A top triathlete is heading towards some of the most gruelling challenges of her career – at an age when other athletes would be preparing to call it a day.
Mansfield-born Laura Siddall is currently in Boulder, Colorado, working towards the World Championships in Hawaii in October.
And the continued success of the athlete – who has a number of amateur world titles under her belt – is testament to her dedication and commitment.
“I am at an age when a lot of sports people are preparing to retire or who have already done so,” said 41-year-old Laura.
“But I’m certainly not at that stage and I’m looking forward to continuing for as long as I can, I still feeling I am and can improve. I’ve always been passionate about sports and “don’t die wondering” is the mantra I live by.”
One of four girls, for Laura a career in sport was never really an option growing up as at the time it was seen as something that could only be a hobby, so she left school, spent a gap year in the British Army and went on to study to be an engineer.
She started a job with Shell and took part in their Global Opportunities Programme which gave her the opportunity to work in Australia for two years, deciding to stay in Sydney at the end of that time.
“I was 29 when I started getting involved in triathlons,” she said.
“I joined work friends on a charity bike ride, buying a bike the week before the event. It was great fun and after that, my friends suggested I should try triathlon.
“I started off with very little knowledge but I signed up for a beginner course and that was it, I became hooked.”
Laura spent the next four years as an amateur, gaining world titles and rapidly moving up through the ranks.
“I realised that it was now or never and wanted to see how good I could be if I fully committed to sport. It was the “don’t die wondering” moment and not wanting to look back in ten or twenty years and say “what if”?
“So I resigned from my job, sold everything I owned and moved to the USA, to work with a top coach.”
Laura’s star has continued to rise and she is a strong advocate of women’s sport, one of 35 people selected to be part of the Women’s Sport Trust’s Unlocked 2022 programme to help raise the visibility of women in sport.
She is also an Athlete Board member of the Professional Triathletes Organisation, on the Anti-Doping Commmittee and a British Inspiration Trust Ambassador.
She divides her time between Girona, Spain, Christchurch New Zealand and Boulder, USA, and is also passionate about sustainability, involving herself in a project where running shoes and kit are recycled. She is also a member of the British Triathlon Sustainability Commission.
“I am very lucky to be able to do the thing I love the most every day,” she said.
“It’s very important that we follow our dreams and see what we can we achieve, regardless of age, and Don’t Die Wondering.”