Firefighter qualifies for Triathlon World Championships

A Halifax firefighter is celebrating after qualifying to be part of the Great British team in the Triathlon World Championships held later this year.

Lorna Dodd

Lorna Dodd, from Queensbury, only took part in her first triathlon last summer, but her second triathlon saw her take part in qualifying races and make the cut to represent her country later this year.

As part of the Super-Sprint Distance team Lorna will be swimming 400m, cycling 10km and running 2.5km in the 30-34 age group.

Lorna joined West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) in 2016 after her sports science degree led her into a range of different jobs from a sports hall assistant to a projectionist at a local independent cinema. She gained her level two cycle coaching qualification while employed as a bike ability instructor which led her to work alongside firefighters - sparking her interest in the role.

“I've been cycling from a very young age and then got into competitive running at secondary school,” said Lorna. “I took to open water swimming during the first lock down to improve my ability to deal with the cold. Swimming fast hasn't been one of my main skills, so a triathlon never really appealed to me. However, I was persuaded to do my first triathlon in July last year by a running friend, and since then I’ve competed in two triathlons, and at the European Championship Sprint Duathlon.”

Lorna said she was thrilled when she found out she had qualified for the world championships – and she said her colleagues at WYFRS have been supportive. “My colleagues don’t just listen to me whitter, but they help me squeeze in gym time during busy shifts. Also, so I could take part in the qualifying race a member from my shift swapped leave with me. It was straight after he’d come back from a family holiday, but this allowed me to set off at 4am and make the race.

“The qualifying race took place in Sunderland and consisted of two super sprint triathlons 90 minutes apart – the first one started at 8am so it was a very early get up. I was thrilled when I was told I’d qualified. Even though I’d love to win I’ll be competing with athletes from across the world so placing in the top ten in my age category is a nice goal to aim for.”

Craig McCulloch, Assistant District Commander for Halifax said the crew will be supporting Lorna every step of the way. “Physical fitness is an important part of being a firefighter, so they can meet the demands of the job. So it is fantastic to see when one of our team has such a high level of fitness that they are chosen to represent their country in a global competition. 

“We are proud to have Lorna here at WYFRS as she consistently demonstrates the skills and attributes needed to be a successful firefighter. We all wish her the best with any of the competitions she has coming up, and we will all be rooting for her in September for the championships.”

The Triathlon World Championships 2023 will take place in Pontevedra, Spain, on 20 -24 September.