BBR Optometry helps Hereford triathlete see the world in a new light

7 January 2020

The importance of being able to see clearly in most sports is critical, and crucially when you’re travelling at high speeds on a bike or running a fast pace on your feet. Since 2018, BBR Optometry has been Jemima Cooper’s eyewear sponsor. Jemima is a Hereford-born triathlete and below she tells of her incredible journey throughout 2019 and her plans for the year ahead.

“Well that’s three years in this new sports venture of mine and here I am in 2020 ready to push harder, become stronger and fight for the top spots more determined than ever! This time, with a whole new frame of mind…”

“December 2018 saw me face university exams, the first draft of my dissertation, the launch of my own business and a training programme which took intense to a whole new level.

“Spring to early summer was non-stop university work and ensuring my swim/bike/run efforts were further, faster and stronger. Study hours and training weeks hit all-time highs; I peaked in volume, intensity and performance numbers like never before. It was an extremely tough time with lack of sleep and energy levels, but my trusty Tom Davies reading specs with simply magic lenses from Vistamesh made life a little more manageable!

“May saw me take on the first race of the season: Ironman 70.3 Aix en Provence. I went from near hypothermia in the swim to a fastest run split, a bronze medal and World Championships qualification! Although it was brutal, it is one of the most memorable and beautiful races I’ve had the fortune to take part in.

“June was a relief as I completed university, but it was also the realisation of my sheer exhaustion. With teary eyes and the arm of my coaching team around me, I did something I have never done before (and don’t plan to repeat!) A DNS - did not start. Beyond tired in body and mind, instead of lacing up to Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire, I took a much needed rest in the Lake District. A chance to unwind, reflect, recharge and realign my priorities.”

A new perspective

“Come July, I had turned a huge corner. I was back on track and had gained insight and perspective. After 3 months of working on the perfect fit, design and final draft, I also had a very new perspective as I saw the world quite literally in a new light, through my bespoke sun specs that Daniel from BBR and I worked hard to perfect! ‘I put my new *specs* on and suddenly everything was right…’

“After changing my training path and coach, I achieved a win at The London Triathlon followed up with a second place at the Cotswolds 113 Triathlon - taking a personal best bike split of over 22minutes, PB half Ironman race time and the fastest female run of the day by over 5mins!”

The warm up for the REAL focus of the year

“7th September 2019 and the race of my life was upon me. Alongside 2,500 immensely talented athletes from around the world, I took on a 1.9km swim in the rolling Mediterranean, a tough 90km bike up and down the legendary Col De Vance, and the heat of the 21.1km promenade run showdown. An extraordinary experience in so many ways.

“So with this fire still in my stomach there was one last push to the 2019 finish line. October came around and a trip to Lanzarote was on the cards. Having come on huge leaps and bounds in my cornering and descending skills when in France, a week on the Spanish island gave me a crash course in cross wind management! This race was hard on another level; it was a race won and lost in the head of all the athletes taking on this one. 40mph+ relentless headwinds, extraordinary cross wind gusts are a whole other force to contend with! Running to the fastest run split of the day and a third position in the field (and 6th overall time including the pros!) was a pretty epic way to end my year.”

2020 strategy

“2020 will see even more new approaches in training as I develop a larger training squad around me. This will help me to take to the next level of performance surrounding myself with those who will push me to find that extra last gear in my sessions. I will also be joining training camps in Europe and further afield to gain experience of riding some of the most technical bike courses Europe has to offer and more chances to build on my sea swimming.

“My race season will be aligned to enable me to qualify for my professional race licence. I will be targeting 3-4 key races over the year and using the other races for hugely valuable experience. I hope that this strategy will help me to achieve consistent high performances throughout the year.

“I want to say a huge thank you for your endless support, belief and generosity that you have continued to show me. It is with your backing that the pursuit of this sporting dream is possible. I am so excited for BBR Optometry to be a part of my extraordinary story and I am delighted to have BBR as part of my team as I head to what I am sure will be the biggest year in my triathlon career yet!”

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