FOR a time on Saturday, a young Lutterworth athlete was leading the world in the Olympic triathlon contest.
Lucy Hall eventually finished in 33rd position in the Hyde Park event while teammate Helen Jenkins finished in fifth – but the 20-year-old says it was an experience she will never forget.
Speaking to the Mail this week, a bubbly Lucy said Saturday’s race had been ‘incredible’.
She added: “I don’t think I’ll experience a triathlon like that again.
“Everything was amazing, especially the crowds along the route. They were very loud at times, but that helped spur me on a bit.
“It’s not something I’ll forget and afterwards I was a bit overwhelmed.
“I’m disappointed that Helen wasn’t able to win a medal – but she had been carrying a knee injury before the event.”
Lucy exited the swimming leg of the competition in first place and then led parts of the cycling leg. However, she dropped back in the run, her weakest discipline.
The former Lutterworth College student added that training with the country’s top triathletes in the run-up to the Olympics had been very valuable.
“We went down to Bridgend for ten days, where Helen Jenkins is based, and I learned a lot,” she said.
“It’s not only about the training, I also learned so much about nutrition, about how Helen recovers and even about other little things like sleeping and massage.”
Lucy is now able to take a few days to relax and she and the other Team GB triathletes are relaxing in the Olympic village.
“I like people-watching, so it’s great seeing the other athletes in the food courts and wondering what sports they do,” she said.
“Some of the other athletes are already preparing for an event in Stockholm, but the Team GB triathletes aren’t.
“I’ll be heading back to Loughborough in about a week and that’s when I’ll start training again properly.”
The next big event Lucy will take part in is the U-23 World Championships in New Zealand in October.
She said events like that one should hopefully give her more experience and preparation for the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Lucy had been a surprise inclusion in the triathlon squad as she was technically still a junior athlete. Her swimming strength was supposed to split the pack and give world champion Helen Jenkins a better chance of claiming gold.
Lucy exited the swim in first place and then stalled the group of seven leading cyclists to allow Helen to catch up – although Helen then faltered in the closing stages of the run.
Lucy’s mum Julie said she had been ‘immensely proud’ watching Lucy compete.
She added: “It was quite an emotional day. Lucy is enjoying herself in London and hopefully this will now be the springboard for Rio in four years’ time.”