swimming open water triathlon

Amanda suffered organ failure in 2016 but has gone on to achieve extraordinary things as well as aspiring to qualify for the Ironman World Championships. She talks to Sundried about her journey.

Have you always been into sport?

I’ve always loved sport. I was a runner and ran the London marathon as soon as I was old enough. I had a mainly dance and music background but found I could run during the 1500m at school and started taking it seriously then.

What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

I was diagnosed with intestinal failure in 2016 and subsequently started on artificial nutrition. As I’d done numerous marathons and half marathons, I decided to enter a triathlon and branch out post-diagnosis. Being in organ failure, I really wanted to focus on living well with it and managing the symptoms by doing the things I loved.

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

I loved taking part in the Minehead triathlon. It's a hilly course and I raced with a friend and we loved the trail run. We started together and decided to finish together. I found the camaraderie in the sport amazing and it really took off.

What's been your proudest achievement?

My proudest achievement was definitely going sub 1 hr 20 on my half marathon run after a 56-mile bike. Especially doing it with organ failure, it gave me hope that I could actually achieve my dream of going to Kona.

Have you ever had any racing disasters?

I took part in a duathlon with a major racing disaster. My stoma bag leaked towards the start and I didn’t have time to change so ended up taping my bag to my stomach. This meant riding the bike like Mary Poppins so not to leak even further. I ended up coming in 17th in my age group so definitely not too bad a day.

How do you overcome setbacks?

Setbacks are just set ups for a major comeback. Having organ failure, I encounter a fair few, however I keep the faith and hope that I can always come back and always focus on the bigger picture rather than what is setting me back. Everything in life is a journey and it isn’t meant to be easy.

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

The best advice is to take everything in stages and build your distance gradually. Don’t push yourself in training all the time, it’s okay to take a rest day.

What are your goals?

I want to qualify for Kona at Ironman Wales 2021 and become the first person on artificial nutrition to compete at the Ironman World Championships. My focus is completely on Kona and qualifying. As well as my own goals I also want to inspire others with intestinal failure that anything is possible and we can still achieve despite the adversity.

Who inspires you?

My biggest inspirations are Christie Wellington, Bethany Hamilton, my consultant Simon Gabe, and my biggest hero has to be my Mum.

Why work with Sundried?

I love Sundried clothing as I found they accommodated my medical attachments really well. My stoma had room to breathe and wasn’t constricted and my chest supported to keep my Hickman line in place. I’m also an ethical person and appreciate a clothing brand with ethical values as I think we all have a responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint on the environment.