While she has been dubbed a Living Legend by ‘Remember a Charity Week’ supporters and a ‘Mad Granny’ by her own grandson, Eddie Brocklesby is best known for being Britain’s oldest competing triathlete. The retired social worker has taken part in four Ironman competitions in her 60s and 70s, a remarkable feat for an individual who didn’t take up running until the age of 50.
Eddie’s recent efforts to encourage Lambeth’s older residents stay active led to the launch of Silver Tuesdays, weekly keep fit sessions held in Brockwell Park and led by a charity Eddie founded. Next month, the London-based triathlete who recently celebrated her 72nd birthday, will take part in one of the world’s toughest Ironman races.
The physically gruelling event includes a course of swimming, cycling and running with a climb of over 2,551 metres. Brixton Blog caught up with Eddie ahead of the event. Here she gives us the lowdown on Ironman Lanzarote, her 17-hour weekly training sessions and her campaign to help London’s older residents to keep fit.
“My training was going great until I slipped over in the changing rooms after a swimming session, and no, it wasn’t at the Brixton Rec. They have very good matting in the changing rooms! They also have two really good instructors (Ishmal and Sarah) who have both been pushing me through my paces.
“Because I hurt my knee I’m temporarily restricted to cycling long distances on my exercise bike in my home rather than up and down hills. But other than that my training has been going reasonably well and this is just a minor setback for me.
“May 23rd is the big day for the event and I’m still on track for that. I am a little bit anxious which is quite normal given my age, and the fact that it’s Ironman Lanzarote which is quite a daunting course.
“To a large extent the main challenge might be the wind on the day and Lanzarote can be quite a windy island. If you face the wind when you are doing the uphill slot of the race it can be quite tough on the day. But then you just get on with it as best you can.
“My current training routine involves me doing 17 hours’ worth of training every week. This includes running and core strength training which is essential for me, plus cycling and lots of swimming.
“I try and fit this in around my working week and what I do with Silverfit. Everything had been building nicely since we launched our new sessions at Brockwell Park, especially with our Pilates and Nordic walking. We start walking football in June which will be good.
“The big issue for us is ensuring that we are growing steadily and have the funds to develop our plans. We do need to pay our instructors and pay for other things such as accommodation for our Pilates sessions. So it’s really important for us to make sure we have sufficient funding in place.
“We have a growing number of people coming to the sessions we run in Burgess Park, so we know what we are doing is effective. We also had two of our Silverfit ladies on feature on ITV’s This Morning on a segment they produce called Grumpy Old Women. They had a good chat about their ‘grumps’ with a group of celebrity guests which was great fun for them.
“To get funding can sometimes be extremely challenging even though we are running a good service that’s helping local people to keep fit as they get older. The number of people who have contacted us since we started has grown steadily. We now reach more than 100 older people across London”.