Alumna and staff member realises duathlon dream

Fiona KestevenCongratulations to University of Sheffield alumna and staff member Fiona Kesteven who won gold at the Age Group ETU Duathlon European Championships in Kalkar, Germany, on Saturday 16 April.

Fiona (BA Archaeology and Prehistory 1997, MSc Sport and Recreation Management 2000) was competing for the Great Britain Age Group Team in the 40-44 age group Sprint Distance event, consisting of a 5km run, 20km bike, and a final 2.5km run. It is the first of two international championship events that Fiona has been selected for this spring, with the ETU Triathlon European Championships in Lisbon, Portugal, up next in May.

As well as being a Sheffield graduate, Fiona is Facilities and Operations Manager at Sport Sheffield, and combines her full-time job at the University with a busy training schedule and being the proud mum of two.

Fiona has been supported in her athletic endeavours by Everyday Juice Limited (EJL), providing her with funding to cover her kit, training, entry fees, flights, accommodation and bike carriage for both the ETU Duathlon and Triathlon European Championships. EJL is a subsidiary company of the University, which supports the University’s health and wellbeing programme for staff.

Having been committed to sport from a young age – with a background in gymnastics and then high board diving while studying at the University – owning Great Britain kit was something that had been out of reach for Fiona until now. She has also only been training for triathlon for two years and had no idea it would lead to this, making her achievements all the more impressive.

Fiona said:

“I'm absolutely thrilled to win a European gold medal in my first international championship! All the hours of training, pushing my body to its limits and running and cycling in all weathers has been worth it. I can barely believe it and couldn't be happier!”

“I spent four very happy years as a student at the University studying for both my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees and now work to shape the provision of sport to our current students. I am absolutely delighted to be sponsored by EJL – to have their support really means a huge amount to me.

“I am a determined and motivated person and throw everything into achieving my goals. I really hope to inspire others that even with a very hectic life there is always time for sport.”

Miles Stevenson, Director of Alumni & Donor Relations for the University of Sheffield, said:

“Congratulations to Fiona on being selected to represent Great Britain and for her fine victory in Germany. We’re very proud of her achievements and I wish her the very best of luck as she heads to Portugal for her next challenge!”

Andrew Dodman, Director of Human Resources for the University of Sheffield, said:

“The University is very much committed to developing an environment where all staff can flourish and are supported to succeed, so it’s fantastic to see Fiona’s hard work rewarded with a gold medal and the opportunity to compete for her country not once but twice in the space of a few weeks.

“Fiona is a true inspiration to all alumni, staff and students looking to combine work or studies and other commitments with a healthy, active lifestyle.”

Gary Butterfield, Juice Co-Founder and Executive Director of EJL, said:

“We are incredibly proud of Fiona and delighted to be able to support her in her pursuit of the extraordinary. Her outstanding commitment to such a busy training schedule, alongside being a mum of two and practising what she preaches by working full-time to improve the provision of sport at the University is an inspiration to us all.

“EJL aims to create remarkable places to work, and Fiona’s achievements show just what can be achieved through a healthy approach to life and work.”

Follow Fiona’s progress on Twitter: @f_kesteven

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