Meet the Advocate: Amy O'Keeffe

Last week, we announced the women who are this year's 'Beyond the Finish Line' Advocates. This week we are introducing you to each advocate, in their own words.

Today we are introducing Cork Triathlon Club's Amy O'Keeffe, a regular on BMW Triathlon National Series podiums around the country.

NAME: Amy O’Keeffe
TRIATHLON CLUB: Cork Triathlon Club
AGE GROUP: 25-29

Amy O'Keeffe - Social Graphic

Swim, Bike or Run? Swim always, unless its the Lost Sheep Bike route on a sunny day!
Swim in Open Water or Pool? Open water
Favourite post-training snack? Dried Mango
Trail Run or Road Run? Trail Run
Sprint, Standard, Middle or Long Distance Triathlon? Sprint
Coffee of Cake? Coffee
Favourite motivational song? Imagine Dragons - Whatever it Takes
One piece of advice for women starting their triathlon journey? Give it a go! Those disc wheels and teardrop helmets are not as scary as you think!! You got this.

I am a Chemical Engineer working in Pfizer in Cork, but originally from Meath. I spend my time juggling work and training however I think it's so important to understand how both, my training and work, can interact and support each other.  When I'm not training, I am very passionate about the work that I do, both working in Pfizer as well as being involved in any way that I can to promote women in STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology and Maths). Female representation in STEM is extremely important to me. When I first learnt of the values of the 20x20 campaign for females in sport, it really resonated with me; both in sport and in STEM, if she can’t see it, she can't be it. 

Amy O'Keeffe - Swim Exit

 

HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE SPORT OF TRIATHLON?

"To Be honest, I was introduced to triathlon through my Dad. I grew up watching him train for marathons and I remember watching him race DCT (back when it was a cross country run in the phoenix park!!). I was in awe of it ( I thought it was crazy!). Over the last few years he has graduated to Ironmans so I feel I have always been aware of Triathlon. I began to run more during my leaving cert year, where I was lucky to have great facilities in school however triathlon became more prominent for me when I was in college. I began to swim a little more, thanks to the fantastic facilities in UCD, and I always loved being in the water. I was never a good swimmer or runner. I would try to get out for a 5km run or do a couple of 100s in UCD between engineering lectures when I could, but not enough to say “I trained”.  Slowly but surely I plucked up the courage to do a local triathlon however I'm pretty sure I got lost on the swim! I completed a few local races during college, just really enjoying the atmosphere but I had no clue how to train. My bike training consisted of cycling to college with my laptop on my back! I eventually mustered up the courage to join Piranha Triathlon club and then that was it. I was hooked."

IN WHAT WAY DOES BEING A PART OF A CLUB HELP YOUR TRAINING?

"Can I say every way?! I have been lucky to be a member of 2 clubs so far. Both of which have had a huge impact on my training and confidence on and off the course. Piranha Triathlon Club introduced me to the concept of training for Triathlon as a Sport rather than 3 individual sports. They introduced me to the idea of training to enjoy racing and how triathlon really is a team sport. The overwhelming support that I got, and still get, through the cheering and smiles of encouragement have such a positive impact. When I moved to Cork for work 3 years ago,  I joined Cork Triathlon Club within a few weeks of moving down. They introduced me to Middle/Long Distance triathlon and how Triathlon really is a sport for life. That year, I signed up to a race called ‘The Lost Sheep’. I had only heard of it through my Dad, as being one of the best races on the Triathlon Ireland Calendar, however everyone in Cork was talking about it and….it was a middle distance race. Something I had only dreamed about completing. That first year, I not only completed 2 middle distance triathlons, but I also gained the confidence that I could achieve more than what I thought I was capable of which I couldn't have done without CTC."

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT TRIATHLON?

"The people. It is fantastic to be introduced to so many different people from such diverse backgrounds. There is also nothing like the support you get from club mates and other Triathletes.Wind, Hail or Shine, there's always a crowd and there's always other competitors encouraging you on or pushing you a little too hard on the ‘easy’ Sunday cycles!"

Amy O'Keeffe - Bike

PLANS FOR THE 2020 SEASON? 

"I've been lucky to join the training group HupHup and I plan on racing the BMW Triathlon National Series again this year. I’ve been so lucky to place in the top 3 the last 3 consecutive years in the national series. I love travelling to so many different areas and getting the opportunity to race in such beautiful regions of the country. I'm really looking forward to racing at home this year as well at the King of the Hill Triathlon, which is a fantastic race for beginners as the swim is sheltered and the run is on quiet roads. I also hope to race for the first time in Europe this year which will be very exciting as I have never raced outside of Ireland before!"

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO MOST ABOUT BEING A 'beyond the finish line' TRIATHLON ADVOCATE?

"Being an Advocate means so much to me. I really hope to demonstrate how accessible triathlon is and how it easily fits into our day-to-day lives. It is also a sport that has something for everyone.. From Beginner to Elite, there will always be something that excites you about this sport. As part of being an advocate, I also look forward to sharing my story in the hope that even 1 person might gain the confidence to enter that triathlon race they have always dreamed of, or thought they could never do. When I first began triathlon, I looked up to athletes like Chrissie Wellington who played such a huge role for me as a Female in Triathlon, helping me believe I could even toe the start line. Closer to home, athletes like Aileen Reid and Carolyn Hayes also played a huge positive role in my pursuit of triathlon by  representing Irish females at such a high level in the sport. Being an advocate to me means, that even if 1 person or 1 little girl sees me and thinks, ‘maybe I can do that someday’, or ‘I will do that someday’, then let's all help her get there."

Beyond the Finish Line_Twitter

Keep an eye on our website as we introduce you to our final 'Beyond the Finish Line' Advocates over the next two days.

If you would like to take the challenge and become a triathlete, read our beginner's guide to triathlon!