Ben is a triathlete who first picked up the sport at university and now competes at a world level. He talks to Sundried about training and racing.
Have you always been into sport?
Yes, my family are all very active and love the outdoors. They have always encouraged me to lead an active and healthy lifestyle. I swam for Copeland ASC when I was young and enjoyed athletics at school.
What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?
I became a member of the triathlon club at the University of York in 2014. Swimming was my focus through university but after I graduated, triathlon became my priority.
What’s been your favourite race to date and why?
Ironman Cairns 2019. Ironman call it their "race in paradise". The swim starts on a beautiful beach lined with palm trees, the bike course traverses a tropical rain forest and the Great Barrier Reef and the support on the run course is fantastic. I finished 10th in my AG and 3rd Brit overall; my best result over the long distance.
And your proudest achievement?
Racing at the European Age Group Championships 2018. I underwent emergency reconstructive surgery to my left elbow following a bike crash in September 2017. It took 10 months of rehabilitation and physiotherapy to make the start line. I was lucky enough to share the moment with my family who came to Estonia to watch the race. I am so grateful to my coach, family and friends for supporting me through the recovery process. The finish line was very emotional. Its a race I will never forget!
Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?
My toughest race was Ironman Wales 2014. It was my first long distance race and I was totally unprepared (physically and mentally) for the demands of the course. I walked the final 12 miles and finished in the dark. But what doesn't kill you makes you stronger! I was determined I could do better and 5 years later I am now almost 5 hours faster over the IM distance.
How do you overcome setbacks?
Stay calm, accept that some things are outside your control and make a game plan to start moving forward. I had a note written in my training diary after my injury. It read: "Have the courage to change what you can change, the patience to accept what you cannot and the wisdom to know the difference between the two".
What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?
Enjoy it! Don't forget that you do this because you love it. That is not to say that training and racing aren't hard work (they are!) but triathlon has a huge positive impact on my mental and physical health that significantly outweighs the occasional tough training session.
What are your goals for 2019 and 2020?
To keep fit and enjoy racing!
My A race this year was Ironman Cairns in June but I will be racing Brighton Triathlon in September.
My A race next year will be the ITU Age Group Long Distance World Championships in Amsterdam.
Who do you take your inspiration from?
My coach: Fiona Ford is a former elite triathlete who suffered a high impact injury on a training ride. Her insight and empathy has been incredibly helpful in helping me return to racing after my surgery in 2017. I will forever be grateful for her support and encouragement during that difficult time.
My friends: I am lucky to have trained and raced with some amazing athletes. Having friends who set the bar high helps to get the best out of me!
My family: Their relentless enthusiasm is both exhausting and humbling! I cannot express how much their support means to me.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?
I love the fact that Sundried support so many events (in the UK and abroad) encouraging people to participate in sport. Sport can have an amazing positive impact on your life regardless of your speed or results!
Their range of sustainable activewear is top quality. I fully support Sundried's message of quality over quantity, both from an environmental and performance standpoint.
It is also fantastic to see Sundried taking its environmental responsibilities so seriously by making clothing from recycled materials. Who'd have thought coffee could be made into sports clothing? As a self-confessed coffee addict, I love the technology in the Olperer Eco Charge T-shirt. It looks great too; I really like the simplicity in the colour schemes.