Elizabeth McTernan

Elizabeth (Liz) McTernan is a Para-Triathlete from Louth.

Most memorable achievement:

Completing my first triathlon after less than four months’ training on a hand bike and a race chain. It was hard work but I loved it and was completely hooked.


October Blog:

Hamburg World Championship Series Paratriathlon 21st July, Gold in TRI1 female in a new PB of 01:34:19.

Birkenhead Para-cycling National Road Race Championships-22nd July, a disappointing race, as being the only female competitor and sole representative in my category, FH3, I was not able to claim the title, despite ‘chicking’ three men…but it was a chance to improve my racing skills and have fun in a closed road circuit.

Lobbach, Germany, European Hand cycling Circuit (EHC) 4th August- the last Road Race for Hand cyclists in Europe for the summer and a tough race with two young German female competitors who pushed me to do better! It was also a brilliant opportunity to practise drafting skills. I was thrilled to win first place and be second overall female in FH3 in Europe this summer, with prize money for both achievements!

Manchester Para-cycling National Series Road Race, 18th August, again, due to being the only female hand cyclist, I raced with the H2 men on a tight and technical course. I am placed 9th /20 in the Series for Handbikes, Trikes and Tandems in the UK for 2012.

Paralympics Gamesmaker Volunteer at the Copper Box, 29th August-6th September. A fantastic opportunity to experience the Games both as a volunteer and a spectator and be a part of history.

Great North Run, 16th September, I was invited to do this race at short notice as all of the elite female wheelchair athletes had dropped out. It was my first attempt at a half marathon and I used a borrowed kneeling race chair. I passed Tanni Grey Thompson at a drink station, which spurred me on to complete in a time of 01:28:21, coming in as second female.

Robin Hood half marathon, 30th September, another go at the distance as a benchmark for next year, as I want to compete in the half Iron Man distance in Triathlon next summer. First female in a time of 01:30:32.

Auckland ITU  Aquathlon World Championships, 17th October. Having been selected for a funded place by British Triathlon for the Worlds, it seemed only sensible to enter this competition also, which consists of a 1500m swim, followed by a 5km run using a racing chair. Currently the water is 15 degrees…

2012 Barfoot and Thompson World Triathlon Grand final Auckland, 22nd October, is the highlight of the paratriathlon year. This competition is the most competitive field ever, as we build to inclusion in the Paralympic Games in Rio 2016. I am hopeful of a Podium finish and PB’s in all three disciplines after an eventful but tiring competition season.

LEAP Media Course, 17th July, was extremely informative and useful and a student wanting to make a film about Disability sports provision in Lincolnshire has since contacted me.

On 22nd August I was privileged to meet and spend time with the Paralympic Egyptian power lifting team, who were training in Lincolnshire.

After giving a short talk to local sports clubs as a representative of LEAP, Tealby Tennis Club said they would put on a fundraiser for me later in the year. The Tealby Ladies Tennis Day on 21st September was very enjoyable and I gave a talk to the Ladies about my sporting life and paratriathlon. They very kindly raised £526.00, which will enable me to compete in the Europeans in Alana, Turkey in June 2013.

August Blog:

Woodhall Spa 10k First female and a PB of nearly seven minutes.

British Gas Great North 1 mile Swim- 598th /2009 swimmers. A tough swim in choppy conditions, but pleased with my result.

EHC Hand cycle individual TT and Road Race in Louny, Czech Republic-First place in both races, ranked no. 1 in Europe for my category, WH3.

Stafford GP with British Cycling-Third place overall.

New York City Accenture Paratriathlon-Third overall female and won $500 prize money! This is the first time prize money has been given to Paratriathletes using a ‘par’ system according to course record.

Ullswater 2.4 mile Open Water swim-new Pb and good practice for my ambition to complete an Iron Man distance triathlon.

World Championship Series Hamburg Sprint Paratriathlon on July 21st.

EHC Hand cycle Road Race, Lobbach, Germany, 4th August

Selected for Team GB for both the World Aqauthon and World Paratriathlon Championships in New Zealand in October. I’m looking forward to a solid few months of training after a very hectic competition schedule over the past four months, consolidating what I have learnt from competing in all three disciplines.

I gave a talk and showed pupils my adaptive equipment at Greenwich School in Louth in June and will be returning to tell them about my Gamesmaker volunteer experience at the Paralympic Games in September.

I attended the Lincolnshire School Games and helped Job King from England Athletics introduce a youngster to wheelchair racing. I even got roped into the 100m race-I came second J

March Blog:

Winter training has been going really well this year, building up the miles in the swim, bike and run in preparation for the British Paratriathlon National Championships in May and my first Olympic distance race in July.

I was fortunate to be invited by Karen Darke, who is a Paralympic hopeful, to a two week training camp in Mallorca, with the Paralympic hand cycling coach. This was a great opportunity to ask lots of questions and train in the sunshine. We even swam in the sea, which was very chilly but beautifully clear.

On my return, I attended my Gamesmaker Orientation training for my volunteer role at the Paralympics. Next week I am off to Hackney for my Event Services Team Leader role training.

I collected my brand new manual wheelchair a couple of weeks ago, thanks to a grant from a charity, The Act Foundation, to top up my NHS voucher. I am now working on my wheelchair skills as the fourth discipline in Triathlon is actually transition, where you exit the water and change from one piece of adaptive equipment to another as quickly as possible. The time taken is included in your overall competition time. 

I’ve had an opportunity to try shooting at Lincolnshire Shooting Centre and achieved nine bulls-eyes in thirty rounds, so am now thinking of taking up another sport when I retire from paratriathlon!

I’ve introduced a young man with Cerebral Palsy to wheelchair racing recently and he has borrowed the Cleethorpes Athletics Club race chair for a wheelchair racing track meet in Grantham we will both be competing in. He will probably beat me…

I am taking part in the Lincoln 10k on Sunday 25th March as part of my preparations for my Olympic distance triathlon in June. I’m aiming for a negative split and a reasonable time as this will be my first attempt at longer distance. I’ve attended a Talent Introduction Day at Loughborough University run by England Athletics and group sessions at University of Warwick Wheelchair Racing to improve my pushing technique and do some speed reps. Most of my training time is out on the roads around Grimoldby though, surprising horse riders, meeting tractors and having the odd problem with motorists.

Para-cycling Circuit Race, Salt Ayre, Lancaster, 31st March, where I compete in the FH3 category. I’m hoping for a bench mark time to see where my training needs improvement and to place in the top three overall in the series.

On April 6th I am competing at the British International Disability Swimming Championships at Ponds Forge, Sheffield, which is the final selection trials for the Paralympics. My events are 50m Freestyle and 100m Backstroke. After joining Louth Masters at Dolphin Swimming Club last August, my swimming has really improved under expert guidance, so I hope to achieve some new PB’s.

Para-cycling Time Trial, 8th April, Haverhill, Suffolk

CP Sport Grand Prix Athletics Series, Grantham-100/200/400m. All the track events are to get benchmark times and hopefully see improvements.

BWAA Champs, 21st April, Stoke Mandeville-100/400/800m

BWRA Champs, 6th May, Stoke Mandeville-100/400/800m

Silverstone 10k, 9th May

Para-cycling Circuit Race, Darley Moor, Derbyshire, 12th May

Para-Cycling Circuit Race, Eastbourne, 20th May

British Paratriathlon National Championships, 26th May. This is one of my ‘A’ races for the year and a selection event for the Worlds in New Zealand in October. I hope to win gold and gain a funded place for NZ.

European Hand Cycling (EHC), Knutwii road race/Schenken TT, 1-3rd June. These will be my first opportunity to race against the best in Europe, many of them competing at the Paralympics this year.

BWAA Grand Prix, 9th June, Stoke Mandeville-200/400/800m

World Road Cup, Sergovia, Spain, 15-17th June. My first cycling International.

New York City Paratriathlon, 8th July, Olympic distance

I was asked to be a keynote speaker at North Lincolnshire Club Support evening in February and talked about some of my athletic achievements so far in pratriathlon as well as explaining what the sport entails. I was approached by two potential sponsors at the evening and have so far received £500 in sponsorship from Eliot Cooper at Sunnydecks Ltd, based in Skegness. This is a huge financial boost as my competition schedule is very busy and competing in triathlon is very expensive as I get no funding from my National Federation.

I attended a photoshoot in Spalding for new marketing material for the Inclusive Fitness Initiative run by English Federation of Disability Sport and had a very enjoyable session. I also got a copy of all the photos for use on a new website I am developing in order to gain more sponsorship.

The networking and opportunities available to me through LEAP have enabled me to be put in contact with a Sports Psychologist at Lincoln University  who will be helping me with race strategies and ways to improve performance. I’m also going an individual goal setting session with Bryan Steel, Olympian. The benefits will be huge, especially since I do not have a coach for triathlon.

I spent a very enjoyable day this week listening to Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson talk to Lincolnshire school children about her sporting career and challenges and then a talk to Businesses in East Lindsey about the impact of the Games this year. I have been fortunate to have been coached by both her and her husband Ian last year and she has invited me up to stay and attend some squad training sessions.

It seems to be my month for meeting sporting celebrities as I met and talked to Kate Haywood, a former Louth Dolphins member selected for the Olympics this year, when she visited the Club to do a workshop on Breaststroke skills. She was absolutely lovely, willing to pass on her wealth of knowledge and experience to all the youngsters-and me!