Rising to the “Ironman” Challenge

Thursday, 7th March 2019

Vicky Carpenter, Ex Medau teacher (she returned to school teaching), mother of 4 and grandmother of 5 soon to be 7, has been seriously testing herself recently.

Eight to nine years ago she took an opportunity to start running on the South Deven cliffs: it became a passion.  Her father had died in his late 50’s and Vicky had suffered serious bouts of pneumonia so she was determined to take advantage of any opportunity to improve her health as she approached that age herself. Motivated and trained by her now son in law Jason McKinley ( do Google his adventures and rowing record), she completed several marathons getting the first medals of her life.  When she heard of the Ironman challenge, a seed was sown and she also took up swimming and cycling.

The Ironman Challenge is a 140.6-mile triathlon consisting of a 2.4-mile open water swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run, raced in that order and without a break.  That’s a lot of training for a novice and required a lot of support from family, colleagues and friends especially as Vicky continue to work full-time.  She finally completed an Ironman in Spain in 15 hrs 19mins aged 60 and made it to the podium.

Why do it? “Apart from the feel-good factor, good health, strength and confidence to tackle new challenges, it is immensely satisfying to achieve the seemingly unachievable,” says Vicky.

Having recently reduced her teaching hours, she has concentrated on the faster middle distance: the Half-Ironman (70.3 miles).  Last year she represented Great Britain in Italy coming third in Europe in her age category, and then in Norway, she won one of only 36 available slots in the World Championships.  Worldwide over 3,000 people had taken part in her category.  Finally in August, in Austria, she cam 19th – job done.

“It was a huge and amazing event, the temperature was 30c+ and it was like racing in the Sound of Music, just beautiful! I felt honoured to be racing on the world stage alongside top athletes like Gomez and representing my country.  Above all, I was delighted to finish feeling strong and well and so proud of myself”

What next for Vicky? ” I move up an age group next year so this space…..”