LISA COCKBURN, a 59-year old Trinidad and Tobago citizen who now resides in Catalonia, Spain, endured over 225 kilometres of triathlon distance to secure silver in the women’s 60-64 category at the 2019 IronMan Vichy event, which was held in France recently.
Cockburn, who previously resided in Maraval, swam a distance of 3.8km, cycled a gruelling 180km and then swam 42km in an impressive time of 14 hours 43 minutes. She was a former member of the TT Road Runners Club but expanded her competitive genre into the triathlon upon her arrival in Europe 24 years ago.
Now, Cockburn is working towards securing a coveted spot at the Ironman World Championships next year. Her qualification to this esteemed event however, depends on her performance at the Ironman Austria which takes place in July.
Cockburn though, admitted that this would be no easy feat, considering she will turn 60 in December.
“Your objectives change as you go along, but I still want to compete,” she said from her base in Catalonia on Wednesday. “Of course, with physical changes over the years, your body isn’t the same as it was years ago obviously but I’d still like to participate at the World Championships. I’ve qualified before, but in the half-distance, and opted not to go to the meet. I’d prefer to compete in the full distance.”
The experienced triathlete noted that, following the achievement of her degree in Canada in the early 80s, she returned to Trinidad and began competing in long distance events. At that time, triathlons were now being introduced locally. From there Cockburn joined Corky’s Cycling Centre (Maraval) where she began riding and started running with TTRRC. Soon after, she began swimming as a hobby.
In 1995, she then headed to France to pursue her passion in world languages and cultures. After eight months there, she headed to Spain, obtained residency, settled there and began competing in triathlons throughout the European continent.
“I’ve competed in Spain, France, Austria, Germany, Switzerland and several other European countries. Europe presented so much more opportunities for me to train and compete. In 2009, I achieved my best ever time (12 hours, 54 minutes) in Challenge Maresme Barcelona (now IronMan Barcelona) and I’m intent on continuing in good stride,” she said.
Cockburn currently represents Club Natacio Sabadell, based in Catalonia, and is an avid fan of athletics. She also revealed that there are more opportunities available for her to compete in Europe as compared to the Caribbean.
When asked what keeps her inspired to continuously participate in such challenging events, Cockburn replied, “It’s a lifestyle. You have to be very dedicated, disciplined and manage your time wisely. Facing my challenges gives me a sense of satisfaction. It’s somewhat, natural to me now. I like the idea of challenging myself over a long distance.”
Following her hopeful participation at the World Championships next year, Cockburn would like to offer assistance, by way of training advice, based on her experience to assist up-and-coming triathletes in their development.
Cockburn’s Triathlon List Through the Years – IronMan Distance: Home De Ferro (Spain 2001); IronMan (Lnzarote 2002); IronMan (Frankfurt 2002); IronMan (Austria 2004); Challenge Roth (Germany 2005); IronMan (Zurich 2006); IronMan (Lanzarote 2007); Ironcat (2008); Ironcat (2009); Challenge Maresme (Barcelona 2009); Extrememan (Spain 2011); IronMan (Regensburg 2012); Embrunman (2013); IronMan (Mallorca 2014); KMO (Madrid 2015); Northwest Tri-Man (Spain 2017); Ibericman (Portugal 2017); IronMan (France 2018); IronMan Vichy (France 2019).