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University Academic To Compete for Great Britain in Triathlon Championships

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A University of Worcester academic will be swimming, running and cycling for Great Britain at a major international triathlon event in Austria.

Liz Davies-Ward is preparing to challenge herself physically and mentally when she represents GB-Age Group for the first time at the 2016 Walshee ETU Challenge Middle Distance Triathlon European Championships.

She faces a 1.9km lake swim, a 90km cycle and a 21km run in the race, on Sunday September 4, but says she has taken inspiration from Great Britain’s Olympic triathletes.

“It’s really exciting,” said Liz, who is the Acting Head of the Institute of Science and the Environment and taught health and wellbeing.

“I can’t wait though I am a bit nervous.

“It’s fantastic to be representing my country and especially in an Olympic year.”

The mother-of-two, who is a member of Hereford Triathlon Club, is one of 34 British men and women selected in the 50-54 age group.

She qualified for the championships in August last year with a time of 5 hours 44 minutes at the Cotswold Classic Middle Distance Triathlon.

She will be taking on the challenge alongside men and women in age groups from 18 to 70-year-olds, as well as elite triathletes though she will only be competing against those in her age group.

Liz, who was a member of the Welsh under-18 Netball squad, has always been a keen cyclist.

The registered nurse took up triathlon four years ago and is a regular at the Hereford Wheelers Cycling Club’s 10-mile time trial competition, a series of weekly races between April and August.

This year she completed the Storm the Castle Duathlon, Upton Triathlon, the Velothon Wales 100-mile cycling challenge and the gruelling Titan Middle Distance Triathlon Brecon.

The 53-year-old, of Hereford, who trains around 13 hours a week, said: “I’d love to come in under six hours, that’s my plan.

“It probably will depend on the conditions and environment.

“My mind-set has shifted from wanting to complete the race to actually compete in the race.”

Liz was among the University staff who successfully completed the 85-mile Hadrian’s Wall Walk charity fundraiser last month.

She is a member of the Senior Management Team working on the University’s campaign to build an International Centre for Inclusive Sport, Physical Activity and Health.

The Centre will bring together the University’s work to educate the next generation of teachers, coaches, health and wellbeing practitioners and entrepreneurs and will provide training facilities for elite level and recreational activities in order to make sport and health truly inclusive regardless of age, ability or income.

Liz added: “Coming from an academic background it’s great to have some physical outlet.

“I hope I can inspire women of all ages to continue with sport because of the benefits to health and wellbeing.

“I hope I’m also a role model to my kids, showing that them that sport has no age boundaries.”