Catherine aiming for the top

Gorleston's Catherine Lee

Gorleston's Catherine Lee - Credit: Archant

Almost a year ago Gorleston teenager Catherine Lee was among a huge crowd in Hyde Park watching a dramatic ladies Olympics triathlon.

Catherine Lee on run section

Catherine Lee on run section - Credit: Archant

She saw Britain's Helen Jenkins agonisingly miss out on a medal as Switzerland's Nicola Spirig took gold. But the occasion helped make up her mind that this was the sport for her!

Catherine Lee on bike section

Catherine Lee on bike section - Credit: Archant

Now the 17-year-old is already taking great strides towards her goal of being part of such momentous occasions herself.

At the end of April she won the East Coast Triathlon, a 'sprint' event featuring a 250m pool swim, 16 bike ride and 3km run, held at the Marina Centre in Great Yarmouth.

At the weekend she was the second female home in a 'sprint' event (750m open water swim, 20km cycle ride and 5km run) at Fritton Lakes.

And now she's looking forward to taking that form into another substantial step up, in the junior section of next month's national sprint championships in Liverpool.

A mark of the East Norfolk 6th Form College student's improvement over the past year is that she went from 13th in the 2012 East Triathlon super sprint to first.

Most Read

And the strides she is taking were emphasised at Fritton Lakes, where she was leading coming out of the swim and maintained her advantage for much of the bike stage before being overtaken by a much more experienced eventual winner from Yorkshire in testing conditions for someone who has been cycling for only two years.

'It was a shame about the wind which killed me on the bike stage,' she said. 'But I was very pleased with the way the race went.

'I prefer the longer events,' she added. 'Triathlon is definitely where I see my future now.'

The national championships will be another major step up with big crowds expected to watch the event staged around Liverpool's St George's Docks.

She had a taste of that a couple of years ago when winning a county schools cross country title earned her the right to represent Norfolk in a junior race as part of London Marathon day.

'The mini marathon was an amazing experience,' she said. 'That and watching last year's Olympics marathon definitely gave me a taste for competing in front of big crowds.'

Catherinehas been earmarked for athletics success since her Cliff Park High School days, when she regularly represented Norfolk in the national cross country championships.

She remains a member of Great Yarmouth and District AC but has now also has to make her way to Colchester twice a month to train with the region's east elite triathlon squad.