Matt Papa Triathlete Sundried Matt is a young triathlete who completed his first race 5 years ago. He tells Sundried how his background in sport has helped him become an elite junior athlete.

Have you always been into sport?

Yes, I have always been in one sport or another whether it be football, rugby or competing in swimming, cycling and running as individual sports. From an early age, I used to compete in swimming galas and played football at a local level and then quit football and began athletics as well as continuing my swimming. In 2011, I competed in my first multisport event which was an aquathlon. I am passionate about sport in general and it has been something which I have always done and enjoyed.

What made you decide to enter triathlon?

I had previously been competing in swimming and running events but due to injuries and beginning to lose interest in the individual sports I decided to combine the two and compete in an aquathlon (swim and run). After that race, I was hooked and decided to join a local triathlon club and competed in my first triathlon around 5 years ago.

What’s been your best race to date?

My best race to date has come recently when competing at Weymouth half marathon. Going into the race I was aiming for a top 10 finish and a sub 1 hr 20 time but surprised myself with 4th and a time of 1.16.59 which was great.

And your proudest achievement?

My proudest achievement to date has also come recently with qualifying and racing at the British duathlon championships as an Elite, although the race did not go as planned.

Have you ever had any racing disasters / your toughest race yet?

Thankfully over the years I haven’t had complete race disasters, only the odd fall of the bike which has still meant I finish the race. The closest I have come to having a complete race disaster was at the British Duathlon championships in Bedford; it was my first elite race and a race I aimed to do quite well in. The first run was quick and the fastest 5k I’ve ever done, with a 16:33, nearing the end of the bike I began suffering from cramp in my right calf, thankfully I was only a couple of km from transition so I could just about get back, but got dropped from the group I was in and lost around a minute over the last few kms of the bike. I got back to transition and got the shoes on ready for the second run, after around 500 meters of running the cramp came back and I had to stop completely and stretch my leg out whilst I watched other athletes run past, thankfully after about 15 seconds of stopping and stretching, I continued and finished 26th in the Junior elite race.

How do you overcome setbacks?

Focusing on the end goal.

What is the best bit of advice you wish someone had told you before you started competing?

Set out realistic short term goals which will keep motivation high and will make training easier.

What are your goals for 2017?

For 2017 I plan on completing a few races at Junior Elite level; I have already competed in the British duathlon championships and aim to race Blenheim Palace triathlon. I am also aiming to qualify for Great Britain in the European age group Championships in 2018.

Who do you take your inspiration from?

I take inspiration through all those coming into the sport of triathlon and beginning something which is enjoyable, healthy, and friendly all at the same time.

What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?

There are numerous reasons for why I like Sundried. Firstly, they create and offer great products made for the consumer with no short cuts taken, they think outside the box to bring a variety of features to already top quality clothing.

Sundried’s brand ethics and values are unlike many other companies, as they care about where their product is produced, what it is created with and the impact it has on the environment. Not only do they try and protect the environment and minimise the carbon footprint when creating the product, they also give back to their chosen charity ‘Water for kids’, with every purchase helping make a difference in a child’s life.

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