Meet the Advocate: Fiona O'Donnell

Last week, we announced the women who are this year's 'Beyond the Finish Line' Advocates and we have been introducing you to each advocate, in their own words, over the last ten days.

Meet our eighth advocate, Fiona O'Donnell from West Cork Triathlon Club. Fiona has an inspiring story to tell, and we are excited to follow her journey as she takes on her first IRONMAN this October!

NAME: Fiona O'Donnell
TRIATHLON CLUB: West Cork Triathlon Club
AGE GROUP: 35-39 

Fiona O'Donnell - Social Graphic

Swim, Bike or Run? Swim
Swim in Open Water or Pool? Open water
Favourite post-training snack? Tuna and sweetcorn sandwich or chocolate protein oats.
Trail Run or Road Run? Trail.
Sprint, Standard, Middle or Long Distance Triathlon? Sprint - but this year I'm going long.
Coffee or Cake? Coffee
Favourite motivational song? Thunder struck- AC/DC (goosebumps)
One piece of advice for women starting their triathlon journey? Back yourself - Be consistent - Have fun. 

I am a mum of 3 and I work for myself as a performance nutritionist. I was diagnosed with kidney disease in 2009 and subsequently had a transplant thanks to my friend and fellow triathlete Grainne O'Keeffe who donated a kidney to me. 

HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE SPORT OF TRIATHLON?

"We moved to West Cork in 2006 and our lives changed. We met and struck up friendships with other triathletes and went from running marathons to adding in cycling. I didnt learn to swim until 2015 because I was afraid of the water. That all changed when my friend and swimming coach, Grainne Caulfield started teaching me swim technique and slowly desensitized me."

Fiona O'Donnell - West Cork Tri

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

"The support from other athletes in the club has been amazing. Even as a beginner, experienced athletes offered support and time to teach me and offer support on group rides and swims. The club has also organised training and social events that really made me feel like I was part of a community."

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT TRIATHLON?

"Oh I have so many favourites. I love open water swimming in a way I never thought I could. But the best thing has to be the friends I've made and the sense of community."

Fiona O'Donnell_Schull2018

PLANS FOR THE 2020 SEASON?

"This year, I've gone big. I'm starting with a week away cycling in Mallorca and following that with two sprint triathlons. I will increase my training gradually until Ironman Barcelona  - my A race, in October."

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO MOST ABOUT BEING A ‘Beyond the Finish Line’ TRIATHLON ADVOCATE?

"Creating community. Without having friends outside of the club, I don’t think I would have joined - just fear of the unknown stopping me. I am looking forward to creating a supported environment for women - because when women support each other, great things happen."

Beyond the Finish Line_Twitter

Now that we have introduced you to all eight advocates, we can't wait to follow their stories throughout the year! We will be catching up with our advocates regularly, so check back for updates!

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