Updated: Jan 31
Introducing Suzy Knights – who actually needs no introduction to most, as she has been the driving force behind Beccles Triathlon Club for several years, ever since the founders Kate Bryson and Jason Painter handed the reins to her in 2016. Since then the club has gone on from strength to strength with a current membership of 100 + and much of its success can be attributed to Suz and her determination, enthusiasm and inspiration to others. She won’t find this paragraph an easy read because she is very modest and humble about all her achievements but I’m sure that all club members will agree that it is fitting to end 2019 with her club profile and an opportunity for us all to say thanks to her and everything she has done for Beccles Triathlon Club.
Tell us about your pre-triathlon sporting history and your favourite sport at school?
At school I really loved playing Netball and Hockey. I was in the netball team at primary school. At high school I ended up in the football team, I loved playing in a team but I got bullied quite a bit at high school so stopped playing.
After school I did no sport at all, until January 2014 when I started training for my first triathlon.
How and why did you get into triathlon and what was your first event?
I got into Triathlon through Rebecca, she really inspired me. Initially it started as a prosecco fuelled promise to her. She wanted to do Fritton lake triathlon and asked me to do it with her. When I realised what a triathlon (open water as well) entailed I seriously did consider backing out. However she had recently given birth and was a single mum at the time, yet she did the 5 mile promenade dash 6 months after Sebastian was born. It really made me take a step back and think. Plus by that point I had stupidly set up a just giving page and people had donated... I couldn't back out even if I wanted to!!!
Your greatest achievement and personal bests?
This is a hard one as I am my own worst critic. When I look back to how I was pre-triathlon, lazy, unhappy, overweight, unhealthy...finish Fritton Lake Triathlon was a turning point in my life and I honestly feel like I have been given a second chance. After that completing IMUK was just the best. It was such a huge personal challenge and I managed to do it! I remember Jase (as well as others) telling me I would never be a long distance athlete, I really was that bad when I first started.
What have been your best, worst and funniest triathlon moments to date?
Best moment to date is finishing IMUK. It was such a massive personal achievement. Life changing.
Worst moment was getting a chest infection the day before Challenge Mallorca last year. I had spent 10 months training for it. Second worst moment was having a massive panic attack at the European Aquathlon championships for team GB. It was so bad I almost waved for the boat to come and pull me out of the water. I managed to calm myself down and finish the swim but I was last out of the water but a long way and felt like I had let everyone down.
Funniest triathlon moment has got to be LCW with Vicki, had such a great time that weekend. On the marathon we decided to do a different pose every lap (we had to do 4). Those photos always make me giggle.
What is your favourite discipline and why?
Definitely cycling. I think it is because it can be more social and you get to see amazing parts of the country that you wouldn't normally see when driving. Oh and it normally involved a cake stop 🙂
What is your motivation and who is/are your inspiration/s?
My motivation is to always improve and get better so this keeps me focused on my training. When I compete I always try and enjoy it and remember how lucky I am to be able to participate. I always picture the finish line when I race and seeing Nick, family and friends when I cross it, this is my motivation to keep going when it gets tough.
Rebecca Harris inspired me to get into triathlon, Pete Burwood & Rich Connell inspired me to sign up to IMUK, I also found the film 100 metros inspiring and it has gotten me through some tough training lows.
Favourite bit of triathlon kit? What couldn’t you be without?
For me it is definitely my garmin watch. It really does help motivate me when training, but it is also great having the data it captures to look back on.
Describe a typical training week, if there is such a thing!
I swim on a Monday night, Thursday and Friday morning. This is new to me as I used to only swim twice a week.
I bike on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
My run days are Monday, Thursday and Saturday and I try and always run off the bike.
Added to this I do two S&C sessions a week.
Do you have a motto and any special pre-race routines or superstitions?
I don't really have a motto or routine as such, however I do have a mantra that I use when I race or when training gets difficult. It is something I have done for a few years now and it has helped me so much. Keep it short and positive and just say your mantra over and over.
What advice would you give to someone entering their first event and tips for improvers?
Enjoy it! Of course you will be nervous but try and enjoy it. There is always time for age group wins and getting PBs but it is easy to get lost in all of that and forget why we do the sport.
For improvers consistency is key! Avoid over training and getting ill or injured.
Join a club! The friends I have made and the things I have got to experience since joining Beccles Triathlon Club has been life changing.
What are your future ambitions and races on the bucket list for 2020 and beyond?
On my list for next year is Outlaw Full. It will complete my goal of racing long distance triathlons for the big brands. So far I have ticked off Ironman, Challenge and LCW.
I am heading back to Paguera where I really want to break the 6 hour mark for a 70.3.
My bucket list race would be Challenge Daytona. Really fancy that race!