Pro triathlete Emma-Kate Lidbury might finish alone, but it takes a big team to get her to the start line
When I was at school, I loved team sports – netball, volleyball, basketball. You name it, I played it. Team sports were fun, sociable and engaging. But for someone like me – who is competitive and has a fierce will to win – I would sometimes find their dynamics frustrating.
Individual sports soon became more appealing: you, and you alone, are responsible for the outcome. It’s perhaps no surprise the focus of my childhood sporting life was competitive swimming, an intensely individual pursuit.
I spent much of my formative years ploughing up and down swimming pools, obeying my swim coaches and quite inadvertently building an engine and a skill set that would later prove highly useful as a professional triathlete.
The irony is, however, that now in my life as a pro triathlete (in what appears to be a ruthlessly individual sport) the reverse is actually true. There might be an ‘I’ in triathlon, but I have fast learned it’s a small one. I may be the one who savours the finish chute glory when she wins, but I simply could not reach that place without the network of support I have around me.
Over the past couple of seasons, I have been fortunate to build a strong team who all share in my goals. These people believe in me, see my potential and are on the journey with me as I strive to be the best I can be.
My triathlon coach, Matt Dixon, and my swim coach, Gerry Rodrigues, are the two most obvious sources of guidance and inspiration, but so too are the many family and friends who continue to support, love and help me through the highs and lows of pro racing.
The expertise of Matt and Gerry is well supplemented by plenty of others, including my sports psychologist, nutritionist, masseuse, sports doctor, strength and conditioning coach and chiropractor. Their wealth of knowledge and support in their respective fields is vast.
Just as important are my sponsors – who help finance me – and enable me to lead this life and follow my dreams. Last year I teamed up with my title sponsor Anthem Media Group, which launched an employee wellness programme, in which I’m involved, to help improve the health and wellness of the workforce. I’m hugely excited to have signed two more significant sponsorship deals this year too.
Felt Bicycles need no introduction, but having the support of Jim Felt and his dedicated team is a ringing endorsement of my biking and I know their meticulous attention to detail, help and, of course, phenomenal bikes will empower my riding and racing. I am only too proud to represent them.
The second, Osmo Nutrition, has also already enhanced my training. The brainchild of leading exercise physiologist and nutritionist Dr Stacy Sims, Osmo is the only hydration brand to develop gender-specific products. Learning how women’s nutritional needs are so different to men’s has been a real eye-opener.
Two UK businesses – Morris Owen Chartered Accountants and telecoms firm Virtua – have been loyal supporters of my triathlon career since my age-group days. There is no doubt their continued support has enabled me to step up to become a world class triathlete.
I feel blessed, inspired and privileged to have this team around me. Everyone, in their own way, serves to enhance everything I am working towards in the short and long term. Together we are greater than the sum of our parts and together, I have every confidence we will all achieve our goals.