Press Releases 2014-2015

The University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s very own Iron Lady


Nalda Wainwright, Senior Lecturer in the School of Sport, Health and Outdoor Education and Director of the Wales Institute of Physical Literacy, recently donned her goggles, cycling shorts and trainers to take part in one of the world’s toughest competitions - Ironman Wales.

Renowned as one of the most demanding Ironman courses in the world, Ironman Wales is an annual event that takes place in Pembrokeshire and is a test of physical and mental endurance, pushing competitors to their limits.  Including a 24 mile swim; a 112 mile cycle race and finishing the day with a marathon, competitors take in the splendour of the Pembrokeshire coastline whilst being cheered on by the hundreds of local people who annually line the streets, showing their support for these elite athletes.

But for Nalda, the Ironman was much more than a competition.  It offered a way of raising a significant amount of money for charities that are very close to her heart.

Nalda’s daughter, Ellie, was diagnosed with leukaemia at the age of fifteen.  Today, Ellie is a fit and healthy eighteen year-old who has thankfully made a full recovery and is settling into her first year at University.  But to thank those charities who supported her family through some very difficult times, Nalda wanted to raise some money – and what better way than to test herself in the Ironman Wales competition taking place in her home town of Tenby.

“I absolutely loved it,” says a beaming Nalda.  “The crowds were amazing - the level of local support was incredible.

“Ironman Wales has a reputation for being one of the world’s toughest competitions but it also has the highest number of local entries of any all the Ironman competitions on the circuit – there’s a great festival feel to the day, a real party atmosphere.

“I took 15 ½ hours to complete the challenge and yes, it was tough and I was tired, but it was nothing compared to what we as a family have been through during the last few years.  I definitely want to do it again and I’ve managed to convince two of my fellow lecturers to sign up too!”

As well as competing in Ironman competitions; being the programme director for the MA in Physical Education and a senior lecturer on the BA in Physical and Outdoor Education; Nalda Wainwright is also the Director of the Wales Institute of Physical Literacy. 

Physical Literacy describes a disposition that is developed throughout life. It is much more than learning skills and playing sport.  It’s about being confident, motivated, and about understanding why activity is important and how to be active - whether that’s playing sport in a club, walking in the hills, doing yoga, cycling, swimming or taking a dance class.

Education and high quality physical education in particular has an important role to play in fostering physical literacy so that young people are motivated and able to access a range of activities.

With the recent launch of Welsh Government’s physical literacy initiative for schools there is growing interest in the concept of Physical Literacy, especially its impact on the foundation phase – an area that Nalda is currently researching as part of her PHD.

“It is very exciting to see the impact of the Foundation Phase on children’s Physical Literacy and also on their wider learning,” says Nalda.

“Research has shown for some time that there are very strong links between early physical development and cognitive development and our data shows that delivering high quality Foundation Phase experiences can have a significant impact on pupil’s physical literacy and wider learning.”

From running marathons to running the Wales Institute of Physical Literacy, Nalda is full of enthusiasm and passion for physical education and its wide ranging benefits. If you’re interested in studying any sport-related courses at UWTSD taught by inspirational lecturers like Nalda, visit or call 0300 500 1822 for more information.

Note to Editor

  1. The Wales Institute for Physical Literacy at UWTSD has a team of highly experienced bi-lingual full time staff with expertise in the fields of physical education; outdoor education; sport development; health and exercise; physiology; nutrition; sports therapy; early years motor development; inclusion and special educational needs, and exercise psychology.
  2. The University of Wales Trinity Saint David was established in 2010 through the merger of the University of Wales Lampeter and Trinity University College, Carmarthen. On 1 August 2013 the Swansea Metropolitan University merged with the University.
  3. The University’s Royal Charter 1828 is the oldest in Wales, and it is third behind Oxford and Cambridge in Wales and England. HRH Prince of Wales is the Patron of the University.
  4. On 1 August, 2013 Coleg Sir Gâr merged with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David Group, however they will keep their own brand. Coleg Ceredigion merged with the Group on 1 January 2014.

Further Information

  1. For more information please contact Sian-Elin Davies, Senior PR and Communications Officer, on 01267 676908 / / 07449 998476