Video: Ironman challenge for iron woman Marion

MARION Walker could be forgiven for putting her feet up and enjoying the quiet life.

Mike Bacon

MARION Walker could be forgiven for putting her feet up and enjoying the quiet life.

In her mid-fifties and having brought up three children, a part-time job at the local Post Office in idyllic Snape, would seem a sensible call for most.

But oh no, not Marion, she's training for one of the toughest sporting events on the planet - UK Ironman - and she's counting down to August 2, the date of the event in Bolton. MIKE BACON went to meet her.


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Marion Walker walks towards me in the sunshine, from the only shop in Snape, where she helps out at the post office inside.

At 5ft 3in and no colossus, is this 54-year-old mother of three really attempting one of the planet's greatest challenges, Ironman?

You bet she is, and she's determined to succeed.

Marion is not the first and won't be the last to have a crack at this challenging event.

But while many half her age would curl up in a ball at the thought of swimming 2.4 miles, cycling 112 miles and then running a marathon - all in 17 hours - Marion thinks nothing of it.

“My kids think I'm a bit barking, I suppose, but you know what kids are like, they don't seem to care what you get up to,” Marion, who is also a personal trainer at Leiston Leisure Centre, said.

The children in question, Kayt 19, Lauren 21 and Ben 23, may not be concerned that perhaps their mum has lost her marbles, but in the initial stages of deciding to attempt Ironman, Marion admits husband John was.

“I think my husband was a bit reluctant for me to do this initially,” she says.

“He knew the commitment required, but quiet honestly he has been the best support I could have wished for.

“He knows I like challenges and Ironman is the ultimate.”

Marion is no stranger to the tough stuff and she can already tick off the London Marathon, a Half Iron Man, the London Triathlon, the Swashbuckler middle distance triathlon and the Three Peaks Challenge as events undertaken and achieved.

But what on earth makes her tick?

“I don't know, I've always been naturally sporty,” Marion adds.

“It was when I decided to run the London Marathon I realised I enjoyed these type of challenges. I ran that in 2001 and it took me almost a year to prepare.

“I got the bug and haven't looked back since really.

Training is obviously vital.

“Of course it is,” she adds.

“I've been training for Ironman for a year now. I swim in the pool at Leiston, and in the sea at Thorpeness. At Leiston, 160 lengths is about the distance I will have to do in Ironman and I've already done that, so that makes me feel good.

“The swim is my biggest worry because it is on a reservoir in Bolton, where Ironman is being held. If I get through the swim ok, I'm confident of the rest.”

A member of the Framlingham Flyers running club, Marion moved to Snape in 1995 and enjoys the beautiful scenery available to her close to Snape Maltings.

She has allowed herself an odd glass of wine in the past 12 months, as her training builds up towards August 2. But when Ironman UK is done and dusted, what next?

“I must admit I don't know,” she smiles.

“Ironman really is the ultimate. I'll just get through that first.”

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