At just 16 years old, Blackburn triathlete Blythe Fourie is already well on track to achieve her dream of representing Great Britain at the 2024 Olympic Games. She’s been competing in triathlons for less than three years, but with the help of our sponsorship she recently travelled to Mexico to race in the ITU Age Group World Triathlon Championships in Cozumel.
The age group races took place before the elite athletes took to the course and where Jonny Brownlee had to be carried across the line by his brother Alistair as a result of dehydration and exhaustion, largely due to the searing Mexican heat and intense humidity. The result of their race has been well documented on the news – following their success at the Rio Olympics – with videos of Alistair stopping to help Jonny and then literally carry him the remaining distance to the finish line shared thousands of times across social media.
Despite highly experienced athletes like the Brownlee brothers succumbing to these challenging conditions – with temperatures consistently around 30C – Blythe was able to cross the finish line in a very creditable fifth position.
The result is even more impressive given that the four competitors who finished ahead of her – Abril Sandoval Bernal, Ivanna Cervantes Richards, Lizeth Lopez and Ana Celia Regalado – were all local triathletes who regularly train in the challenging conditions.
Although Blythe had hoped to win the race, her achievement of beating all other international competitors is still an outstanding one. She was only a minute behind the winner, even though this was her first time racing in such intense, unforgiving weather.
As Blythe explains, she has taken a lot of valuable experience from this triathlon. “I found the race very hard, but rewarding. The swim was in amazingly clear blue seawater, but the competition was tough and the other girls were quite rough. Once I was on the bike I got in a good group so had a great ride. The run was extremely hard due to the heat but I still gave it my all.
“The conditions were a huge challenge; I wasn’t affected by the heat until the run – it was so humid and hot. I just couldn’t run as quickly as I’d hoped and by the end I was feeling quite ill! I was fifth and there were four Mexican girls ahead of me who didn’t seem at all affected by the heat. As the sea was warm, the swim was also just in a tri-suit (rather than a wetsuit, which we normally use in this country and Europe), which made it a lot harder for me as I found my tri-suit created quite a lot of drag.
“The run was definitely the hardest discipline. The heat really affected me so I just had to go at a sustainable pace and hope it wasn’t too slow and that everyone else was affected too. The swim was tough but nice, due to the clear blue waters and colourful fish everywhere. I loved the bike discipline as the group I was in worked well and we went very fast!
“The experience has helped me learn how to deal with racing in a hot climate. I now have the confidence so if I am in that position again I can handle it.”
Canopies UK is delighted to be able to sponsor Blythe in her sporting ambitions and help her with the costs of travelling to international competitions like this one in Cozumel. We’re also able to support her with the fees and kit required to train hard and become one of the best in the world. We couldn’t be prouder of her efforts.
Blythe is fast becoming a local celebrity, and we know she’ll go from strength to strength travelling the world and competing in a host of international triathlons. We’re really grateful that our marketing manager – Rob Cassidy – is a keen triathlete too, because it was at a local race that Blythe and Rob met, eventually leading to a great opportunity for us to sponsor Blythe and help her achieve success.
Now that Blythe’s triathlon season has finished, she will continue her training to get ready for next season. She’ll be focusing on improving her swimming with her swimming club Pioneer 79, going for long rides to keep her cycling legs, and hopefully doing some cross country running races.
We’re wishing her the best of luck for the future, and we’ll keep you updated on her progress as she pursues her dream of competing at the 2024 Olympic Games.