Meet the Advocate: Máire-Tríona Keane Last week, we announced the women who are this year's 'Beyond the Finish Line' Advocates. Over the coming days we will be introducing you to each advocate, in their own words. First up is Máire-Tríona Keane from Tullamore Triathlon Club! Máire-Tríona KeaneTRIATHLON CLUB: Tullamore Triathlon ClubAGE GROUP: 40-44Swim, Bike or Run? RunSwim in Open Water or Pool? PoolFavourite post-training snack? Mooju Chocolate Milk & a bananaTrail Run or Road Run? TrailSprint, Standard, Middle or Long Distance Triathlon? Middle distanceCoffee or Cake? CoffeeFavourite motivational song? Go - Chemical Brothers"I'm a mum of two boys, Finn (3) & Ainle (18 months). I'm currently on parental leave from my job as a teacher of Irish & French. Before I became a mum, I spent almost every spare minute of the previous few years training & racing triathlon. I made fantastic friends, travelled around Ireland & sometimes abroad on weekends & holidays to race & loved it. As a relative non-swimmer, I was lucky enough to qualify for & race the Duathlon Age Group World Championships in Nancy 2012 when I was still very much a novice. The tri club coach thought I was crazy heading over with my road bike (I had no tri bike at the time). I placed 4th in my age group & it cemented my opinion that you really don't need all the fancy gear. Trying hard to get the best out of yourself & your training (& recovery!) is more important. I've progressed from try-a-tri to Sprint, Olympic & Middle distance over the past 10 years as I've gotten braver in the water. I still get nervous swimming in open water & have panicked several times but always manage to calm myself down & continue. I was extremely lucky to have had no complications & to have been able to continue exercising quite alot during both my pregnancies. I feel that my training & fitness pre-pregnancy contributed to being able to be so active throughout. These days, training is often confined to early in the morning & late in the evening, when the boys are in bed. I use ever spare minute I have to fit it in. I hope that by continuing to train & by being strong, fit & healthy, I show a good example to my children."HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE SPORT OF TRIATHLON? "I started running & doing a bit of cycling to keep fit during my 20's. When I read about a local triathlete, Mary Daly, who had taken part in the ITU Age group World Championships in Lausanne (2006), I was in awe & thought I'd love to give triathlon a try some day. I was a very weak swimmer, only able to swim one length of a 25m pool before taking a break, so I started heading to the pool myself, building up the number of lengths I could do until I felt ready to tackle the Try-a-tri in Athlone. I loved it, joined the Midland Tri club based in Mullingar (our local club as there was none in Tullamore at the time) & started doing club swim sessions to try & improve my weakest discipline. I started running with my local running club, Tullamore Harriers, & got to know Mary, who had been my original inspiration to do triathlon & continues to be an inspiration, great friend & support in both life & triathlon all these years later!"IN WHAT WAY DOES BEING A PART OF A CLUB HELP YOUR TRAINING?"I've been a member of 3 different tri clubs over the past 10 years due to moving several times- Midlands Tri Club based in Mullingar, T3 in Dublin & now Tullamore Tri Club. I've found being a member of each of these clubs hugely beneficial to me when integrating into a new area. As regards training, having the support of others, whether as a beginner in the sport or as a more experienced athlete is invaluable. I love the feeling of community, the advice, the motivation, the company during training sessions whether club scheduled weekly sessions or impromptu sessions organised by members."WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT TRIATHLON?"I have come in contact with & become friends with people from so many diverse backgrounds, age groups & places, with whom I would never have come in contact if it were not for triathlon. I have always found this community welcoming, encouraging & genuinely supportive. I lived in Cork for a short while a few years ago & although I was a member of T3 tri club in Dublin at the time, Cork tri club were so welcoming & friendly, inviting me to join club sessions & attend club events. This is typical, in my experience, not just of the lovely members of Cork tri, but others all over the country."PLANS FOR THE 2020 SEASON?"Plans have to be flexible these days as, with little children, I never really know what's going to happen from one day to the next but I'm planning to race at least one duathlon, hopefully the BMW Duathlon National Series. In early May, we're heading to Mallorca & incorporating Ironman 70.3 Mallorca into our family holiday. I'm hoping to race the BMW Triathlon National Series & finally the Duathlon Age Group World Championships in Almere-Amsterdam in September.WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO MOST ABOUT BEING A 'beyond the finish line' ADVOCATE?"The opportunity to share the benefits triathlon provides me & to encourage other women, mums in particular, to take time for themselves to get fit, to keep fit, to train, to consider challenging themselves to triathlon, duathlon or both! There's an opportunity & challenge to cater for all abilities - from taking part in a relay to long distance events. Absolutely anyone & everyone can give it a try no matter what stage in life. My life has changed hugely over the past 4 years, becoming a mother, but triathlon plays as important a role now as before. It allows me space for myself, to feel like myself, to be myself. I look forward to encouraging others to find that space for themselves within triathlon too."Keep an eye on our website and social channels as we introduce you to another 'Beyond the Finish Line' Advocate tomorrow!