Suffolk college lecturer hoping for medal ahead of European championships

Suffolk New College lecturer Lara Thomas will represent Team GB at an international event this year

Suffolk New College lecturer Lara Thomas will represent Team GB at an international event this year - Credit: Lara Thomas

A Suffolk New College lecturer has medals on her mind after being selected to represent Team GB at the Triathlon European Championships.

Lara Thomas, 29, has reignited her childhood ambitions of representing her country on the international stage after spending much of her youth as one of Britain's best up-and-coming runners.

The Ipswich local had competed against the likes of Eilish McColgan and Lynsey Sharp as a youngster, before a knee injury stopped her from completing a scholarship at an American university.

Lara Thomas with her dog Monty

Lara Thomas with her dog Monty - Credit: Lara Thomas

Thanks to a triathlon last year, Miss Thomas' sporting prowess has again brought her national attention though – and she will put on her Team GB kit at the championships in Dolomiti Paganella, Italy, this September.

Miss Thomas said: "I am new to the sport and I want to do the best that I can.

"I believe I can do extremely well, but I need to be realistic as this is my first full season. It is certainly an honour to be chosen to represent my country.

"Long term, to medal for my country would be amazing – it is a big dream.”

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Miss Thomas has been training twice a day – around 15 hours a week – in preparation for the event, which begins on September 25.

Lara Thomas practicing ahead of the Triathlon European Championships in Italy this year 

Lara Thomas practicing ahead of the Triathlon European Championships in Italy this year - Credit: Lara Thomas

As part of the race, Miss Thomas will compete against some of Europe's finest in the 30 to 34 category in a 1400m swim, a 40km bike ride and a 10km run.

However Miss Thomas said there will be more to come from her following the event, as she looks to compete in the World Iron Man competition in Hawaii next October.

Lee Mandley, head of health and social care at Suffolk New College, said: “The college has a history of staff who have performed at the top level of sport.

"Former Ipswich Town star, Jason Dozzell, has been supporting the college football academy and one of our apprenticeship assessors (Andrea Thompson) won the World’s Strongest Woman.

"Now Lara is set to compete for her country later in the year. We will be following her journey with interest and we are all very proud of her.”

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