Tri2O Triathlon Club - Newsletter
Tri2O News
The loss of our dear friend and fellow triathlete Katie Henderson on 12th June was so sudden and tragic. We have collated some thoughts, memories and photos that club members have contributed to this special edition newsletter to commemorate Katie. It may move many to tears, but we also hope it brings smiles to faces and brings back happy memories.
Katie will be greatly missed by all who knew her, such a bubbly, lively, kind and caring person to be around. I have had the pleasure to coach Katie for a number of years, firstly when she joined Reading Masters and more recently at Tri2O running and swim sessions. I can’t believe she has gone, only a few weeks ago we were laughing and joking on poolside as she finished a hard swim set barely out of breath while Glyn was on the side of the pool gasping for air. Such a gifted athlete, in her career she achieved so much. As a coach you come across a handful of athletes with so much natural talent, such a privilege to have coached and known her.                  Clive
ITU World Finals, Hyde Park 15 Sept 2013
Katie came walking back to the grand stand in agony, having had to abandon her race and her chance for podium place in the age group due to injury. Frustration is clear to see, the desire to do well but potentially having let people down. Katie was generally so easy going but once the race was on it was a different matter – focused and determined.

Another memory is that Katie once gave me a slice of her home made cake, in the pool! She loved cakes and enjoyed swimming, so why not do both at once? Double the fun!       Erik
We first met Katie at the lake in 2010.  She was number one on the ‘Stig Board’ for the fastest swimmers around the lake and was one of the first to join our new Tri club.  From the start, she was a regular on our group rides and runs which she approached always with an incredible work ethic and an amazing sense of fun.
In 2011, Speedo came to the lake for a big advertising shoot with world champions Helen Jenkins and Michelle Dillon, as well as Olympian Stu Hayes.  They wondered if we had any athletes who could join them for a simulated race start.  Katie arrived and instantly made a best-friend in Helen, charmed the Speedo team, and ended up doing a two day shoot with the other superstars.  They recognised Katie as one of them.
I must not be the only person to say it was an honour to coach Katie in the pool. The only difficulty was in providing some instruction that would help her to improve her swimming. It was at times quite intimidating coaching someone as talented as Katie, but she never made me feel like anything was beneath her or that I wasn’t good enough. 
Two years ago at a club social, I asked Katie what made her such a good swimmer.  She thought about it for a second and said “I don’t know.”  What she meant was “why are you asking me that down the pub?!”  But it shed some light on her mentality as an athlete. She didn’t question, over-analyse, or agonise.  She did what she loved and threw all her enthusiasm into it.
Whatever the training session, Katie was game.  She didn’t complain about weather, illness or injury.  She just got on with business. Katie would race with a broken leg.  She’d still win (or at least podium).  And she’d do it all with a smile on her face and incredible modesty after collecting her prize.
Just last winter I recall a ride in sub-zero temperatures around the Windsor Tri course.  I was keen for a ride but was sure no-one would turn up.  Katie turned up.  Without glasses.  With thin gloves.  Icicles formed on her head.  And we laughed about it all over coffee at the end of the ride.
Rest in peace Katie. We shall miss you.                  Dom & Ruth
Amazeballs Hendo was one of those people who by just being around you made you feel good.  She could raise the spirits of people even at 0530 in the morning or on a cold grey wet Sunday morning before heading off on a ride.  Her sporting achievements and determination are a given and so well commented upon by the tributes from BTF, swimming clubs etc – she just smashed anything she entered but was so modest and understated about her achievements.  She was a true Sportswoman and would have been a great ambassador for this country in the Para Olympics and embraced all that the Olympics stand for.  As a personality she was truly infectious with her happy outlook and energy but also some of her “blonde” moment episodes.  Laughing out loud was often common with some of her adventures whether that was stuck open windows or leaving keys in Cornwall  - all typical Hendos!  I have also rarely seen so much enthusiasm for cakes, chocolate, Creams, Starbies, new kit etc except probably my kids aside!

I always recall a conversation at Fleet Tri last year – in her 3rd year of tri and her asking me with a puzzled look “do we need to wear our number belts during the swim?!” – pool swim that was!! I should have said yes not that it would have slowed her down at all.

My last exchange of messages with Hendo were on Friday before she set off for Staffs.  I had been a bit down due to hamstring injury ahead of Deva but she dropped me a line and gave me some advice and told me I would be great and “smash it” – that’s just one example I am sure where she has encouraged other athletes.  We wished each other luck but I said she didn’t need it as she was amazeballs……. Wahoo.  I did a season PB on Sunday and just wish I could have shared that with her.

Probably way too much but I could write for hours – miss her big time. We have to keep training hard, smash our races and eat lots of chocie cake for Amazeballs Hendo.
               Mark A
Why the Goslings will miss Katie....?

Katie was AMAZEBALLS, her talent was unbelievable, her blondeness was irreplaceable and her smile was one of a kind.
We’ve been privileged to be at many events that Katie has over the past few years and each one has its own “Katie story” – far too many to tell! The ones that we will always remember are;

- Cycling as part of the “Pedal East” team from Lands End to Lowestoft (475 miles) over 3 days. We signed up for 1 day (the middle day) and joined the group who had cycled x miles the day previous. When cycling alongside Katie and trying to chat (I did more listening than chatting as I was maxed out and she was cruising!) it was clear she had NO idea how she was getting home at the end of day 2 when she was planning to stop…. Once we FINALLY rolled into London at the end of day 2 at midnight Katie decided to stay the night and ride day 3 – still with NO idea of how she was going to get home; bearing in mind it was going to be late on a Sunday night in Lowestoft with no accommodation booked/nor space in the minibus…. We still to this day don’t know how she got home – but she did!!!

- Another fine “Katie moment” was at ITU London Hyde Park when Katie was struggling with a foot injury and because of this was only going to do the swim and cycle…. When I looked at her trainers – they were near enough translucent….I really am not surprised she had a foot injury, her trainers were like 10 year old flip-flops!

- Katie and Ellie often used to meet up at Reading University Sportspark Tuesday lunchtime Yoga class – although there were SEVERAL times that she forgot to bring “appropriate kit” so no yoga for Katie!

- Just 2 months ago – Katie made contact with us asking whether we could support a group of her work colleagues who wanted to run our Dinton Pastures 5km/10km event by giving a group discount? Of course – how/who says no to Hendo?? So – voucher codes were set up for her colleagues and emailed over to Katie 2 weeks before online entry closed. However, Katie contacts us 2 hours prior to online entry closing asking if we could extend the entry closing as she hadn’t emailed out the codes to her colleagues!!!

- The crème de la crème for us though, was earlier this year when Katie was off to Lanzarote for the Paratriathlon training camp and asked us to borrow our bike box – of course, the least we can do. However, Katie being Katie turned up the night before her 5am flight with her brand new TriTrainingHarder  Team bike worth a small fortune with no iota of how to dismantle/pack it into the box and disconnect the electric gears/complicated head-set! Ian spent HOURS researching and working with Callum to work it out!!

Katie was AMAZEBALLS, her talent was unbelievable, her blondeness was irreplaceable and her smile was one of a kind.

We will and do miss you Katie.

Ellie, Ian, Max, Bert & Ernie Gosling
I am not sure I can justify in words just how inspirational, supportive, friendly, beautiful, talented and magical Katie was and will always be! I feel truly honoured to have known her and to have such fond memories of her. Bless her, she even had the magic to make going to the tip fun and emails come alive. I would just like to share an email she sent at the beginning of year………

Hi Ladies!! 😀
A very belated happy new year to you all and I hope the year has begun as you mean to go on, happy and healthy and ready to smash it.
Thanks Tasha for doing a great job as the women's captain 😊 bet the men's team aren't half as good of organised ha!
Really looking forward to watching / supporting and hearing how everyone's races go over the year. So far I've only entered 70.3 Ironmon in Majorca in May, Slateman the weekend after I think in May and 70.3 Ironmon in Staffordshire in June. Will definitely enter more, but usually do it more last minute lol 😜...
The bike handling course is a definite for me too please! And I'd also be interested in the fish and chip ride 😁 and will aim to do Club champ races too if I can?
Anyway, I'll shhhhhh now lol, hopefully see you all soon xx

To me this is just a small snippet of how Katie really would take time to support everyone! RIP Pink lady, miss you and you will be forever in our hearts txxx
A few memories
When I first talked about trying to qualify for the Worlds, it was a bit of a pipe dream, and I had little confidence that it was a realistic possibility. I remember so clearly Katie saying (in the showers – all these important conversations were in the showers on a Friday morning!) ‘Of course you should go for it, you can do it, of course you can’. The thing is, she said it like she really meant it, and I believed her. She was right – and that was more about her belief in the importance of chasing your dreams and putting your mind to achieving them, than any belief in my athletic prowess!

The national club relays in Nottingham, Katie, Alex and me hopping around like kids trying to sort out our race order and number tattoos, with our team captain Martin rolling his eyes in despair at our juvenile, disorganised inadequacies; putting the wrong numbers on the wrong people for the wrong races, and all the while having the best giggles ever. Whilst feeling like completely the weakest link in that team, I knew that Katie wasn’t exasperated or irritated by my performances, just ever positive and encouraging, and she was so excited for me when I smashed my 5k PB during that relay (thinking of the rest of the team drove me round that course!).

I miss her so much and the club will never be the same again. Still a great club, the best, but always missing Katie. I am sure that her legacy will live strong in Tri2O though.   Georgia
Tim's eulogy at Katie's funeral
Katie was one of the most amazing, inspirational people I’ve ever had the pleasure to know. For someone who achieved so much and had such potential she was so down to earth and approachable, she had time for everybody.

As a child she discovered swimming and that is where her dedication to an athletic career begun. She told me she had an agreement with her Mum that she would only get up early to take her to training if Katie woke her, which of course she did every time. Although I’m not sure Sarah had the same view being dragged around swimming galas with big sister.

Katie excelled at swimming and carried on her progression at Loughborough University where she won multiple national medals. This resulted in GB selection for the 200m Breaststroke and an invitation to swim with Ben Titley and the high performance group, which included swimmers like best friend and Olympian Melanie Marshal, World Champion James Gibson and World No1 Liam Tancock.

After leaving uni she had a short break from swimming, but it wasn’t long before she joined Reading Swimming Club for who she competed regularly. Katie became a world class Masters Swimmer, setting a world 200m Breaststroke record in 2009 and a British 1500m Freestyle record as well as winning national titles in breaststroke, freestyle, medley and relay. For her masters achievement she was voted Reading’s Female Sports Personality of the Year.

One of her coaches suggested she give triathlon a go and it soon became her new sporting love. Although it didn’t get off to the greatest start. In her first race she didn’t quite get the idea that the transition was part of the race, stopping to do her hair and change her outfit. She then managed to trip herself up with her own bike, cut her leg open, break the bike and ended up with St Johns Ambulance.

Despite this rather shaky start she soon started to excel. In her first season she qualified for the Sprint World Championships, winning a bronze in her age group.

As she developed her skills she increased the distance she raced over, to Olympic distance, becoming British Champion in 2013 again qualifying for the world championships and also competing in a number of elite races that year. Then half ironman, coming 5th overall and 2nd in her age group at the UK 70.3, qualifying for the world championships in Canada were she finished 3rd in her age group and 3rd age grouper overall.

Earlier this year Katie was selected as one of four guides for visually impaired triathletes training for the Paralympic Games and was part of British Triathlon’s development squad. She had a very realistic chance of going to the Olympics in Rio next year.

It’s fair to say she did suffer from one or two injuries and some not your typical sport related injuries. I’ve never heard of anyone else injuring themselves on a foam roller? They are meant to help prevent injury, not cause them. But Katie being Katie managed to do it not once, but twice, fracturing her shin the first time and then her ribs only 6 weeks out from the world 70.3 champs. But in typical Katie style neither fazed her, she did what she did best and just got on with it.

She achieved things most could only dream of, yet to her she was nothing special. She was gifted yes, but she worked so hard to achieve what she did, juggling work, life and training to be the amazing athlete she was. Yet she was so unassuming and approachable, when you spoke to her, she was more interested in what you had done than talking about herself.  In her eyes every single person was special and everyone could achieve whatever they wanted, if they set their mind to it. 

Katie meant so much too so many and I’m sure all of you here have your own special memory of her. Whether that was girl who turned up late to the Friday morning swim frantically spinning her arms around in warm up.
The screaming if an aeroplane came anywhere near her or just any time she rode downhill.

Or her cakes, she’d stay up until silly times making, so she could take them into work or to the next club training session
She had the ability to make everything fun, smiling all the time.

As a training buddy she never missed a session, alright maybe she was late from time to time and as a friend she was the best there was, always there whenever you needed her. The huge gap Katie is going to leave in all our lives is testimony to how truly special she was.
Katie wrote a lovely blog about her triathlon tales here:

If you would like to donate to the British Triathlon Foundation in Katie's memory, a fundraising page has been set up:
It was a pleasure to know Katie – some people you build up a relationship or get to know them… I think with Katie it was from nothing to friend straight away. Although you would think… hmmm… world class athlete, beautiful, tall person… bit scary really … she just so wasn’t like that in any other way. She was so interested in how other people got on in their races or training, or in what they were doing. I think one of the things that I liked about her so much was her pleasure in what she did – she was amazing in the Worlds 70.3 – and really happy about winning, but seeing her get out of the Big Fish Swim and be really equally excited that she had won that … it was amazing.

She was always fun to be around, had a gorgeous smile and was just such an inspiration. A really genuinely great person – and there are not too many of those around. I’m sure she would have gone on to do even more amazing things.

Katie we will really miss you and certainly the Friday morning changing room will not be so much fun without you (and yes they were legitimate shoes!!), RIP. Xxxx                     Nicky
My memories of Katie
Katie overtaking me towards the end of the 2013 Bramley 10 miler still wearing her warm up gear – and explaining she was still in the Portaloo when the start gun went off!! We were both laughing a lot!

Katie gliding effortlessly along on Lane 6 at our Friday morning swim sessions, looking like a mermaid. Taking the beginner swimmers from Lane 1 over to her lane to watch and learn…

Katie overtaking me on the run at the 2013 British Triathlon Champs in Liverpool (which she won spectacularly!) and still finding the breath to encourage me along. She ran a sub 40min 10k that day. British Triathlon interviewed her afterwards and there was a lot of positive media about her victory.

Dancing at Lola Lo’s till 4 am after the Xmas party!

Katie saying she wanted to “pop her Ironman cherry”. My future Ironman races will be for her, complete with pink armband.

Katie sacrificing her own race at the World Champs in London, to help her friend free her bike from some polythene which had become tangled in the wheel after a helicopter had taken off and wreaked havoc. This was just the sort of thing that Katie would do.

Her radiant smile and twinkling bright eyes. They will be remembered forever.
Xx          Harriet
Gosh... I hardly knew Katie, but am very much feeling that Nick, the club and the world has lost someone very special. It is so important that we as a community come together and get the most positivity we can out of this tragedy.    Mark J
She was an awesome, amazing, talented, ditzy woman who touched so many.        Abby

Katie was a truly lovely person. I was devastated to read what had happened and can only imagine what it must be like for those who knew her better than I did.

My abiding memory will be her arriving poolside just in the nick of time on Friday mornings, beaming away in a bright costume, swinging her arms furiously and then just swimming in a way that most of us could only ever dream of.  RIP Katie       David L

When I'm struggling in a race, I'll imagine I'm drafting her in the swim, sitting on her wheel on the bike. And on the run I'll have to look after myself! She was a winner.
If everyone who knew her did that, we’ll all be champions.
... this is a massive shock and painful for so many people… so unbelievable, so unfair… for Katie who continued to inspire and have so much yet-to-deliver potential… for those around her who benefited from her presence and being… and for those who loved her.

I did not really know Katie well enough, but she was always there smiling and looking happy. On pool-side, in pics of club-rides (fast or fast ‘n feisty), or even when she was merrily overtaking pretty much everyone in competitions! She never appeared as superior (apart from her obvious talent and performance), always just one of the gang, having fun.  Such a tragic loss, for everyone… even those yet to know her and what she could have done for them.           James

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Can you spot Katie in pink Viceroys kit at the back here!
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