Have you always been into sport?
Sport has always played a massive part of my life. I served 27 years in the army and being part of a team has become second nature. Relying on someone to achieve your goals helps you progress physically and mentally while building confidence.
I started swimming at the age of 6 and it still plays a big part in my life, however triathlon is now my main sport.
What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?
I started triathlon training at a “late age” – 30ish. I was already fit from my army training so running wasn’t an issue. I have always ridden a bike leisurely so I picked up the pace and trained on my turbo every second I had; I even had a turbo set up next to my desk at work!
Competing in army triathlons was fantastic. They were run monthly and organised perfectly, as you would expect from the army. This gave me the confidence to enter civilian competitions when I started to climb the tables. My last triathlon was a sprint triathlon where I came 10th out of 450 competitors – I trained hard with no injuries so the early mornings paid off!
I like the buzz that you get from the other competitors. The kit people wear, the bikes and the stories at the end. Some competitors will have a great swim while some competitors will tell you the opposite. The bike section is the most unpredictable for me as you just never know; you may encounter a mechanical. The last stage, the run, is always in the back of your mind. Have you burned out? Did you give the swim and the bike too much pace?
All three disciplines need to be practised and practised again to make sure you finish the race. Finishing is the aim and it’s always nice to get a PB.
What’s been your favourite race to date and why?
Southport 2018 GB Age Group qualifying race; I didn’t make the cut that year however I learned so much about myself, both mentally and physically. The way my training had to move up a level to compete with disciplined and committed competitors. It made me more hungry and determined to be better.
And your proudest achievement?
Ironman UK Bolton was pretty cool to finish. My family and friends came to watch which was fantastic, especially at the end. The training was heavy but enjoyable. I spent lots of hours in the saddle and hitting the tarmac ready for the run. The aim of the race itself was to finish and forget the time (as long as I made the cut off) which made all three disciplines fun to do.
Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?
My toughest was Southport 2018 – I had a few disasters, the first being the swim. I was kicked in the face and my goggles were ripped off my face. This wouldn’t be a problem usually however the incident broke a strap so the goggles kept leaking; the swim was now even tougher than usual! After this I wanted to catch up and regain the time I had lost. This wasn’t the best tactic and the race started to fall apart. I came 11th in my age group when I was really looking at a top 4 place.
How do you overcome setbacks?
Learn from past experiences and try not to make them again. Stick to a plan and be race ready. If your training has setbacks, just do your best and come back stronger.
What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?
Take things easy and enjoy races when you can. Try other sports as enjoyment; this will ease the self-induced pressure that can sneak up on you for your main sport and your A race.
What are your goals for 2020?
I am planning to swim the channel. I have my qualifying swim on 16th October 2019 in the Lake District. This consists of a 6-hour non-stop swim in 16 degree water. I have a kayaker with me who will monitor the swim and make sure I stick to the rules and regulations. The channel swim will hopefully be in 2020 or maybe 2021.
Who do you take your inspiration from?
My mum. She has survived cancer twice and always fights back when it gets tough. I think of her when I’m struggling to pull through.