.”
She trains hard, six days a week, up to three hours a day – twice a day some days. There is no special dietary regimen, “I have a rest afterward. I eat anything. You get hungry.”
The build-up focuses on speed work, strength and endurance. “It's the hard graft.”
She trains for the Masters swimming under Dudley Park Aquatic Centre Y-Swim coach Tim Wright.
Sports came naturally as a child in Manawatu. “I ran everywhere.”
Later married and living in Fielding, her children started swimming and Judith, then 29, took swimming lessons herself. “I just did local triathlons and slowly worked from there.”
She met her second husband, Ian, cycling in the North Island. “He is just behind me all the way. He is brilliant, fantastic.”
Mrs Taylor is looking forward to the London event for more reasons than one. A daughter, Joanne Saxton, 33, is competing in the sprint, and another Renee, currently living in England, is into multi-distance and adventure racing.
This has been a momentous year. Within a month, Judith and Joanne were selected for the London international; Renee was invited to join the Adidas adventure racing team; and Katrina, a Wellington hair stylist, was selected to represent New Zealand in an international hairdressing competition in Los Angeles. She and her partner were married here.
Off the sports circuit, Mrs Taylor loves to cook, loves gardening, and enjoys handcrafts.
Mrs Taylor is being sponsored by acupuncturist Brett Walker, Pushbikes bike shop and Dudley Park Aquatic Centre.
Information source - Northern Outlook June 15th