We are Delighted to welcome Vanessa Fursden (Johnston) to the 555, Its great to welcome back the ladies to the event and hopefully this will encourage others to take part or consider taking on the beast that is the 555, Vanessa spoke to us at length and is very much in favor in her thinking about getting Women into sport. Vanessa’s insta is @triathlonness – and she said to us “getting women into cycling is a huge issue, firstly just getting started and then encouraging women to move from thinking they could never be any good or go fast to having the confidence to do so is really difficult”
…… So here is some bio on Vanessa.
I’m From Fermanagh, right on the border with Monaghan but I live to the west of London at moment. I’ve always cycled since I was quite young but only properly started to get into road cycling about 5 years when I upgraded from my really heavy student mountain bike to my first road bike all thanks to a few friends that we started cycling with. A couple of years ago, on a cycling weekend over in Belgium a few of us decided to sign up for an Ironman 70.3 triathlon as we had never done one before (or any triathlon or big sports event of any kind!) and so after a lot of encouragement I joined my local triathlon club to start training. Over the last few years I’ve represented GB at the ITU & ETU World Championships for Long Distance Triathlons and after being pretty successful thanks to my cycling & running speed decided that I wanted to do some more unique events, starting with Aple D’Huez Triathlon (which turned out to be the hardest race I’ve ever done!)
In 2020, my husband & I were fortunate to be able to take 6 months off work to go travel and when we arrived back in Fermanagh in mid-March we were due to stay for a few weeks before heading back to England. With Covid and working from home, we stayed in Fermanagh over the summer and spent some time at the weekends when restrictions allowed, exploring more of Donegal. Although I had been in Donegal a million times before for surfing, night outs and everything else I didn’t appreciate how stunning it was until we climbed Errigal when it wasn’t raining and camped north of Carrickart. The first photo below is at Slieve League.
I was lucky that with being away I hadn’t signed up for any events last year in advance and heard about the 555 when it ran in August – I considered a last minute entry but was training for the NY Marathon so thought my cycling might not exactly be good enough! I have been considering what events to enter this year and I really love using events as a reason to travel to somewhere new so as that might not be likely this year I decided to enter something much closer to home but more importantly, a completely new and different challenge from Ironmans. I’ve been interested in more endurance racing for a while and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.
Outside of cycling, I studied Food Science and Nutrition and so I love all things food related from understanding nutrition for sport to cooking & eating all things cake & coffee related