Former triathlete GP nominated for community award

Dr Penny Rother. Picture: Gordon Fraser
Dr Penny Rother. Picture: Gordon Fraser
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A LOANHEAD GP and world champion triathlete is in line for the prestigious Community Coach of the Year award.

Dr Penny Rother, a former World Triathlon gold medal winner, who is now forging a successful career in community coaching in Edinburgh, is set to have her work recognised at the Sportscotland event next week.

Dr Rother has been nominated for the “Community Coach of the Year” award, at the Officiating and Volunteer Awards, for her commitment and dedication to the members of the Edinburgh Road Club.

After suffering an injury running, she turned her attention to the other two sports involved in triathlon – swimming and cycling – to aid her recovery and has never looked back.

She has now been taking part in triathlons for more than 19 years, with her coaching career taking off in 2009 – after she met a group of women who wanted to balance some exercise with the pressures of work and family life,

Dr Rother has gone out of her way to help them fit training around their busy lifestyles. They are all now part of the triathlon section of the ­Edinburgh Road Club which makes up 25 per cent of the membership.

“I just started because I wanted to help busy mums like me to make exercise part of their life,” she said.

“I’ve always had an active lifestyle so I’m passionate about helping people get back into exercise and to achieve their goals.

“Throughout my coaching I’ve always tried to understand what people want to get out of sport which has really help me over the years”

Dr Rother coaches for four hours a week with the club and even more during the summer months when she can get the team out on their bikes.

Now a level three coach, she has become an integral part of the coaching set-up at Edinburgh Road Club and in 2013 she was part of the team that introduced a more structured planning process for training sessions to improve performances across the club. Nonetheless Dr Rother was shocked when she heard she had been nominated.

She said: “It came as a complete surprise. I don’t do any more than lots of other coaches across the country, so I am really honoured to have been recognised.”

Two of Dr Rother’s team have since gone on to compete at world age group championships and were full of praise for their coach of the year.

One of the team, Ann Johnstone said: “As one of the ‘Porty Ladies’ – the name emanates from our training regime at Portobello Pool – Penny has taken us from a bunch of middle-aged women to the world championships. She makes us laugh and mops up our tears when we cry.”

Team member Joanne Campbell said: “Penny dragged me in but made it so easy for me to fit round my four children. She’s an inspiration.”

diane.king@edinburghnews.com