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Image shows hannah and rachel holding up the bicycles

Taking part in triathlon was a personal highlight

Carla Callaghan

Hannah Lithgow talks about taking part in her first triathlon and how she and her mum have raised over £4,000 through various events.

It was a glorious hot summer’s day and we had to swim, cycle and run one after the other in the heat! I’ve run since I was 12 and entered many events, so I decided it was time for a new challenge. I completed the triathlon in 1.35.29, which wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be - although my friend beat me!

I was nervous beforehand as I’m not a strong swimmer, I only learnt for higher P.E. and have barely swam since. I was confident I could easily finish the 5k run, but wasn’t sure how happy my legs would be after a 750m swim and a 20k cycle. I was doing the event with my supportive and ever enthusiastic friend Rachel who has been at my side for most of my events and gave me plenty triathlon tips such as don’t forget to take socks for after the swim!

Feeling fortunate but tired

I knew I could finish all of the individual sports, but I wasn’t prepared for how the transitions take their physical toll. After the swim you run out, grab your bike then attempt to cycle two laps of the beautiful Montrose scenery. But the transition from cycle to run really ruins your legs happiness. I‘ve never felt so weak when trying to run out of the bike area and along to the coastal route. Some of the supporters said it was a funny sight watching competitors trying to ‘learn’ how to run.

When I wrote on my fundraising page what I was running for, I wrote "because I can" as I thought about all the people who can’t run - and how fortunate I am that I can enter events like this. It was a tough challenge, but achievable for me.

Personal highlights

For me, the highlight of the triathlon was only being overtaken by one cyclist during the 20k cycle. I trained hard, having just bought my first road bike a few months before. It was quite the personal achievement to not be overtaken by all the triathlon club competitors behind me.

I wore my MS Society Scotland vest and at the finish line a fellow competitor handed me a £5 donation. This is always a highlight when people recognise the charity you are representing and choose to donate - it means I have done what I intended to do and raised awareness and funds.

Personal connection to MS

My Dad was diagnosed with MS and mum and I have seen the progression of the disease in someone close to us. We got in touch with MS Society Scotland who have supported us immensely in our fundraising challenges and cheering us on at finishing lines.

Fundraising and new challenges

Between us, my mum and I have raised over £4,000, dressing up in bright orange gear whenever we can to gain attention and awareness. We want to raise money to support those with MS and the families who care for them.

I also work in research and know the vast expense of MS research projects, so we ask for a lot of the money to be dedicated specifically to fund research.

It is heartbreaking to watch the effects of MS, but at least we have a way we can help! On to the next challenge.