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Abi Symons Athlete Ambassador

by Alexandra Parren

cyclist fitness health

Abi is a triathlete who has come an incredibly long way. From being so scared of water she couldn't even put her head under a shower to competing in a triathlon with an open water swim. She talks to Sundried about her journey.

Have you always been into sport?

From a young age, I have been into sport and had a competitive streak. I originally started with athletics: 100m, 200m, long jump, triple jump and high jump. I stopped when I left high school and then start road cycling with my dad. I stopped around the age of 20 and then started pole fitness before turning my hand at body building and then finding a love of triathlon and the open road.

How did you first get into triathlon?

My manager at the time and best friend are both Ironman triathletes and they would constantly talk about their events and encourage me sign up to a race. I decided to buy a road bike as a compromise and a month later I had signed up to my first triathlon.

What has been your favourite race to date and why?

I completed my first race on the 26th September 2020 at Hever Castle, part of the Castle Triathlon Series. It was by far harder than I ever imagined but having not been able to swim for a year previously, it was a huge achievement. It is a race that will always mean a lot to me.

What is your proudest achievement?

Overcoming my fear of water and re-learning to swim at the age of 25 and being able to compete in my first ever triathlon. I had a near drowning experience in my teens which put me off wanting to go back in water and I was already a very weak swimmer. I got to the point over the years where I wouldn't even put my head under a shower. So within less than a year to overcome my fear of water, learning to swim in the pool where my fear started and then swimming in open water to then be able to compete in my first triathlon was pretty amazing.

Have you ever had any racing disasters?

To date no, but there is always time for a first.

How do you overcome setbacks?

I always look back at what I have achieved and how far I have come. I only compare myself against myself as I am my own biggest critic. As soon as you compare yourself to others, that's when the demons come in.

What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?

Buy a decent pair of running shoes. Mine were very old and I got all kinds of aches and pains. Nothing beats a pair of well fitting running shoes.

What are your goals?

I want to complete a 5km open water swim to prove to myself that I can swim that far and to also compete in an Olympic distance triathlon.

Who inspires you?

I have two people and they are the two people that encouraged me into the sport. Ken Barchambool and Suzy Knights. They are both such incredibly strong people and have done such amazing things. They are superhuman.

Why work with Sundried?

I really like clothing; the only pair of perfect running shorts I have. The fact that it is sustainable is really important. The customer service is fantastic as well and always so responsive.

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