amazing women

#womeninsport…shining the light on Tara Jenkins

It’s Hump Day again…or as it’s now known, #womeninsport spotlight day! I am so, so blown away by the amount of attention my first post featuring Amelia Todhunter received. Though that possibly says more about how much everyone loves her than my skills as a writer, but regardless it was read far and wide and hopefully got the topic of conversation started. I had friends share it on their kiddies sporting clubs facebook pages, it was shared in basketball associations offices but most importantly, it was read by you. And I hope you are now inspired to watch a game of basketball, to watch Amelia and all the other awesome women who play ball, and throw your support behind them. Imagine the effect we could have for these women if we all went to a few games each season… #thinkaboutit

This week for #womeninsport, I’m featuring a lass from a totally different sporting arena. She doesn’t do just one sport, but THREE. She trains with the hubs sometimes. She competed for Australia in the World Championships held in Mexico last year. Who is she???

Triathlon is a big part of our lives due to hubby being involved. It is a sport that whilst growing in popularity amongst women, is still male dominated. For every female participant, there are usually 2-3 males. Sponsorship/ambassador wise, the ratio is about the same. Thanks to events such as Triathlon Pink, a national series of Triathlons run specifically for women, women only triathlon clubs and Ironman’s own Women For Tri program, triathlon is making great advances into the female market. And with the International Olympic Committee announcing team triathlon as a new sport at the 2020 Summer Olympics, women triathletes will be brought to the fore as an integral part of the sport. That all said, the gender balance in this sport as a whole is so much closer to equality than in it’s individual components due to it’s relative newness. The sport is practically new in that the first modern triathlon is considered to have been held in 1974. Not much older than I!!

There is still work to be done to get women involved and decrease the gender differentiation. If you have never watched a triathlon, I urge you to do so. There are races popping up everywhere now, most weekends from September through April will have at least one race on somewhere. I guarantee you will not walk away having watched one with anything less than total admiration for these girls (and guys) and the idea of one day competing in one! I know each time I go to watch hubs or Tara, I get all excited and think I’m going to start training and race one myself…or at the very least in a team! If anyone is interested, I’m pretty good in RPM when I get there so I’ll take the bike leg, I’ll just need a swimmer and a runner as I don’t really do those πŸ˜‰

If you are a Morn Pen local, chances are you either know this girl or have seen her cutting laps at PARC, in the bay, cycling the hills of Red Hill or the undulating roads between Frankston and Portsea or running somewhere around the Peninsula. She is what is known as a triathlete, aka a crazy person who is not content with doing just the one sport but likes to combine three disciplines and race around the country and world against fellow crazies! How exhausting?!

We first met TJ three years ago when Tom (the husband) decided he wanted to take up triathlon. Back then she was just a babe of 17 in her second season of racing with a big smile, a gorgeous heart and long blonde braids which immediately made Ella fall in love with her. Now at the ripe old age of 20 (who remembers that?!), she is about to embark on her fifth season of racing, has competed for Australia and still has her signature long braids! And Ella is still in love with her <3

1. Who are you & where do you hail from?

My name is Tara Jenkins. I am 20 years old and I live on the Mornington Peninsula in Mt Martha

2. What is your chosen sport? A brief career highlights reel if you please!

My chosen sport is Triathlon. Yes that crazy sport! I typically race in Sprint distance triathlons, consisting of 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run and occasionally Olympic distance, which is double a sprint. I am part of my local Triathlon club, Trispecify and also Knox Athletics club. Both these clubs have helped me progress across all disciplines over the years.Β 
I have been in the sport for almost 5 years now competitively. My major career highlight would have to be the 2016 Age group World Triathlon Championships in Mexico. I enjoyed every moment of the journey from training, to selection races to qualifying and competing against some of the best 16-19yr old girls across the world. With over 17 counties and 50 girls in the race, I was stoked to take away 1st Australian and 15th overall across the line. Although I had one of the best races yet, it definitely was the toughest to date, as I’ve never experienced hot and humid conditions like Cozumel, Mexico before.

3. What is your ‘normal’ week like? Training, playing/competing?

A normal week of training for me is about 12 hours a week off season and can reach up to 14 hours in season. I train everyday, with a rest day every 2-3 weeks. My week typically consists of 3 swims, 3-4 runs and 3 rides with a couple of strength sessions in between. Some days I like to call recovery days which might consist of an easy swim, ride or run. Triathlon is a bit addictive, as soon as you have a day off you’re ready to get back into it the next day.

4. Do you have a job outside of your sport? And why?

I currently work as a waitress, doing about 3-4 shifts a week. I find this enough as I have plenty of time to train and study.Β *as with most triathletes, Tara is unpaid despite representing her country. They rely heavily on sponsorships to be able to purchase equipment, be coached, to enter races and support sport specific nutritional needs.
5. What changes would you like to see take place for #womeninsport & your sport in particular to level up the playing field between men & women?
I would love to see more females take part in triathlon events across all distances. With increasing numbers in the sport I am looking forward to encouraging all women to take part and give it a go. Looking professionally, the Super League Triathlon was a major success for Elite Men this year with thousands across the world watching and supporting the event. This triathlon involved major prize money across the several days. I would love to see a Women’s Super League, as I believe it would be just as successful as the event this year.

6. Do you have sponsors you would like to give a shoutout to?

I currently have three main sponsors. Firstly I am lucky enough to be on board as an ambassador with Mornington Cycles and Specialized. This was one of my biggest opportunities yet. They have been a massive support towards my success and I am looking forward to the years ahead. I am also sponsored by Pro4mance Sports Nutrition, who I have been lucky enough to receive everything I need for refuelling and recovery. And lastly I am fortunate enough to be a local 2xu store ambassador which has many perks.

7. What does life outside of your sport involve? Hobbies, passions etc?

Life outside of sport currently consists of studying a Bachelor of Exercise and Sports science and Business management at Deakin University. This keeps me very busy! However when I have the time in the long summer break, I enjoy hanging at the beach with friends and keeping active outdoors which might involve walking along nice trails, or bringing back childhood memories such as playing tennis or basketball, just to mix it up.
How gorgeous is Tara’s family?! Her stunner of a mum also races Triathlon, her beautiful little sister is an incredible dancer and dad is a bit of a runner, very busy athletic family!
This is Tara & her boyfriend Noah (presumably in the off season πŸ˜‰ ) who, as a fellow triathlete at a high level, is a major source of support and also her training partner.

8. Tea or coffee? *this is super important!

Surprisingly I am actually a tea person. I love a good english breakfast tea, however I am beginning to enjoy coffee more and more.

9. Where can we see you play/compete next?

Currently it is off-season for Triathlon, so in the mean time I am focusing on building a solid strength base. At the moment I don’t have any major races in plan in the upcoming months. Alongside training I am participating in the Cross Country season, which I am loving and am finding it is helping build my running up quickly.

10. What does the rest of 2017 look like for you?

The rest of 2017 will be focusing on building up my weaknesses and strength over the off season to ensure I can come out stronger come October. My major goal this season is to qualify and perform well at the 2018 Age Group World Championships next year. I will be training hard for the rest of this year to secure my position in the team, and then the major focus will be to build up for the Championship race in the Gold Coast in September 2018.

You can follow Tara & her sponsors (who also feature her) here:

Instagram: @tarajenkinsss
Facebook: Tara Jenkins
Instagram:@morningtoncycles and @pro4mancesportsnutrition
Facebook: Mornington Cycles and Pro4mance

Β So, are you feeling like going out for a swim, bike or run?! Or will you be content being a cheer squad next time Tara races?! Tara will be posting on my facebook page for the next week, pics of her training regime. Just to make us all feel bad about not hitting the gym/bike/pool/track as much as we should be at the moment πŸ˜‰ Not really, actually just to give a little insight into just how much work a triathlete puts in. It’s crazy!! So make sure you pop over to see what she is up to each day.
Also, I went to the Rangers game on the weekend to watch Amelia’s teammates. Did anyone else go to a game? Watch #womeninsport play any type of sport anywhere?? Remember, I am putting the responsibility on each of you. It is up to us to start the #womeninsport movement so by the time our girls, be they daughters, nieces, daughters of friends, sisters, etc grow up, they are able to play sport professionally without worrying about finding a second job to fund their lives whilst they play for our country, our state, our town. We love watching them at the Olympics, the Commonwealth games, at the State Netball/Basketball/Tennis Arena, but what are we actually doing individually to help them get to these venues? What could we do? Simply going to a game/match and showing your face and support is awesome. As I said last week, all we need to do at a basic level is get bums on seats. Crowds bring attention. Attention brings media and sponsors.
Thank you Tara, you’re a superstar! Can’t wait to see you back racing in a few months, we will all be there cheering won’t we ladies???? xxx