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CPO Shawn Gimbert and Helen Webb with  their medals
The Outlaw Triathlon Medal
Helen Webb and CPO Shawn Gimbert from RNAS Culdrose

Culdrose duo team up in triathlon

Published: 24 Jul 2013

Two members of staff from Royal Naval Air Station in Culdrose in Cornwall have ‘Manned up’ for a full Iron Distance Triathlon event.

Iron Lady, Helen Webb [37] and training partner Chief Petty Officer Shawn Gimbert [42] both entered and completed the ‘Outlaw Triathlon’ at the National Water Sports Centre inNottingham. 

7th July saw an increasingly warm day for both amateur athletes who conquered the 2.4 mile swim; 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile marathon run in very competitive times. The race had 1000 starters with 911 finishing. A total of six Royal Navy personnel and one Royal Marine took part in the race. 

Helen, who is a former Royal Navy Physical Training Instructor (1994-2002), now works at RNAS Culdrose in the Motor Transport Department. She regularly runs for Mounts Bay Harriers Triathlon and Runners club but this was her first full “Iron Distance”. She completed the course in 12 hours 44 minutes, coming 3rd in the swimming and 27th overall female out of 107. 

When Helen was asked if she would do it again she said: “Yes …but not next year, I think every two years is achievable because I still want a life” she added: “the secret to my success at the event was the peanut butter and jam sandwiches that gave me that boost of energy to keep going”. 

Helen, originally from Ipswich inSuffolk, has lived inCornwallsince leaving the Royal Navy in 2002; she had a short ‘sabbatical’ year in the Royal Mail delivering the post then began working as a civilian employee back in the Naval Service. She went to Copleston High School in Ipswich before joining up. 

Shawn is still serving in the Royal Navy with a background in Air Engineering, predominantly in the Sea King community, and has served in almost every Sea King Naval Air Squadron at Culdrose. He currently works in Quality Assurance on the Base, keeping a close attention to detail in both his work and training. 

Shawn comes from Macclesfield in Cheshireand attended Henbury High School before joining the Royal Navy in 1989. His time for the `Outlaw’ was 12 hours 23 minutes which for him was disappointing having achieved 11 hours 35 minutes previously on a similar outing. He said: “I think I got a bit of ‘Iron man-flu’ which affected my time”, in actual fact Shawn was diagnosed with a viral chest infection, but completed the race and needed anti-biotic’s to help clear it up. 

Shawn represents the Royal Navy Triathlon Association, but he also trains alongside Helen at the Mounts Bay Harriers. Shawn dryly quipped that: “Helen could easily beat the magic 12 hours in her next race, but she may need to re-think her taste in sandwiches”.


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