LendingMetrics is proud to sponsor our Operations & Facilities Assistant, Vicki Ayriss, known to her friends as “Cookie”, in her journey to compete in the 2024 Women's IRONMAN World Championships in Nice, France.

From humble beginnings, the single mother of twin daughters started a life-changing journey that would lead her to the global stage. “I was a single mum, with twin one-year-old girls... I was overweight and pretty low in mood” she recalls.

In 2015, struggling yet determined to keep up with her daughters, Cookie found the motivation to try out the Couch to 5K (C25K) programme, a 9-week plan aimed at beginners working them towards running 5km. Shying away from attention, she tackled the training program unaided and often with her girls in tow.

Soon, she discovered parkrun, a free 5K timed event; and ‘Buggy Bootcamp’, an exercise class where parents can bring their children along. This modest start would soon transform her life, with over 150 parkruns completed to date, these initiatives have become more than just races; they are supportive communities that have embraced her and her daughters.

Cookie’s venture into multi-sport competitions began by chance when a friend encouraged her to try a duathlon. Despite using her mum's bike and lacking proper gear, she was by no means an expert at the multi-sport, yet her performance caught the eye of a local triathlon coach. “You have a good engine, have you ever thought about triathlon?” they asked, a pivotal moment that steered her towards further multi-sport events. She bought her first road bike, competed in more duathlons, and eventually entered her first triathlon: the IRONMAN 70.3 Dun Laoghaire 2018 in Ireland.

Despite stepping out of her comfort zone, Cookie completed the course in an impressive 6 hours, 8 minutes, and 58 seconds, placing seventh in her age group. Soon after, she felt motivated to go further and participate in her first full distance triathlon, the Challenge Almere in Amsterdam. She bought her first triathlon bike and continued with her training, as a result, her triumphant performance at the European Championship secured her second place in her age group, a silver medal, and a podium stand position.

Unfortunately, in 2020 Cookie faced unexpected adversity as the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted her momentum. The sudden halt to competitions and the challenges of working night shifts, home-schooling, and managing mental health struggles forced her to take a significant step back from triathlon training. Like many during this period, her mind and body suffered, but with the world eventually returning to normal, she rekindled her passion for the sport.

Driven by the need to find balance for herself and her daughters, in 2023 Cookie recommitted to the deferred Ironman Cork. Her resilience shone through, resulting in a powerful performance at competition and despite the harsh, stormy conditions, she excelled. Finishing fifth overall and second in her age group, her remarkable comeback highlighted her strength and determination, embodying the true spirit of resilience.

Today, Cookie’s perseverance and dedication to the sport have earned her a place in the inaugural Women’s Ironman Championships 2024 in Nice, France. As she prepares for this monumental event, she is not just training for another race; she is building a legacy of empowerment for her daughters. “I am often asked how I do it all,” she says “The reality is it is a lifestyle choice, but it is also a passion. It makes me the best version of me.”

As she continues to train and inspire others, Cookie is also raising funds for Autism Hampshire and Bliss, a UK-based charity for infants. At LendingMetrics, we are proud to sponsor Cookie and will support her every step of the way. In the coming weeks, we will be sharing details of how you can sponsor Cookie and support her too. Her journey from a quiet road in her hometown to the global stage in France is truly a compelling narrative of transformation and achievement.