FAMILY RACE: Jenny (dark outfit) completed the Mooloolaba Triathlon alongside her pregnant daughter Jekka (blue outfit). Photo: Oliver Shearer
FAMILY RACE: Jenny (dark outfit) completed the Mooloolaba Triathlon alongside her pregnant daughter Jekka (blue outfit). Photo: Oliver Shearer Contributed

Mum and daughter pull out all the stops in Mooloolaba Tri

PREGNANT and exhausted, Gympie woman Jekka Shearer broke down in tears after she crossed the Mooloolaba Triathlon finish line with her mother Jenny.

Jekka could barely run a year-and-a-half ago.

"I had a condition in my knees and I couldn't be physically active on them. Doctors thought I needed surgery.

"I started taking krill oil and after three months I did my first run.”

Jekka, 23, loves running and swimming, so she thought she would give cycling a go and combine them all into a triathlon.

She first tried the Triathlon Pink event in January last year.

Jekka then signed up for the Olympic distance event at Byron Bay in May last year.

"Before that I had never done anything like it,” she said.

Soon, Jekka's mum was involved.

"Last year we then did the pink one in Brisbane together.

"I ran back on to the field to finish with her.”

Jekka then decided to compete in the Olympic distance Mooloolaba Triathlon event which required a 1.5km swim, 40km bike and finally a 10km run.

But then came a shock hit, but Jekka said she never considered dropping out.

"I signed up to this one five months ago and then found out I was pregnant,” she said.

"I started to get sick and I didn't think I could do it.”

Jekka had already started training but realised she needed help.

"So mum said she wanted to help me do it,” she said.

"Honestly, it was also in the training I needed her.

"To get out of bed those mornings was difficult, to have someone there helps so much.”

The mother/daughter team then swam three times a week, running twice, and riding once. Early mornings became a ritual. Jekka had the added challenge of struggling with morning sickness.

"Having her commitment really helped me,” Jekka said.

BRUTAL: Jekka said she struggled through the running leg, but was spurred on by her mum Jenny. 
Photo: Oliver Shearer
BRUTAL: Jekka said she struggled through the running leg, but was spurred on by her mum Jenny. Photo: Oliver Shearer Contributed

On race day, she was 17 weeks pregnant.

"The night before I threw up but I woke up feeling wonderful,” she said.

"The whole way we stopped together. Conditions were perfect. The ocean didn't have a ripple.

"The swim and the ride were easy but the run was brutal.

"I am proud of mum, it was her first one at that distance.

"It was exciting doing it with her, I don't think I could have done it without her.”

Jekka praised her supportive husband, Robin.

"He was extraordinary. He never questioned it. He was beside the sideline,” Jekka said.

Jekka consulted a doctor before the race, who told her she would be fine as long as she was fit and limited herself.

"I knew I would be fine,” Jekka said.

"Fitness wise, my only concern was my heat. I just needed to keep my temperature down, take lots of electrolytes, vitamins and energy up.”

Jekka's mother Jenny, 49, thought Jekka would drop out.

"I told her she couldn't do it. She said 'Mum, I need someone to do the tri with me',” Jenny said.

"As we were training I was concerned she couldn't do it.

"She was 17 weeks pregnant. And I thought 'there's no way I could do an Olympic tri'.”

Jenny had her concerns but never let them get in the way of their spirit.

"I thought it would kill me, but I was going to do it for her and my grandchild,” she said.

"The running part was going to be tough for her and I was worried she would overheat.

Jenny said she was surprised by her performance and is now hooked herself.

"She (Jekka) is a faster swimmer so she waited in the transition for me. We then rode together and ran together

"We finished at a time of 3hrs and 10 minutes. I've caught the bug, I'd like to do another.”

At the end of the race, Jekka broke down into tears.

"When she finished the race, her pregnant hormones kicked in and she was in tears,” Jenny said.

"It was amazing there was three generations running it together, even though one is in her tummy.”

Jekka's husband, Robin, is an ex-gymnist and rock climber, they are already arguing over what sport the little one might take up.

"We think it is going to be a morning baby, we're fighting over it being a rock climber or triathlete,” Jekka said.

'COULDN'T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT HER': The mother and daughter team both admitted they supported each other on in order to finish. Photo: Oliver Shearer
'COULDN'T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT HER': The mother and daughter team both admitted they supported each other on in order to finish. Photo: Oliver Shearer Contributed
Gympie Times


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