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Steve Denniss Athlete Ambassador

by Alexandra Parren

man running through a stream

Steve spent 10 years of his life touring as a musician, but decided to pursue a life of sport instead. He talks to Sundried about training and motivation.

Have you always been into sport?

Up until the age of 14 I competed to a county level in high jump and also dabbled in shot put and javelin. However, I decided to take a different journey in my education and pursued music and playing drums. Fast forward 10 years of touring, recording and living 'the dream' I decided it was time to hang it up and found myself getting back into sport. I started running again age 25 and haven't stopped since.

What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

In 2016, after running 10 marathons, 3 ultras and a 24-hour event I decided I had had enough of just running so I entered a triathlon. I instantly fell in love and ever since I have spent all of my free time swimming, cycling or running.

What’s been your favourite race to date and why?

My favourite race to date has to be the world duathlon championships in Odense, Denmark in 2018. After a year of hard work with my training buddy Mark Mills we raced together and to his surprise (and delight!) I managed to pull back a minute deficit on him on the bike leg (the 9th fastest of the entire race) to finish 15 seconds behind him. I keep threatening to finally beat him this year!

And your proudest achievement?

Qualifying for the World Championships in Penticton, Canada in 2017, my first ever race in a GB tri suit! Finishing that race, placing 15th in the world whilst my daughter stood and cheered for me is a moment I will never forget!

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

I've been lucky not to have any 'disasters' however my toughest race was Redcar sprint triathlon in 2018. In 2017, it was my favourite race, belting hot sun, calm sea swim and an absolute storming bike (draft legal racing is the way forward!) In 2018, however, 50 mph winds completely changed the shape of the event. The sea swim was like trying to swim through a washing machine, on the bike we averaged 13 mph in one direction and 30 mph in the other and trying to hold a decent pace running into a 50 mph head wind is a task no one wants to take on! I managed to finish with a qualifying time for World Triathlon Championships 2019 in Lausanne though!

cycling hill triathlete bike

How do you overcome setbacks?

The best way to overcome setbacks is with good solid training and a well thought out race plan. There are things that are controllable in a race, going out too fast, nutrition etc. Some things you cant, punctures, crashing, the weather etc. The best way is to control the controllables and don't worry about what you can't! No point moaning about the wind for example as everyone is in the same boat!

What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?

You don't have to do everything at 100 mph, sometimes the best sessions are the slow steady ones!

What are your goals for 2019?

  • To place top 10 at the World Duathlon championships in Pontevedra, Spain.
  • To place top 15 at the World Triathlon championships in Lausanne, Switzerland.
  • To complete the Adventure triathlon 'savage' events which are 6 races over 3 weekends of Triathlon Sprint on Saturday, Standard on Sunday based in and around Mount Snowdon including summing the Mountain during the race.

Who do you take your inspiration from?

My main 'famous' inspirations are Michael 'Eddie the Eagle' Edwards, due to his sheer determination to achieve and complete his dreams in the face of almost total adversity and ridicule.

I had the pleasure to meet him recently and he gave me some great words of wisdom to follow my dreams and chase my ambitions. My other 'hero' is Sean Conway, coming from an Ultra running background the ridiculous adventure challenges he takes on resonate with me a lot, again I met him recently where he told me 'mileage makes champions, take the long road', a motto I use a lot during those long winter training slogs.

Outside of this my friends who I train with regularly are my biggest inspiration, watching them compete and train at relatively high levels whilst juggling their lives and jobs is all the inspiration anyone needs.

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

The most important thing about Sundried to me is the ethical nature of the business and products. In 2019 I believe it is truly important that we look after our planet and also each other, the materials used to create these products but also the work with various charities are what I value the most. The quality of the kit helps too! My favourite piece of kit is the Padded jacket, there is nothing better than finishing that long winter training run or that cold open water swim and being able to put on such a comfortable and warm piece of kit!

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