In a people's vote, The ME Association's entrant in last year's London Triathlon – Katharine Vile – has won a place in the elite Triathlon Academy where she will receive training from an Olympic coach to improve her technique.
There were just four places available for training by Sydney Olympics triathlon coach Bill Black, with 250 people competing for them. Thousands of email votes cast propelled Katharine, from Mortlake in London and the other winners – Jessica Adams (30), Tristan Shipsides (26) and Louis Verdi (22) – into the hot seats.
Katherine, who is 35, said: "I want to thank everyone who voted and got friends etc to vote, very, very much. It's very exciting and it hasn't really sunk in yet. It will definitely sink in when I'm on my umpteenth lap of the park and am wondering why, why, oh why?"
In last year's event, Katharine raised £1,900 for The ME Association's Ramsay Research Fund. She had been ill for 16 years, after going down with ME when she was teenager. She's enjoying life once again – both as an athlete, and a film and TV specialist working in a leading London firm of literary agents.
The academy was started last year and is sponsored by Herbalife, who will also provide nutritional support. Last year's elite four all went on to represent their country in European and World Championships.