TV’s Beccy gears up for Ironman challenge

Beccy Barr, Nt presenter and triathlete. Pic: Sugar Studio Preston
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Many people who don’t participate in sport often use the excuse: “I don’t have the time”.

Others make time in spite of their hectic lives and commitments.

Beccy with Graham Liver

Take TV presenter Beccy Barr.

She lives in Lancaster, has a demanding high-profile job in Manchester, and is a single mum with a six-year-old daughter.

And she is training to do the Ironman UK Triathlon in Bolton in July.

That means massive bike rides, runs and swims – all while juggling her professional life and family life.

And she is also a Girl Guide leader.

How on earth does she manage to fit it all in?

The 39-year-old said: “I have to sit down and work out what I have to do in terms of everything, and see how I can fit it all in.

“It isn’t easy, but with planning you can always find the time.”

​Beccy ​is a familar face on BBC’s North West Tonight ​news programme.

​She ​was brought up in Lancaster​,​ where she attended Lancaster Girls’ Grammar School before moving to London where she earned a degree in government and economics from the London School of Economics and a post-graduate diploma in newspaper journalism from City University.

Beccy started her career with a spell at the Blackpool Citizen then financial services trade paper Money Marketing. Having initially trained as a writer, before moving to TV, her articles and columns have appeared in the Daily Telegraph, CityAM, CNBC.com, the New York Times, Boston Globe and Jakarta Post.

​Before joining the BBC, Beccy spent ​five ​years as a presenter at international financial news broadcaster CNBC in London where she fronted the morning programme Capital Connection and as well as anchoring Squawk Box Europe, Worldwide Exchange and European Closing Bell.

Beccy also travelled around the world broadcasting from Moscow on the presidential election and Madrid on the general strike, as well as travelling to Brussels, Dublin, Paris, Cannes and Warsaw to cover breaking news.

She finds exercise a great way or relieving the stresses and strains of her daily job.

She works four long days per week in Manchester and in between looks after her six-year-old daughter Hannah with the help of her ex-husband.

It is a constant diary of training, picking up and dropping off her daughter from school, and travelling to and from Manchester to work.

Beccy plans her training and life campaign with military precision.

She trains five days out of seven, and is now beginning to ramp up the time and distances

At least one day a week she goes on a long bike ride, and then straight into a training run to help her muscles to get used to the transition.

Then she will finish off the day with another bike ride.

Beccy – who admits she was rubbish at sports at school – got into running, cycling and swimming before her daughter was born.

As Hannah got older, Beccy returned and found she still enjoyed it. After completing a half triathlon, she got the bug and she set her sights on more adventurous events.

She is a member of Lancaster Colts triathlon club .

Even though she does most of her training on her own, she says the support and encouragement of her fellow athletes has been invaluable.

Beccy mainly works her training regime around dropping her daughter Hannah off and picking her up.

Sometimes she goes straight for a workout after dropping her off in sports gear

Another workout may take place before or after she picks her daughter up later in the afternoon.

Doesn’t Beccy ever get sick of the endless training and washing?

“We have a huge amou​nt of laundry to do – and most of it is mine​, “ she laughs

“But I love being fit and strong. I never consider it a chore when you love something as much as I love doing this.

“I live in Lancaster and we have some of the most sensational scenery around.

“We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world.

“In a couple of minutes you can be out in the sticks miles from anywhere.

“How can you get fed up of being outside training in this environment?”

Once a week she goes for a long swim and finds that is enough to keep her ticking over.

Beccy also does some gym work and indoor training for all-round strength.

In between, of course, she is off to Salford on North West Tonight duties.

In 2015 she completed the IronmanUK (3.8k swim, 180k bike, and a full marathon) in a time of 14 hours and 39 minutes.

“I enjoyed it so I’m having another go” she said. “I must be a glutton for punishment.”

She clearly enjoys a physical challenge.

She has also cycled a lap of Ireland, as well as doing Land’s End toJohn O’Groats.

Her job involves different shifts and long days and immense concentration.

But somehow she still finds the mental and physical energy to train for the Ironman.

“I can drop my daughter off at school in my training kit and then go off on my bike.

“I might even fit something else in before I pick her up again - often in my training kit.

“Avoiding injury is half the battle. Getting to the start line in good shape is a big deal.

“Getting to the finish line is easier in some ways because you have already made it that far.”

Like many athletes, Beccy has grown to love the physical challenge and the “feel good” endorphins that exercise can create.

“If I don’t get out I feel rubbish,” says Beccy. “I can plunge into a dark deep hole mentally if I don’t get out.

“It’s just the way I am – I’m meant to be outdoors doing something physical. Once I’ve been out and exercised I feel better and I’m a better person.”

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