The toughest challenge for fitness guru Ursula

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Fitness instructor Ursula Brendling plans to mark her 50th birthday in style. She’s going to do her first ever triathlon, and she’s picked the world’s toughest event to make her debut.

Ursula, who lives in Ambleside, has entered Triathlon X which moves into central Lakeland next year and will be based at Waterhead near Ambleside.

Competitors will swim two miles in Windermere, complete a cycle route of 112 miles following the course of the Fred Whitton challenge, and run a mountain marathon to the top of Scafell Pike and back.

Ursula will be raising funds for YHA’s bursary fund for disadvantaged young people, Breaks for Kids, which creates opportunities for young people to stay with YHA and have new, life-changing experiences. The organisers have also pledged £5 from each entry fee to the fund.

“My friends keep asking me why I am doing the hardest triathlon first,” said Ursula. “I only intend to do one, so this has got to be it. I love the outdoors, I love exercise and I love a challenge, and the Triathlon X combines all three in bucketfuls.

” I feel as though it is meant to be as it starts from YHA Ambleside which is the place that brought me to the Lake District when I worked there, it is the place I had my children, and it also takes place a few days after my 50th birthday. I also have a great affinity for the charity I will be raising money for, Breaks for Kids.”

Ursula has been a fitness instructor for 21 years and uses a wide variety of methods to improve fitness, and vary individual workouts to constantly challenge and maintain motivation. She runs weekly outdoor bootcamps and fitness classes including circuits, interval training, “Kettlercise” and aerobics.

She said: “I am in a lucky position to do a job I really enjoy. All my clients and class members impress me daily with their determination and effort to achieve their goals. I hope to use this training to further help and inspire them to see that anything is possible.

“As a child, I nearly died from asthma and spent many weeks lying in bed unable to breathe normally, so to do an iron-distance triathlon at 50 would be truly awesome and a great memory for life….especially as my secret fear is of getting my head under water. My children, family and business will always be my priority so I only have limited time to train but I will do my very best.”

Triathlon X will be staged on June 25 next year, and with steeper ascents and longer finishing times than any other extreme event, it is acknowledged as the toughest iron-distance race in the world. It is moving to Windermere after being staged successfully this summer at Wasdale where it attracted 133 competitors, of whom 98 finished.

Organiser Mark Blackburn said: “Ursula is a real inspiration and we are thrilled she’s decided to have a go. We hope everyone will sponsor her for the Breaks for Kids charity.”

In a new partnership with YHA (England and Wales), the organisers have created a route which is already generating excitement among triathletes, and entries are already pouring in. For more information see


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