Kirby, the runner-up in the female senior category of this year’s Triathlon WA Triathlete of the Year Awards and mother of Female Triathlete of the Year in the open section Katey Gibb, started out in the challenging sport four years ago with little more than an interest in jogging.
‘I realised my heart rate went up so high while watching Katey compete that I might as well be doing it myself,’ Kirby, of Mt Lawley, said.
‘She encouraged me to do it, saying things like, ‘Lots of old ladies do it, Mum!’
‘It has been a really nice mother and daughter activity. We go to events and do a bit of training together, but she is so fast, she flies past me.’
Having taken up running at 43, Kirby was confident on her feet, but faced a few hurdles with the swimming and cycling components.
‘The swim scared me witless and each time I competed I thought I was going to drown,’ she said.
‘There are a lot of people in the water around you, so you get kicked and punched, and sometimes the weather can cause problems and you have big waves or you go out too fast and run out breath.
‘Once I get out of the water I’m fine, I’m on firm land, so I just keep going.
‘With the cycling, which I never liked, it was just a matter of gritting my teeth and keeping on going.’
Kirby said the natural high of competing kept her on track.
‘I get really bad-tempered and grumpy when I don’t train ” I’ve gotten used to the endorphins,’ she said.
‘I also really like interacting with other triathletes as they are all very positive people.
‘Last year, I climbed Mt Kilimanjaro and they were all really encouraging, whereas my non-triathlete family and friends asked, ‘Why would you want to do that?”
The inspiring athlete will compete in the London Marathon in April to celebrate her 60th birthday.