Ipswich teacher turned triathlete takes on epic tour of Britain completing 48 challenges – one in each county

Heather Guttery with her bike and medals. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Heather Guttery with her bike and medals. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

A 60-year-old Ipswich primary school teacher spurred on by the thrill of crossing the finish line has completed a triathlon in every county in Britain.

Heather Guttery has completed 48 triathlons. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Heather Guttery has completed 48 triathlons. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Rounding off a gruelling three-year personal challenge last Sunday, Heather Guttery – who still teaches PE at Broke Hall Primary School despite retiring a few years ago – has said she feels fitter than ever.

Nearly 50 triathlons on and thousands of kilometres later, Heather has become one of the first people in the UK to complete such a challenge.

Kicking off her challenge in 2014, the 60-year-old has pushed herself to physical and mental limits – setting herself a benchmark of a 10 kilometre run, a mile swim and a 20 kilometre cycle ride.

Speaking after triathlon number 48 in Surrey, Heather said: “I was inspired to do this because I was given 50 challenges to do for my 50th birthday – and one of them was a triathlon.

Heather Guttery with her bike and medals. Picture: SARAH LUC Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Heather Guttery with her bike and medals. Picture: SARAH LUC Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant


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“I really liked the thrill I got from completing them and that’s pushed me to do this mega challenge if you like.

“It keeps me fit and helps me to continue teaching pupils, even though I am supposed to have partly retired!

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“I love travelling and visiting new places so this was a challenge where I could see so many different towns and cities at the same time.”

Heather said returning home for her Suffolk challenge was among the highlights of her trip as she was able to take in views of the Ipswich Waterfront.

Heather Guttery with triathlon stars Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Heather Guttery with triathlon stars Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

She added: “When the time came to do my triathlon in Suffolk I got the cycle map and completed every route that was available and took part in the Great East Swim.

“It was great when it came to my run as I did it along the docks – it’s one of my favourite places to run because the Waterfront and the river are so beautiful.”

In counties where official triathlons were not being held, Heather got creative and invented her own challenges.

She also met some famous faces along the way – in 2016 she chatted with Olympic gold and silver-winning triathletes Alastair and Jonathon Brownlee in West Yorkshire about her challenge.

They had organised the triathlon there – and Heather admitted she was a little starstruck meeting them.

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