Nicknamed the ‘IronGran’, Brocklesby is the oldest British woman to complete an IRONMAN: the world’s toughest triathlon challenge featuring a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride and a full 26 marathon. , 2 miles.
Ideally, she says, it would be in Lanzarote, which has always been Brocklesby’s favorite place to train.
“The water is crystal clear … the bike routes take you through all the beautiful parts of the island. The race is always fun. You pass the bars late at night and, you know, another round of the island. racing and… the disc jockey plays ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ every time I pass, “she added.
Not that Brocklesby intends to quit. Far from it, she has just registered to participate in the Race Across America (RAAM) 2023.
The RAAM is one of the longest annual endurance events in the world, where participants have nine days to travel from the West Coast to the East Coast of the United States, or approximately 3,000 miles (4,800 km).
As they did in 2013 and 2019, Brocklesby will be one of four Serpentine “Golden Girls” to ride in a female relay team with an average age of 70.
“I’m going to increase the average age of the team,” jokes Brocklesby. “My friend pointed out, to my horror, that I would be 80 years old and the oldest woman to have done RAAM.”
Remarkably, Brocklesby did not play any sport until the age of 50. But she always loved challenges, she says – like running her first half marathon at age 52.
“I remember going to see a friend do the Nottingham Marathon which was going around the university where my husband and I had been,” she recalls when she lived in Northampton several years ago. years.
“I came back to my husband and said, ‘You know, I would love to do a half marathon.’ And he said, ‘You couldn’t even go three miles from Northampton!’ ‘And I think,’ Yes, I can! ‘That’s the challenge that got me going.’
After a few marathons – and injuries as well – Brocklesby began to realize the benefits of running more; not just physical, but also social and spiritual benefits.
In his book, Irongran: How to stay in shape taught me that getting older doesn’t necessarily mean slowing down, Brocklesby says her group of running friends have helped her cope with the untimely death of her husband.
“I had to learn to swim”
At the age of 60, Brocklesby believed that learning to swim could also be therapeutic.
“In school I had done a little bit of swimming, but never the full length of the pool. So I took a lesson and started swimming! And in fact, I did it all. a length for the first time, ”she said.
Swimming, however, remains Brocklesby’s biggest challenge. Road cycling is his favorite of the three disciplines that make up the triathlon.
Although, as she admits in her book, there were some youthful issues in the early days of climbing steep hills.
“I remember the embarrassment of having to walk my new Giant bike through the last bend of the Box Hill zig-zag,” she wrote of Surrey Peak. “I was not used to road cycling and had a really hard time on the steep climb.”
Brocklesby’s continued athletic development also prompted her to try and convince others that age is just a number.
“It’s quite a privilege to know you can do it, and that’s why I started Silverfit,” reveals Brocklesby.
Silverfit is a London-based charity that promotes healthier aging through physical activity and social connectivity. “People meet, get some refreshments sometimes, and then they do an activity,” Brocklesby says.
Silverfit now organizes activities in 17 different locations in London with 46 different classes including Pilates, Nordic walking, foot-jogging, Bollywood fitness and silver cheerleading.
“We started in Hyde Park and then very quickly moved to Burgess Park,” said Brocklesby, referring to a few green spaces in London.
She adds that she has always tried to set up new activities in areas of economic poverty and diversity, “where in fact you can make a bigger difference for the people there”.
His involvement in charitable programs has earned him various awards, such as the Pride of Sport Award and the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the health and well-being of the elderly.
Brushes with royalty
Two years ago, Brocklesby was invited to the centenary celebrations of the National Council of Voluntary Organizations (NCVO) hosted by Queen Elizabeth II herself.
“I absolutely did not expect to meet our queen,” reveals Brocklesby.
“We gathered in a great hall in historic Windsor Castle. There we were greeted with champagne and the most incredible finger foods. A queue began to form from this room to walk through an open arch in another large room.
“It wasn’t until I joined the queue and slowly walked up to approach a few feet from the door that I realized the Queen was right on the other side, individually greeting each guest.
“I’ve been there,” his squire announced, “Dr Brocklesby, Silverfit.” “How lovely,” she said, shaking my hand, and I bowed to her. “
Royalty aside, Brocklesby’s life is now committed to sharing a more popular message.
“That you like to grow old. You encourage others to say it’s never too late to start being a little more active and having fun. I think it’s so important to make the experiences fun. ”