Competitve Triathlete, Nikki Dorey and her partner Lisa Jacob are attempting to be the first female duo to Race Around Ireland
Nikki Dorey a pilot with Aer Lingus and competitive triathlete and her partner, Lisa Jacob a former Irish International Hockey player are attempting to be the first female duo to complete the gruelling ultra-distance 2,150km “Race Around Ireland”. The pair will alternate cycling 3 hours on and 3 hours off for 132 hours, or 5.5 days straight, starting on Sunday the 28th of August 2016.
Both girls are passionate about mental health, so they are also fundraising €100,000 for a mental health charity, Suicide or Survive through their participation in the event. SOS is a mental health charity, working to prevent and raise awareness around suicide and to develop programmes and methods to help people enhance their mental wellbeing.
Lisa is from Enniscorthy Co.Wexford, Ireland. She grew up there and went to school in Kilkenny College as a boarder. Sport was a big part of her life from early on, and while success came in many sports, hockey won out as the main sport towards the end of her school years. At 19 years old and in college in UCD studying Psychology, Lisa received a call up to the Irish squad, here she became a pillar of the team for over 10 years, gaining 139 caps for her country. Sporting success continued after her hockey career, with a call up to the Irish Rugby 7’s team where she was a contracted player for a year. She now coaches hockey in Genesis Hockey club in Dublin, is living with her girlfriend Nikki, and is working as an executive coach at The Performance Hub, delivering high performance workshops, motivational talks, and one-to-one coaching.
“I have always had 2016 as a milestone year in my mind. As an elite athlete I operated in Olympic cycles, and probably felt I had the energy to be competitive until 2016. In the last year my priorities changed, and qualifying for Rio was no longer what I really wanted. I wanted more time with the important people in my life, more focus on my career, and more control of my own schedule. Why the Race Around Ireland? It scared me, which meant I should probably do it. I guess mostly it’s a self-exploration. How will I react when things are hard? What will I learn about myself and others that will serve me well for the rest of my life? Where will this amazing journey take me? What difference can I make to people along the way? “
Nikki is from Southampton, England. She grew up there and went to school in Applemore College. Sport was also a big part of her life from early on, where she played for Southampton Football club from ages 8 to 18 and represented her county, Hampshire, for 3 years during this time. Her footballing career continued when she moved to Ireland where she played for Shamrock Rovers during the 2011/12 season. In 2012 she took up triathlon, representing Ireland in 2013 in the ITU World Championships in London and going on to race up to half Ironman distance. Career success during this time mirrored her sporting success, when after graduating from the University of Bath with a Degree in Sports Science, she trained as a pilot. She gained employment with FlyBe from 2008 to 2011. Her career went from strength to strength when, in 2011 she moved to Ireland to join Aer Lingus as a Senior First Officer, currently operating flights in their European network.
“I have wanted to complete a challenge in conjunction with fundraising for charity for a long time, but was adamant that I would choose a challenge that was slightly outside of the ordinary and was on that fine line between not completely unachievable, but where completion was by no means a given. I have no idea whether I will complete this or how I will respond and that scares me a little. All I do know is that it will hurt physically and it will test my mental strength massively. I fully expect to find myself in the depths of pain and despair, but I also fully expect to have some of the most amazing experiences doing this too. In a strange way, I’m looking forward to both, although I might regret saying that when August comes around!”
“As a pilot I am always prepared and that’s how I intend to go into this race. Unfortunately I am very aware that aspects of the race will bring about situations that I can’t prepare for or control, and it will be a significant challenge to see how my mind will be able to cope with this. The positive mental health strategies that our chosen charity, Suicide or Survive, teach will most definitely be put to good use over the 5.5 days of this event.”