Madeleine Nutt (LEH 2014-16)
Student Maddy used the Emerging Talent Award 2019 to amazing effect, becoming a European champion, as she won a gold medal at the duathlon championships just before the lockdown in March 2020.
Growing up, I was always keen on sports - competing in a range of games from volleyball all the way to water polo. But two years ago, having recently returned to London to start a new degree at UCL, I decided to shift my sporting focus onto triathlon. The sport instantly became a passion of mine, as I thrived off the endurance challenge it presented, as well as the variety training provided with three separate disciplines to focus on.
Half a year in, hooked on the endorphin rush, I decided to take triathlon from a hobby into more of a competitive pursuit. Being a relative newbie to the sport, I successfully qualified for the European standard distance duathlon championships in Punta Umbria, Spain, as well as the sprint triathlon Europeans in Malmö, Sweeden. (The latter of which was sadly cancelled due to Covid-19.) The Emerging Talent Award I was lucky enough to receive from LEH funded my GB age group kit that was required for these races.
I initially had low expectations approaching the event. With limited experience under my belt, I was unsure of how my ability would line up with the rest of the field. The atmosphere in the town was indescribable, with the town packed with supporters from all the European nations represented.
I stood at the start-line, quivering with a cocktail of nerves and excitement ready to face the 10km run; 40km bike and 5km run that was in front of me. In the initial run, I found myself in one of the front groups and felt my legs propelling me forwards at a pace beyond which I would normally run, fuelled by the adrenaline and cheers of the largely British crowd.
Coming into transition, I noted I was leading my age group (20-24), and as a stronger cyclist than runner this boosted my confidence as I hopped onto my bike and onto the next leg. Over the next 40km, I increased my lead on the girls in my age group, as well as taking myself higher into the overall female positions. After 40km riding with gritted teeth in the beating sun, I was back on the run course through the centre of town, with only 5km of running left to do.
I could feel my body was reaching its limit, but with a substantial lead, I focused on the finish line ahead and the prospect of achieving a European age group title. Crossing the line after a gruelling two hours and seven minutes of racing, I felt a huge rush of emotion and broke down into tears, completely taken aback by my own performance, taking the win by over three minutes, as well as being tenth female overall.
After time for the win to settle in, and to catch up on the calorie deficit I had thrown myself into by gobbling on some local Spanish cuisine, I had the joy of getting to stand on the podium to receive my medal (sporting my GB kit of course!). (Maddy is the one wearing black shorts above!)
I am incredibly grateful to the support from LEH, and how they continue to support alumnae as they go on to undertake new challenges and adventures beyond their time at the school, with the same energy and enthusiasm that was nurtured over their time there.