Paralympic triathlon medalist Melissa Reid is saving herself gruelling 600-mile rounds trips by heat training in the Eden Project’s Rainforest Biome.
Having won a bronze at the Rio Paralympics in 2016, the 28-year-old Cornwall-based elite athlete has her heart set on competing at the next summer games in Tokyo.
To prepare for the high heat and humidity of running, cycling and swimming in Japan, Melissa was facing the prospect of long drives to and from Loughborough University, Leicestershire, Team GB’s Triathlon team centre, over the next year.
She then hit on the idea of asking Eden – home of the world’s biggest undercover rainforest and based just 25 miles from her home near Falmouth – if she could train in the Biome. Managers at the project said they would be happy to help.
With the agreement of her Paralympic medical team, Melissa is soon to start training at Eden.
By attaching her road bike to a turbo trainer, turning it into a static spinning bike, Melissa, who is visually impaired, will be cycling near the top of the Rainforest Biome. Each of her training sessions will last between 60 and 90 minutes, including three bike sessions as well as two runs around the Biome paths.
The relationship with Eden will have a massive impact on Melissa’s training programme, as her only other option to carry out heat and humidity preparation would have been travelling to Loughborough for a week or two at a time. Not only would this take away valuable time from her training regime and her support network, the carbon footprint of the repeat journey would be very high.
Melissa said: “It’s great that I can now train so close to home. We joked that we should have run around the Rainforest Biome after coming back from the Rio Paralympics, as it was much hotter than anyone anticipated. Due to this, the British team have been focusing on heat training for the Tokyo Paralympics.
“It’s important to see how the body copes under intense climate conditions. I hate leaving Cornwall, I love training down here so I thought it was worth contacting Eden to ask if I could carry out part of my training with them and I was delighted when they agreed.
“I’m looking forward to pushing my body in the heat of the Rainforest Biome as well as having a nice view to keep me motivated during hard times. I’m hoping some of the animals will come and keep me company!”
Melissa represented Great Britain in the 2016 Paralympics and was thrilled to bring back a bronze medal for Team GB. Back in 2013, Melissa also won five International golds, including two World Championships.
Currently Melissa’s International Triathlon Union (ITU) Paratriathlon World Ranking is 15th. She suffered an injury in 2017 and fell down the rankings from third place.
In order for her to qualify for the Tokyo games, she needs to be ranked 10th or higher before June 2020. To gain points to move up the ranks, Melissa will be competing in the World Circuit races which she will need to fund herself.
She is reaching out to the public to support her in her goal to compete in the Tokyo Paralympics. A breakdown of all the World Circuit races leading up to Japan and how she can be supported can be found on her new website www.teammissi.co.uk
source: Eden Project