Team GB exclusive: Sellars' journey from Leeds to Baku
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Team GB exclusive: Sellars' journey from Leeds to Baku

04 June 2015 / 09:49

When Heather Sellars moved to Leeds for university she had no idea it would lead to a career as an elite athlete.

Indeed, not only had Sellars never competed in a triathlon before, she had barely done any form of distance running whatsoever.

But if Great Britain had a triathlon capital then Leeds would be it and soon enough Sellars had caught the bug.

Five years later and it has taken over her life to the point where she decided to postpone her studies in nursing to give a career in triathlon the attention it needs.

That decision came at the end of 2014 and so far it seems to have paid dividends with Sellars making her World Triathlon Series bow this year before being named in Team GB’s squad for the inaugural European Games in Baku.

And while she is as surprised as anyone by her progress she knows she has made the right decision and can’t wait to compete in Azerbaijan.

“I am quite new to triathlon whereas most people in the sport have been doing it since they were very young,” she said.

“So I really never thought I would be part of a Great Britain squad and definitely didn’t think I would get the chance to go somewhere like Baku.

“It’s all down to the fact that I came to Leeds though at the end of the day and if I had never made that move then I wouldn’t be going to Baku.

“Considering most people had been going since junior level and I am there doing World Series events, it’s a bit crazy.

“It means a lot to me because I have stopped studying now to focus on triathlon full time and that was a big decision.

“I was doing nursing but I didn’t want to have any regrets and wanted to be able to commit full time to this so I could give it my all because triathlon is where my heart is.”

When Sellars began her roller-coaster ride through the ranks of British triathlon she counted the likes of Non Stanford and the Brownlee brothers as her idols.

Now she lines up next to Stanford on at the start of races and admits it all feels a tad surreal.

“I used to do swimming but before I came to Leeds I had never done running before and now that is probably my strongest stage,” she added.

“People always ask me how long I’ve been running for and they can’t believe it when I tell them it’s only been four years.

“But on a day-to-day basis I’m training with the best in the world and people that are my idols and I look up to so they drive me on.

“I find myself training with Non Stanford who is amazing and she was a real hero for me and now I find myself on the starting line with her.

“The ultimate aim always has to be the Olympics but the standard is so high in Great Britain that will always be very difficult.

“But I would like to think that I have got a good chance of running myself into a medal at Baku and that would be amazing.”

© Sportsbeat 2015