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Professional status continues great story for rising Norfolk triathlon star Kimberley Morrison

Norfolk triathlete Kimberley Morrison who is going professional, pictured at Whitlingham Outdoor Education Centre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Norfolk triathlete Kimberley Morrison who is going professional, pictured at Whitlingham Outdoor Education Centre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2015

The next chapter in the inspiring story of north Norfolk triathlete Kimberley Morrison has begun, after the 27-year-old announced she is to begin competing as a professional.

Morrison has continued a rapid ascent in her sport to put an incredibly difficult start in life – which saw the Tri-Anglia athlete undergo life-saving surgery as a youngster – firmly behind her.

It was discovered that Morrison had two holes in her heart when she was around four years old, leading to heart surgery at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital when she was two-and-a-half years old.

That difficult start has been conquered by Morrison though, encapsulated on Sunday when she finished sixth in the 25-29 age group at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Austria.

That follows earlier success this year, including finishing ninth in the elite women’s race at the London Triathlon, retaining her Olympic distance title at Norwich Triathlon, finishing eighth at Ironman70.3 Haugesund in Norway and 10th at Ironman70.3 Pays d’Aix in France.

All of that success has fuelled the enthusiastic athlete with further energy, as she prepare to make her professional bow having completed her first race at the London Triathlon just three years ago.

“I’m really excited and really confident as well,” said Morrison. “I’ve got three races coming up, three professional races to finish off the year, and although I finished sixth and missed out on a medal this weekend, I’ve taken a lot of confidence from that to go and put myself in amongst the pros.”

That first race – after confirmation of her pro status from British Triathlon – will be the Hever Castle Gauntlet in Kent on September 27.

Challenge Sardinia, in Italy, then follows on October 25 and Challenge Phuket, in Thailand, on November 29. Morrison prepares for those events full of confidence after her success in sweltering heat of around 33C in Zell Am See-Kaprun in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships.

There she completed the 1.9km swim in 27.19 minutes and in 14th position for her age group but had moved up to sixth by the end of the 90.1km cycle section, which she completed in two hours, 40 minutes and 47 seconds.

That position was then maintained through to the finish line with a 21.1km run of 01:38.09 hours – for an overall time of 04:54.51 hours, as the 42nd woman to cross the line.

“It was an absolutely stunning place, it was like racing in a postcard!” Morrison continued.

“The swim course was in supposedly the cleanest lake in Europe and the bike was then around it and up into the mountains with a gruelling 14k climb, but a really nice descent.

“The run then took us past the lake again and through the town twice so it was full of spectators. My husband Ben tells me there were 40,000 spectators so I’ve never run in front of that many before, it was really special.”

Morrison will continue to work part-time for her family’s business Wensum Pools, in South Raynham, around her triathlon commitments.

She is able to do that thanks to partnerships with Wensum Pools, Jacuzzi, Certikin and Woodlands Leisure, partnerships she hopes to build more of through her new website, kimberleymorrison.co.uk.

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