A former Bury Town player has swapped her football boots for triathlon, and is celebrating after qualifying for the European Triathlon Championships next year.
Laura Brown, a tax adviser from Bury St Edmunds, took up the sport just two years ago after watching a friend in action, and hasn’t looked back.
The 31-year-old has had a meteoric rise in the event, securing a place in the Team GB squad for the championships that will take place in Estonia next July.
Brown, who works in the Bury St Edmunds office of audit, tax and consulting firm RSM, came third among qualifying hopefuls at the Grafham Water event in Cambridgeshire earlier this month to bag her spot on the team.
Brown will compete in the 30-34 age group in the Olympic distance event, which comprises of a 1500m open water swim, a 40km bike ride and a 10km run.
Brown, a former pupil at King Edward VI School, said: ‘The qualifying race was only my second event at the Olympic distance so I wasn’t quite sure how to pace myself.
“I know I’ve made massive gains, particularly in the last 12 months, so it’s hard to gauge what the next 12 months will hold for me.
“I don’t know if I’m going to keep making such big gains or if I’m hitting the limit of what I can do.
“So it’s really hard to even set myself a position to aim for, but I do have a time I want to beat.
“So I’ll re-evaluate nearer the race.
“It’s just very exciting though. It’s still a bit of a surprise, I just can’t believe it.
“I wasn’t expecting it at all so I don’t think it’s sunk in quite yet, I’m going to go to an international event and represent my country, it seems a little mad.”
Brown used to be a footballer, playing at a high level — her last club was Bury Town and she had also represented Suffolk.
But she has not regretted her decision to hang up her boots, revelling in the physical challenge triathlon provides.
“I never thought I would enjoy it so much,” she said.
In preparation for next year’s championships, Brown will be embarking on a rigorous training regime taking part in a number of duathlons over the winter months.
In her day job Laura advises clients on Trust matters and is also training to become a qualified chartered tax adviser.