Athlete Biography

Impairment Details
She was born without a left forearm. “I was brought up not to see myself as disabled and that I could do anything that anyone else with two full arms could do. I wear a prosthetic arm in ‘everyday’ life. When I race I don’t wear an arm for the swim or run but I have a bespoke, custom carbon arm which I use on the bike. People seem to be constantly bemused when I set up transition with my prosthetic arm lying across the tri-bars. I’ve seen photos of my kit set up in transition a number of times on social media.” (220triathlon.com, 06 Mar 2014)

Reason for taking up this sport
“As a teenager I was a Paralympic swimmer, and once I retired from swimming after the Atlanta Paralympics in 1996, I took up road running to keep fit. In 2006, a work colleague asked if I would be interested in doing the London Triathlon with her. I am unable to resist a physical challenge and so agreed. I hadn’t ridden a bike for over ten years but was able to use me father’s old road bike, which I had adapted for me. I thoroughly enjoyed my first triathlon and entered a few sprint races in the following two years. At the end of 2009 I became aware of paratriathlon in the UK and the opportunities available to paratriathletes internationally.” (clare-cunningham.co.uk, 01 Dec 2009)

Ambitions
My triathlon goals are to be the very best athlete I can be and to compete in triathlon at the 2016 Paralympic Games.

Training
“During a average training week, I typically swim for three hours, bike for six hours, and run for three. My personal best swim time (750m) is 12.31, bike (20km) is 37.29, and run (5km) is 21.50.”

Most memorable sporting achievement
Winning gold in a new world record in the S9 50m freestyle at the 1992 Paralympic Games in Barcelona.

Most influential person in career
Her husband David. (clare-cunningham.co.uk, 18 Sep 2014)

Sporting philosophy / motto
“Nothing is impossible; there is always a way.”

Awards
In 2009 she was named British Triathlon Female Para-Triathlete of the Year by the British Triathlon Federation. (clare-cunningham.co.uk, 01 Dec 2013)

General
INTRODUCTION TO ELITE TRIATHLON
While surfing the internet she came across an article about para-triathlon on the British Triathlon Federation [BTF] website that announced a search for members of a British para-triathlon development squad. “I had missed the application to join the squad but investigated a bit more and discovered that the times I had been doing in the local triathlons were competitive with times recorded at the world championships that year. After spending a couple of months debating whether or not I was mentally ready and prepared to re-enter the world of elite disability sport I took the plunge and contacted the BTF about whether I would be allowed to compete in the 2009 European Championships based on times I provided from races the year before. I was, and with British and European Championships within the next three months I threw myself into training.” (clare-cunningham.co.uk, 01 Dec 2009)

TREKKING
She has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, trekked the Inca trail in Peru and the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. “There are still so many places I want to see, in particular the Himalayas and more of South America.” (220triathlon.com, 06 Mar 2014)

OCCUPATION
She works part-time as a Forensic Accountant in London with Deloitte. “I first joined Deloitte in September 2000, qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2003 and now work in Deloitte Forensic, within corporate finance, based in London. Deloitte has been incredibly supportive of my ambitions to compete in the inaugural triathlon in the Paralympic Games in 206,; adapting my role so that I can work part-time and, as part of the Deloitte Elite Athlete Programme, I receive additional leave to compete in International paratriathlons.” (clare-cunningham.co.uk, 01 Jan 2014)

COMMITTEE MEMBER
She was elected onto the Athlete Committee of the International Triathlon Union [ITU] for two years in 2012, serving as a representative for athlete’s needs and wants. (tri247.com, 01 Nov 2012)

Club
Cambridge Triathlon Club, England

Social Media
Hear more from the athlete via their website, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Competition Highlights

RankEventYearLocationResult
World Championships
2TRI-42012Auckland, NZL1:04:55
3PT42014Edmonton, AB, CAN1:15:27
3TRI-42013London, GBR1:19:05

 

Athlete Sponsors: GE, Deloitte UK LLP, Snugg Wetsuits, Fusion, Scobi IT

Athlete Language: English

Athlete Tri Entry Year: 2006

Athlete Education: 2:1 MA Honours in English Language and Literature from the University of St Andrews, Scotland.

Athlete Proudest Moment: Becoming World Champion in 2009 on the Gold Coast, Australia. My proudest swimming moment was becoming Paralympic Champion in the women\'s S9 50m freestyle in a world record time at the 1992 Paralympic Games in Barcelona.

Athlete Coach: Andrea Whitcombe

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