Image: Bec Ohlwein / Triathlon Queensland
A strong, fierce, and determined woman, Jenny Alcorn is literally a Legend of the Sport. From winning the Elite World Duathlon Championships and becoming an Age Group World Champion in Kona 2016 to being a highly regarded coach at Surfers Paradise Triathlon Club, Jen has experienced all triathlon has to offer.
A competitive hockey player in her youth, Jenny met a group of triathletes at her local gym who encouraged her to cross train with triathlon. The challenge of training for three sports fuelled Jen’s competitive nature and she got her first taste of triathlon competition in 1985 at the Nepean Triathlon in Penrith NSW. The 1km swim, 40km ride and 12km run was not an easy firster event but Jenny’s first and only triathlon sparked a love for the sport which has lasted 38 years and counting.
A few years later, Jenny took the step into the world of elite racing and for the next four years, spent six months of the year in Australia and six months racing for a French Professional Team. One of the highlights of this time was winning the 1992 Elite World Duathlon Championships, which were held in Frankfurt Germany.
Being a successful female in any sport does not come without its challenges. In 1992, Jen won a race in Alpe du’Huez, France as a professional female and received a ring worth $500. The professional male, who won the same race, was given a new car worth $15 000. Being the positive individual she is, Jenny could only laugh at the situation and just continued to strive to be the best athlete she could be. Jenny describes her ‘elite racing’ era as ‘the best time of her life’.
While overseas in France, Jenny was offered a coaching opportunity with an Australian triathlon club. She accepted and made Surfers Paradise Triathlon Club her home. Within the year, the club had a rejuvenation which resulted in an additional 40 members.
Over her 28 years of coaching, Jen has mentored juniors who have gone on to become world-class athletes. This includes Emma Snowsill, Ashleigh Gentle and Luke Mckenzie. Coaching has allowed Jen to experiment with different philosophies and strategies, which is now applied to her current adult and junior squad. Managing and designing sessions to reflect the goals of athletes at different ages is challenging, but through her leadership style, clear communication, constant support and encouragement and inclusive club culture, Jen caters for all.
24 years after her win in Germany, Jenny had another memorable moment. After swimming in the clear blue ocean with turtles and riding 180km in the steaming hot lava fields, she won her age group at the 2016 Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii in a time of 11 hours 18 minutes and 6 seconds.
Triathlon is a lifestyle for Jen. She fell into, and then in love, with the sport and has never looked back. By sticking to her values, knowing her goals, and focussing on the job at hand, she has and will continue to be a role model for female (and male) athletes. Her dedication to athletes and their needs is inspiring to watch and our community is lucky to have such a kind-hearted woman who is so positively involved in the sport. Thank you Jenny.