Looking at Edwina (‘Eddie’) Brocklesby, the first thing you notice is her ever-present smile, radiating from beneath a sea of bright red (or sometimes more magenta, depending on the season) curls. But look closer and you’re bound to start noticing something else. Mainly that while Eddie doesn’t look young exactly, judging from her sinewy, muscled arms and her, frankly, great body, it’s really quite difficult to determine her age at all.
Well, she doesn’t mind telling. Eddie is 70-years-old. But far from being ready to relax into a quiet life of retirement, she’s back fresh from a trip to Italy, where she spent the week cycling training in the mountains. And while a vacation like that might lead some people to need, well… a vacation… Eddie is off again next week to the Peak District for some more.
This ongoing buzz of activity is simply what a World Champion duathlete, Race Across America cycling race finisher, and Ironman triathlon champion does. Though for Eddie, none of these accomplishments were something she had considered prior to the age of 53. Running, and later, duathlon and triathlon became a priority in Eddie’s life after the early death of her husband. Finding support within her running club (the now-defunct South Notts Pacers), Eddie also found that running was the fuel to keep her going through her grief.
After a knee injury forced her to focus on something other than running alone, Eddie, inspired by one of her sons, took up triathlon. After realising that swimming wasn’t her favourite leg (nor her strongest), Eddie went on to give duathlon a go- and to win her age group at the World Championships in Switzerland!
But according to Eddie, it’s not her World Championship win that is her proudest athletic accomplishment. Instead, it was winning her age group at Ironman Lanzarote at age 67, though she will also modestly admit that she may have been the only woman in her age group. Maybe, but she was also the oldest female finisher of the infamously grueling race, and easily beat the 17-hour cutoff time, finishing in 15:45:09.
Eddie was also part of a four-woman team, affectionately dubbed the ‘Golden Girls’ to race the 3,014 mile Race Across America (RAAM) in 2010. The team finished in just over eight days and became the oldest team to finish the race, a feat that required teamwork, sleep deprivation, and perseverance, something that it seems Eddie has in droves.
But although Eddie is passionate about her own training and racing, what she is really driven by is the desire to share her passion with others, specifically over-50s. She hopes that more people will fight their diminishing fitness levels as they age, but ultimately supports sport for all. Her dream is to see more interfamily racing- grandparents and grandkids racing together and inspiring each other.
The circumstances that led Eddie to sport were ones that no one would hope for, but she has taken life’s lemons and keeps making lemonade.
“Aren’t I the lucky one? I still have energy and I’m healthy.” says Eddie with that smile and a look of determination in her eyes.
We can’t wait to see what she does next.