Engineering her way to triathlon success

An engineer from WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff in Leeds will be going for gold in 2016, having been selected for Team GB in the sprint triathlon at the Age Group European Championships which take place next May in Lisbon, Portugal.

Hannah Riechert, 27, competed in her first triathlon just last September and has since clocked up more than a dozen top ten finishes, culminating in a top four place in her age group (25-29) at a European Championship qualifier event in Nottingham.

Hannah is one of just 20 athletes selected in her age category as part of Team GB, and will compete at the European Age Group Championship, one of the highest ranking amateur competitions in the sport, against the top 20 from countries across Europe.

Hannah, who is originally from Germany and studied a masters in transport planning and environment at the University of Leeds, said: “I was quite shocked to have been selected, especially for the sprint event as I’m usually better at the Olympic distance, which is longer and gives you more time to make up for any errors.

“I can’t wait to wear my Team GB branded suit at the event next year and represent the country in which I’ve now lived and worked for more than 3 years. My team at WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff are incredibly supportive and the company is going to sponsor me at the Championship next year which is fantastic.”

Hannah, who has worked at WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff in Leeds as a transport planner since 2015, has been working with a coach since February and trains twice daily, at least five days a week.

Her gruelling schedule includes 6:00am swim sessions at the John Charles Centre for Sport; an hour and a half round-trip cycle to and from work as well as cycling time trials with her local cycling club and running between 5-12 miles either on her lunch break or after work.

Hannah regularly trains alongside some of the UK’s top triathletes including the Leeds-born, Olympic medal-winning Brownlee brothers, and feels that the city is a hub for triathlon talent.

Hannah added: “I joined the cross-country running club when I studied at the University of Leeds and have run for a number of years.  Due to repeated injury, I decided last year to switch to triathlon and I absolutely love the sport and combination of activities.

“Many top triathletes come to Leeds to study and train as the city has some fantastic sports facilities and it’s inspiring to see first-hand athletes at the top of their game.  I think this affinity with the sport is one of the main reasons why Leeds was successful in winning the World Triathlon Series next year and I hope to enter this as well as it’d be brilliant to compete alongside the best in the world.”

Hannah Riechert from WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff goes for gold at European triathlon championships
Hannah Riechert from WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff

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