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Transforming Health: Sara's Inspiring Journey

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To celebrate International Women's Day, we spoke to Sara Davies regarding her inspirational journey from battling with health issues to triathlon success.

As an experienced health professional with over thirty years in the field, Sara found herself questioning how she could have misunderstood the fundamentals of a healthy diet, despite extensive education and exposure to information on the topic. It was not through genetic links that she became clinically obese with a BMI of over 35, a medicated Type II diabetic, suffering with high blood pressure and painful joints to the point where she needed expensive medication and treatment. She wishes she’d been given the correct information to make an informed decision regarding her nutrition. 

Sara, once an active child and teenager, struggled with weight issues throughout adulthood, exacerbated after having three children. The onset of the Covid pandemic in October 2020 meant she was unable to work with patients due to a number of conditions that put her at risk. She was clinically obese with a BMI of 35, comorbidities of Type 2 diabetes, on injection treatment for many years, and high blood pressure treatment for 23 years. She also suffered with Rheumatoid pain in her joints. To improve her health, she followed a low carbohydrate high fat diet suitable for diabetics. And in eleven months, Sara lost six and a half stone and fully reversed all illness in a year. 

With her health improved, Sara embarked on a journey of physical activity, joining the Couch to 5k programme with her local club, Ferry Flatliners, in October 2021. Within a year, she accomplished the impressive feat of completing the London marathon, subsequently achieving a ballot place for the 2023 event and improving her time to 4 hours and 10 minutes. In January, she received entry to Ironman Barcelona 70.3 as a 50th birthday gift from her husband. Sara exclaimed:

There was only one problem (or maybe 3!!) I had never done a triathlon! I hadn't swum for over 30 years and I didn't own a bike! But that wasn't going to stop me.”

She tackled her first ever triathlon at Llanelli Sprint in May 2023. It was a steep learning curve. She wasn't prepared for the amount of people in the water, she got kicked and panicked a bit but she made it around.

Swansea Triathlon was next, the swim went better.

I was so excited running across the bridge getting my wetsuit half down. I got my helmet and shoes on, running out with my bike and the marshal was smiling and pointing at me. I still had my wetsuit on! Learning curve number 2!”

Cardiff was next in June, another great learning point. It was a surprise non wetsuit swim as the water temperature was above 24 degrees (in Cardiff!). Sara was terrified. A fellow competitor spoke to her to keep her calm and said “you can swim, just do breaststroke!” She got around and completed her third race.

Remarkably, in July, she competed in a GB age group qualifier sprint triathlon and qualified for GB age group team in her 4th ever triathlon. She will also be racing at the European Sprint Championship in Vichy in September this year. Sara completed Barcelona 70.3 alongside her husband/coach and they have both qualified for Coimbra in Portugal in June this year in the European Multisport Championships.

Sara is fully immersed in the life of triathlon now with her local club the Ferry Flatliners, based in Briton Ferry, Neath.

We are a very social, newly affiliated club. We are inclusive, providing every person who joins a supportive environment to learn and train.”

Sara is the Club's female Safeguarding Officer and she hopes her journey into the life of triathlon inspires and motivates others who are skirting the edges. Her hope is to encourage wider participation within the community and in particular to inspire other ladies into the sport to improve their health and wellbeing. Her advice would be to join a club, being around other people with the same interests and motivation will spur you on in order to progress.

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