Meet Sunderland’s Iron Woman – mum complete’s 70-mile triathlon

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SUNDERLAND’S very own Iron Woman is set to show what Wearside women are made of when she stars in a new TV show.

Jill Trewick said she didn’t know what she was in for when she signed up to a mystery challenge.

But after 12 weeks of intense training, the mum-of-two completed the 70 mile Ironman triathlon, called Vineman – Barb’s Race.

Jill, 42, of Silksworth, married to Andrew, 43, applied to take part in the Channel 5 show Wonga Challenge Presents – Go Hard or Go Home, when a call for contestants was sent to the Women’s Institute, Fulwell, of which she is a member.

The programme, which airs this month, challenges people to push themselves to the limit and take on “the challenge of a lifetime”.

The stay-at-home mum, who had lost three stone with Weight Watchers prior to the programme, said she wanted to see what she was capable of.

“I’d lost the weight and I just thought ‘what can I do next?’” she said. “I was in disbelief when they told us we would be taking part in a 70-mile triathlon in California, I didn’t think I would be able to do it.

“But it was great, I feel so proud of myself.”

Jill was part of a group of four WI members who took part in the women’s only half Iron Man.

They swam 1.2 miles, cycled for 56 miles, and ran 13.1 miles through vineyards of Sonoma in July.

“I wanted to get the swimming out of the way,” said Jill, who joined Sunderland triathlon group Sun City to train ahead of the challenge.

“That’s what I’m weakest at so I thought if I can get through this, I’ve got a pretty good chance of being able to do the whole thing.

“It was really tough swimming up the river – totally different to being in a swimming pool – people were pushing to get past you, kicking you, and you couldn’t see in the water because it was just mud.

“But once I got half way, I thought I can do this, just get to the end.”

A cameraman tracked Jill’s progress during the triathlon, which took her eight hours and 20 minutes to complete.

“It was exciting when I got to the last two miles,” she said. “I had walked about six miles of the half marathon because I thought it doesn’t matter how long it takes me, I just need to finish it.

“The man on the speaker at the finish line knew who I was and said I was there doing it for a TV programme and everyone was cheering, it was really cool.”

The only physical activity that Jill did before the triathlon was housework, and said the challenge has given her a taste for the extreme.

“I was so busy running round after my kids that doing exercise never crossed my mind,” she said.

“People keep saying ‘you’ve lost so much weight,’ but I didn’t, I toned up and went from a size 16 to 18, to a 12 to 14.

“So I’m still training – swimming and doing spinning classes. When I came back from California, I did the Great North Run – and now I’m looking at what I can do next.

“If I can do a triathlon, anyone can.”