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Ashia Fenwick - Athlete Ambassador

by Aimee Garnett
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Have you always been into sport?

I come from a very sporty family and tried just about everything when I was younger. I swam competitively from the age of 9 and also got into cycling when I was 15. I was plagued by injuries though and had pretty much given up sport entirely when I found triathlon.

How did you first get into triathlon?

When I started university I had a back injury and couldn't do much myself, but was keen to remain involved in sport and use my swim coaching skills. It turned out that the triathlon club needed a coach so I got involved and a few months later after lots of physio, found myself racing BUCS Sprint Triathlon. I was hooked immediately and have never looked back.

If you are interested in starting your journey into the world of Triathlon, Sundried's kit is suitable for beginners as well as seasoned athletes. We have both men's and women's options available. 

What has been your favourite race to date and why?

My first British Elite Champs at Liverpool in 2016 is a big highlight. I was still pretty new to triathlon so lining up against girls I'd been watching on TV felt quite surreal. I had a storming swim, and although it all went downhill pretty quickly after that, it was a really cool experience and one I won't forget in a hurry.

I also love running the Bath Half Marathon every year. It's one of the few races I do where I'm not racing for a podium or a top ten, and I don't make myself ridiculously anxious with pressure to perform. The crowds are amazing and it's just a really fun day out.

What is your proudest achievement?

2018 Vitruvian Triathlon - Winning my Age Group & becoming national champ in my first middle distance race.

2019 British Universities Standard Distance Championships - Winning bronze for the second time in a really hard fought race.

Have you ever had any racing disasters?

Two main ones come to mind.

Back in 2017 I was lucky enough to go over to Ireland and race in their Elite National Championships. The night before the race I was giving my bike a final check over and doing some transition practice when my seatpost clamp snapped. I ended up racing with it held together using hose clamps and gaffa tape which as it turned out was not a very effective solution!

In 2019 I had entered the Alton Water Olympic Distance Tri as a warm up race for my big season goal, a middle distance race 3 weeks later. The Alton Water race got cancelled due to algae levels in the lake and I was fortunate to get a last minute spot at the Thorpe Park Triathlon instead. Unfortunately, things didn't go to plan as I crashed twice and then punctured. Better that it all happened now than in my A race though right? That's what I told myself, until I punctured again three weeks later, 60km into the bike leg of a 70.3. My emergency pitstop failed and I was forced to pull out of the race. That pretty much ended a disaster of a season so I'm looking forward to getting back to racing and making it to a finish line once more!

How do you overcome setbacks?

I've had to do more of this than I'd have liked to. I think the biggest thing I have learned is to take your time and not to worry about the pace or being slower than you used to be. Overcoming an injury or setback is different for everyone so you have to do it at your own pace and trust the process. I also find that looking back at past achievement helps me to see how far I've come and stay motivated to get there again.

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

Training for three sports is hard. It's ok to have an off day (and an off race) now and again.

Keep it fun - why do it if you're not enjoying it?

Finally, when racing in an open back tri-suit, always put suncream on your back!!

What are your goals?

I have had an extended break from sport over the last 18 months as I waited on a foot operation and moved across the country to start a new job. My foot is now fully recovered and my number one goal is to simply do a race! I really miss the adrenaline of racing and the feeling of crossing that finish line. Looking more long term, I'd like to return to racing Olympic and 70.3 distance, achieving European and world age group qualifications. 

Most importantly, I want to have fun training and competing in the sport that I love and continue to meet like minded people from all over the country and world. 

Who inspires you?

My mum is a big inspiration. She still competes regularly in athletics and cross country and runs or cycles almost every day. She is also my biggest supporter and spent years driving me to training and watching me race and I now try to return the favour and support her whenever I can.

My childhood swimming coach Kev has also been a big inspiration. He encouraged me to give coaching a go when I had my first big injury and has had a huge influence on my coaching philosophy over the years.

Why work with Sundried?

I have a passion for eco and ethical living and have been working on adapting my spending and lifestyle to be as sustainable as possible. That's how I came across Sundried.

Like many people, I practically live in sports kit when I'm not at work and have found some big favourites among Sundried's collection. The kit feels good quality, supportive, and incredibly comfortable which, coupled with Sundried's sustainable values made me very keen to work with the company.

To hear more from our ambassadors and get free tips on workout plans and more, connect with the Sundried Personal Trainers on our app.

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