Melanie fit for world challenge

A teacher who transformed her life by losing four stone in four months has been selected to represent Britain in the World Triathlon Championships in Australia.

Melanie Ryding, 37, did not think she would ever compete for her country in one sport – let alone three.

But just three years after losing more than a quarter of her body weight through Weight Watchers she will be swimming, running and cycling at the world championship finals as part of the Great Britain team in Australia.

Melanie, who lives in Wellingborough, with husband Mark, has had to postpone the start of her new job at Rushden Community College by 10 days to compete in the 35 to 37 age group in September.

She said she decided to finally lose the weight in June 2006, after she

could no longer fit into her size 16 jeans.

She said: "I just wasn't prepared to be that size anymore. I tried exercising before, but I felt too large, people kept staring and it was too much effort.

"I was really strict with myself and it was really hard work. Finding a sport I'm interested in helped me keep the weight off."

Melanie, who is 5ft 10in tall, previously taught excluded children in Corby and Northampton and said she left for the summer holidays fat, and returned thin.

She added: "Work and the kids found it quite a shock. As a teacher your life revolves around lunch and break and what you're going to eat next.

"It was like my life had just begun. All the things I do now, I never thought it would be possible."

Melanie joined Wellingborough and District Athletics Club and Northants Triathlon Club, but it wasn't until she started training with her personal coach Steve Casson that she decided to take it a step further.

Melanie, who qualified for the team on Monday, trains for 14 hours a week and said: "I laughed my head off when Steve first suggested it .

"When I qualified it felt amazing, I was flabbergasted. I've come from Mrs Jo Normal, completely unhealthy, to where I am now.

"It's never too late and anything is possible. If I can do it, anyone can. There is always a way, you just have to find it."

If you would like to try a triathlon visit www.justracinguk.com.