Berkhamsted mum with chronic illness beats World Record

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A Berkhamsted mum, chronic illness battler and sporting champion has broken a World Record.

Zoë Doyle, 35, alongside her teammates Kirstie Booth, Maria Shaw and Nikki Strurzaker broke the W45 age group 4x800m indoor relay by 37 seconds on December 29.

Beating the previous record of 10 minutes and 12 seconds held by a Spanish team, the mum of three and her teammates set the record during the British Masters Run, Jump and Throw Open Meeting at the English Institute for Sport Indoor Area in Sheffield.

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Zoë began her journey as a competitive middle-distance track athlete in 2015, and, as an Everyone Active Sporting Champion, has been receiving support from the centre since 2018 through free memberships, special events and mentoring days.

Zoë DoyleZoë Doyle
Zoë Doyle

Having already been crowned European W45 Champion in the 800m and 1500m, the record topped off an incredible year for Zoë, who trains at her local centre, Berkhamsted Leisure Centre, managed by Everyone Active in partnership with Dacorum Borough Council.

“My sporting career began when I was diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis type 2, a very rare chronic disease which causes my body’s immune system to attack my liver cells, after my first child, which focused my attention on my health and wellbeing so I could be the best mum possible.

“Following the birth of my third child, I started competing to get my fitness back. I started attending an adult swim course at Berkhamsted Leisure Centre and entered a triathlon in St Albans which I won!

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“From here I became more confident, and I enjoyed the goal and challenge of competition so much I started a career in fitness and wellbeing as a NLP Practitioner, Holistic Empowerment Coach.

The World Record beatersThe World Record beaters
The World Record beaters

“However, after a near-fatal car accident during a road race I was more determined than ever to continue on my journey and decided to join a running club to be able to compete safely.”

It was at this point that Zoë joined Belgrave Harriers, a London-based running club, where she became part of the very successful ladies’ team which, after being ranked number one in the UK for 800m and 1500m, led her to start competing on the track internationally in 2015.

“Exercise and wellbeing, mind, body and soul are important to every aspect of my life. Focusing on all aspects keeps me healthy and ensures my liver disease does not affect me, my sporting achievements or my family life. It helps my happiness and peace of mind.

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“Receiving support from Berkhamsted Leisure Centre was a real confidence boost as I knew I had the support from my local centre, even at the age of 35 and with three children.

“I’ve been able to achieve my sporting dreams of being a World Record holder, World Champion, European Champion, British Record holder and, almost ten years later, I am still achieving personal bests and getting faster.

“I see the centre as a supportive friend who has been a constant through my journey - it has seen me through my injuries and helped me get to peak fitness, the staff are always so kind and supportive and the energy and atmosphere in the gym is inspiring. It’s been a cornerstone in helping me achieve this World Record!”

James Tovey, general manager at Everyone Active, said: “We are delighted for Zoë and her team, and are honoured to be able to play a part in this incredible athlete’s sporting career.

“Many, like myself, see Zoë as a strong ambassador for the centre with her success, ambition and drive, and we can’t wait to see what she achieves next!”

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