A SUPER mum has gone from competing in local triathlons to number five in the UK in just three years and is now aiming to qualify for the Olympic Distance Grand Final World Championships in Chicago in September.
Farmer’s wife Melanie Betts is proof positive that life begins in your 40s after returning from the middle distance European Championships in Rimini, Italy where she was fifth overall in her 45-50 age group and second GB competitor home.
And she’s already targeting the same event in Austria in 2016.
“I do triathlon because I love it,” said the mother of two, “and I think I’ve a good chance of winning a medal.
“Even if I do get a gold medal my ambition would be to do it again the following year but in a faster time. I shall with luck be competing in the 50-54 age group in two years and I’d like to think that if the gold medal is going to happen then that will be my time.
“I’m actually getting faster with age and slimmer too. I’d say I haven’t peaked yet.”
Melanie, aged 48, is married to Andrew Clarke who farms at Abbots Morton, near Alcester, and works as a physiotherapist at Wildmoor Spa in Stratford.
“I met my husband Andrew in 2000. We’d actually been childhood sweethearts when I was 15 then we went our separate ways. We bumped into one other again by chance 17 years later and were married in 2006.”
She excelled at sport as a youngster but unfortunately wasn’t good enough to get a GB vest.
“I was always slightly jealous I wasn’t competing, but stayed fit. Around the time I was getting married I went to Slimming World with a friend and she told me she’d always fancied doing a triathlon,” she said.
“She said there was one in Stratford. We entered it using our mountain bikes and thoroughly enjoyed it. Then I became pregnant with Grace so I had to have a break.
“Then I had Isobel in 2010 so it wasn’t until 2012 that I started to achieve some age group regional wins. Someone said: ‘You could probably get a GB vest if you trained seriously Melanie.’
“It turned out to be true but it meant undertaking a full training regime including swimming in the lake at Ragley Hall on Tuesday nights with Evesham Vale Triathlon Club and early on Sunday mornings. It’s a natural lake fed by a clean spring and we’re very lucky to get access to it.”
Melanie knows she’s come a long way in a short time and now she’s aiming for the top of the podium.