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19th August 2000

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Friday 21 April 2000
Plucky player adds a new string to her bow
violinist Julia Hoyle
Compared to the fiddle, to run, pedal and paddle is really a doddle.
Just a few years ago, she was a self-confessed couch potato. But Manchester musician Julia Hoyle now represents Britain in the most gruelling of sports.

Triathletes compete in three disciplines:
Swimming 1.5km
Cycling 40km
Running 10km

The professional violinist with the Manchester-based BBC Philharmonic Orchestra only took up the triathlon two and a half years ago but is already hitting the high notes.

She's now heading off to Perth in Australia to compete for Great Britain in the triathlon world championships where she aims to beat her personal best of two hours 30 minutes.

How she reached the pinnacle of her sport, from literally a sitting start in just 30 months is remarkable, especially considering that the life of a professional musician is not the most athletic.

Julia cycling
cycling is Julia's best event
Julia Hoyle admits her idea of strenuous exercise was walking from the car park to the Philharmonic's rehearsal rooms in Manchester's Oxford Road.

"Really, I would just come home and put my feet up under the telly with a couple of cans of lager and that was it,"

But then the 35-year-old was given some doctor's advice. He suggested some gentle exercise, she caught the exercise bug, now she's an international standard triathlete.

Julia running
On the road to success
I suppose it is quite strange how things have turned out I'm quite surprised at myself. I just took it up as a way of keeping fit just because I enjoyed it. When I qualified for the world championships, I was absolutely shocked and thrilled."

Training has been intense. But her training ground has to be among the prettiest in the country - the Pennine hills around Holmfirth.

Julia says she loves the cycling, the running is OK, it's the swimming that she finds hardest. But compared to her day job as a violinist, she says the triathlon, even for a former couch potato, is a breeze.
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"Triathlon is a piece of cake compared to playing the violin" - Julia Hoyle of the BBC Philharmonic
Commonwealth Games triathlon event
BBC Philharmonic
World Triathlon Championships
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