SHE is the reigning British champion and the reigning European Champion, but Caroline Whittaker’s dream to complete a fantastic treble ended when she fell off her bike at the World Triathlon Championships in New Zealand.
The Amersham Swimming Club star was in pole position in the 50-55 year category at the time, but although she picked herself up and got back on the saddle, the damage was done.
She said: “I was just going too fast. I hit the kerb and fell off. It shakes you up a bit and I found it hard to get going again.
“I got back on still in the lead, but I was shaken and hurt and six people passed me on the bike.”
Whittaker did gather herself for the run and worked her way back up through the field with a scorching 10km time, but it wasn’t quite enough to earn her the title.
She said: “I did the fastest 10km time I’ve ever done and got past five of them, but I finished about a minute behind the winner.”
And she admits it was the fall that did it, costing her between three and four minutes.
She said: “I finished the bike ride in about one hour and 16 minutes and would hopefully have done one hour 12 minutes or one hour 13 minutes if I hadn’t fallen off.
“What can you do about it? It would have been lovely to have won all three [titles], but you’ve just got to work harder for next year.”
Second place against 80 of the best triathletes in the world in her category is nothing to sniff at though, and Whittaker had at least won the Equathlon dress rehearsal four days earlier.
But if she still needs encouragement to keep going, next year’s World Championships in London is enough to inspire anyone.
She said: “It’s going to be like the Olympics all over again. We’ll by cycling around Hyde Park and swimming in the Serpentine, so it’s definitely going to be something to watch.”