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She may be 65 years old, but intrepid grandmother Sheila Henshaw decided that the way to celebrate her big birthday was by tackling her first triathlon.
After a few months’ training, she completed a 5km run, 400-metre swim and a 12-mile bike ride in the Fleetwood Triathlon in less than two hours.
How did she feel afterwards? “Great,” said Sheila, the office manager at Community Foster Care’s office in Quarry Road, Lancaster.
The mother of two grown-up children and grandmother of twins from Bamber Bridge also raised more than £300 for Meningitis Now in memory of her sister Cath Woods who died of meningitis in 2012, aged 61.
“It was a lot better than I thought,” said Sheila. “The other people competing were really helpful. After the swim, they were all there in their proper triathlon suits and shoes whilst we were tiptoeing across a car park in bare feet to pick up our bikes.
“When we got on our bikes, our legs felt like lead but thankfully we’d been warned. Then there were 40mph headwinds.
“I was really pleased with the way it went though – we weren't out to break any records.”
Running with Sheila was her daughter Lucy Robertson, 35, who has been her regular running companion in many a 10k race and was in awe of her mum’s stamina.
It was Sheila’s son Paul who gave her the idea of marking her 65th birthday with something different.
“He suggested a skydive in Botswana where he works,” said Sheila. “There’s no way I wanted to do that – I’m scared of heights. But I thought I can run, I can swim and I can ride a bike so why not try a triathlon? I’m not competing with the Brownlee brothers but I can finish. Maybe I need my head examined!”
Will there be another triathlon in future? “Not at the moment – although I think I might consider in future,” said Sheila who runs regularly with Revolution Running in Leyland.
She is sure that her sister Cath would have approved. “She would have been coming with us – she was really sporty,” she said.
Anyone who wants to sponsor Sheila and Lucy can do so at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sheila-henshaw1.