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Fiona Carter sets marathon best a day after 112-mile cycle ride

All Areas > Sport > Duathlon

Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Tuesday, 26th November 2019, 09:00

Fiona Carter competing in Mallorca. Picture, Ingo Kutsche Fiona Carter competing in Mallorca. Picture, Ingo Kutsche

So how do you like to celebrate your birthday?

A meal out with friends perhaps, maybe a party at home or even a holiday abroad – they are just three of many possibilities and all are good fun.

Fiona Carter, who turned 50 at the end of October, went for option three – she spent a few days on the beautiful island of Mallorca – although it’s fair to say she didn’t just sit on a beach and sip cocktails during her time in the sun.

Far from it because Fiona, who is a very keen athlete, signed up to take part in an event called the Long Course Weekend Mallorca.

And if that sounds pretty tough it is because it’s an Ironman staged over three days.

“It’s an event that’s also held in Tenby, Holland and Australia,” said Fiona. “It’s a swim, bike, run. The swim is about 3,800 metres, the cycling was 112 miles and that was followed by a marathon on the final day.”

Fiona isn’t a swimmer – she’s a duathlete – so took part in the cycling and running in Alcudia, which is on the north east side of Mallorca, but that’s still pretty impressive, especially when you consider she had the option of going for a shorter distance in both disciplines.

She completed the cycling in five hours, 36 minutes and then did even better the next day when she set a personal best in the marathon, completing the 26.2 miles in three hours, three minutes.

“That was really special because I won the race,” said Fiona. “I’d never done that before on a road marathon, I’d never been the first person through the tape.

“I now know that the way to set a marathon personal best is to do a 112-mile bike ride the previous day!”

And Fiona, a Great Britain age group duathlete, reckons she can improve on that marathon time.

“My target for next year is to run a sub-three hours marathon,” she said. “I’d also like to wear an England age group marathon vest.”

Fiona has entered the Manchester and Berlin marathons next year and she added: “They’re both fast, flat courses.”

And such is her determination that you certainly wouldn’t bet against her achieving her goals in 2020.

But what makes Fiona’s story so interesting is that while she wants to do the very best she can at any given event, she is just as keen to see others realise their full potential as well.

In particular she wants younger athletes to make the most of any opportunities that come their way and if she can help in any way, she most certainly will.

Regular readers of The Local Answer will know that a few years ago Fiona set up CASS & Friends, a charity that provides financial support for aspiring athletes in Gloucestershire.

The charity is currently supporting 11 up and coming athletes – Fiona would like to get that number up to 15 – and its patron is Eddie Edwards, the former Olympic ski jumper who these days lives just outside Stroud.

Ask Fiona what she looks for when supporting an athlete and she says: “Attitude, grit, determination, a passion for sport. Youngsters who have spent considerable time developing a talent and who, if we don’t support them, won’t progress.”

Because of her own passion for sport, Fiona knows full well the many benefits that sport offers.

“It’s not just physical well-being, it’s mental well-being as well,” she said.

She’s absolutely right, of course, and as such she is looking to raise even more money in 2020 so that she can support even more athletes.

Pub suppers, auctions, raffles, quiz nights, cake sales, non-uniform school days and fundraising parties have all helped to swell the coffers so that others can thrive and next year Fiona is hoping to take it a step further by finding a corporate sponsor.

Fiona, a married mum of two teenagers who lives near Broadway, admits that she is lucky to have the time to devote to her charity.

It’s hard work, of course, but the rewards are obvious for the athletes.

And Fiona is keen to emphasise that sport is great fun, not just the competing side but also socially, as she very well knows.

“I had lots of friends with me when I was in Mallorca,” she said. “I flew out on the Friday which was my birthday and the cycling was on the Sunday and the marathon on the Monday.

“I didn’t have a drink until the Monday evening, the competition was good fun but so was having a couple of drinks afterwards!”

Anyone who would like more information about CASS & Friends should email fiona@cassandfriends.org or visit www.cassandfriends.org

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