Bill Irvine Athlete Ambassador
Bill grew up in South Africa and has enjoyed sport his whole life. He talks to Sundried about life as a triathlete.
Have you always been into sport?
Yes, I grew up in South Africa where we enjoyed a very outdoor lifestyle. Taking part in lots of different sports was pretty much a way of life and actually compulsory at one of my schools. I was fortunate to have opportunities to try a lot of things and spent quite a lot of time playing rugby, basketball, golf and tennis as well as fun stuff like surfing and cycling. Athletics and running were never my favourite things but I definitely grew into them as an adult.
What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?
I had some running injuries and was feeling sorry for myself when I bumped into a relative at a family gathering. When I told him I wasn't running that much, he asked if I had a bike. When I answered yes, he told me without any hesitation that I should be doing triathlon. That sowed the seed. I had a look, liked what I saw, and just went for it. Now, I train with a club and race whenever I can. I am also a Regional Technical Official so my calendar is pretty full during the season.
What’s been your favourite race to date and why?
My first race, which was a super sprint at Knockburn Loch in Aberdeenshire. I still remember that massive adrenaline rush of getting out of the loch, jumping on my bike, riding as hard as I could and feeling the water drying off me. After about a mile, there’s a great downhill section though the woods where I just whooped out loud I was so excited. It was quite a small field and I managed to win the prize for being 1st overall male which I’ve never achieved since!
And your proudest achievement?
Probably finishing my first marathon in Edinburgh. Crossing the line, I wasn't sure whether to laugh, cry or fall down. I had trained for months with a gang of four friends and it was amazing to meet up with them all minutes afterwards and realise the job was done.
Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?
No real disasters but my toughest race was a triathlon in the spring where it was extremely wet, windy and cold. I was carrying a foot injury and probably shouldn’t have been racing. By the time I got off the bike, my feet were like blocks of ice and I went into the run with not much sensation in them. By the end of the run, I was in so much pain I could hardly walk. I learned a lot from that!
How do you overcome setbacks?
Take a look at how far I’ve come. I developed some unhealthy habits in my 20s but I now get so much enjoyment out of pushing my body in training and competing that it would be crazy to revert to those. I’ve also come to accept that the older we get, the longer it takes for injuries to go away.
What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?
Buying more bikes won't make you any faster.
What are your goals for 2020?
Remaining injury-free! It’s frustrating when a good block of training is cut short because of aches and pains. Event-wise, I am undecided but there are a couple of exotic middle distance races I’m looking at and I might just squeeze in another marathon in the autumn.
Who do you take your inspiration from?
I have a couple of favourite athletes but generally it's the guys and girls who compete at the top level and don't let bad situations get the better of them. I really admire that mental toughness that is so evident in some athletes during long races.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?
I like that that Sundried do so much charity work. Growing up where I did, I realise that participation in sport is a privilege and the fact the company donates to less privileged causes is great.
The soft shell jacket is great. It's warm, comfortable and looks awesome with the Sundried logo placement.