"Tri January is making me feel much more positive by finding ways to integrate exercise into my daily routine."

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After two life threatening health issues, Tri January provides realistic opportunities for me to experience physical activity

As a child, Karen Derbyshire embraced living an active lifestyle. However, after unexpectedly becoming very ill at the age of eleven, Karen was hospitalised for six months and was told she would never walk again. Yet after much perseverance and physical therapy, Karen was walking once more two years later.

Unfortunately, Karen recently experienced further health issues after tragically nearly dying a few years ago due to liver issues and as a result was never expected to have children.

Nevertheless, Karen overcame the unexpected and now lives in Leicester as a wife and mother to her three-year-old daughter. Karen and her daughter spend much of their time exercising together due to sharing a mutual passion for staying active, whether that be cycling to and from pre-school, swimming or running each day. With these activities helping her complete her first novice triathlon last year, Karen was made aware of Tri January, a British Triathlon led campaign which encourages individuals and groups to swim or row, bike and run throughout January. The campaign inspired Karen to involve herself once again with triathlon activities.

Karen is a keen advocate of goal-setting due to her unfortunate health issues in the past. With Tri January enabling participants to spread participation activity at their convenience across the month, this means Karen can complete the challenge whilst looking after her daughter. The campaign is a perfect match for her busy lifestyle and provides ongoing motivation for Karen: “The motivation is to keep pedalling when it’s -1 degrees and dark outside. The incredible campaign ambassadors who are there to inspire you, as well as the stickers, small goals, training programmes… and the promise to myself that I can do it!”

Karen joined Deborah James and Lauren Mahon’s ‘Team You, Me and the Big C’ after being encouraged by their podcasts and social media activity which partly focuses on empowering individual’s personal goals and showing the importance of family. These were features Karen was inspired by while highlighting how their triathlon goal setting is realistic for anyone: “Their goals are manageable and inspire me to achieve them with my daughter alongside our daily routines.”

Karen adds: “Tri January is making me feel much more positive by finding ways to integrate exercise into my daily routine. It’s not always possible to ‘just go to the gym’ – I now cycle home and run to pre-school to pick my daughter up. The cold weather has been tough going, but Tri January is a real motivation to say it is possible.

Having a desk job also makes me restless, so incorporating these elements into my daily routine gives me some much-needed ‘me-time’ to clear my head before and after work… and I always feel better for it – mentally and physically.”

Tri January has recently encouraged Karen to enter the Accenture World Triathlon Nottingham, strongly demonstrating how participating in the campaign can inspire people to sign up to a triathlon. Karen concludes the positive impact Tri January has had on her lifestyle and provided some motivation for anyone considering signing up to the campaign:

“It’s possible for ANYONE to complete! I’m not a triathlete, I’m not an athlete, swimmer, cyclist, or a runner. I just enjoy doing these activities and Tri January is the perfect way to give someone the ability to kickstart their 2019. The campaign provides you with the opportunity to set goals, no matter your ability!”

If you’re inspired by Karen’s story and want to share your story. Drop us an email at info@gotri.org and we'll be in touch.