Charles Atkins Athlete Ambassador
Charles discovered a love for running and never looked back. He talks to Sundried about training and racing.
Have you always been into sport?
Yes, I have been playing sport from an early age. At the age of 8 I began by playing rugby and continued this all the way up until I was 19 for both club and school. From the age of 10 I began playing tennis and this is still an important part of my life today. Then I did a bit of running as an important part of rugby training and just to maintain my fitness levels. However, over the last 2 years running has taken over my life and is now a mainstay in my week.
What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?
After completing numerous half marathons and occasionally attempting the odd marathon, I decided I wanted to push myself further and start to take triathlon seriously, with the end goal of completing an Ironman. I have always had a road bike to complement my running, so it would be nice to implement this into races too.
What’s been your favourite race to date and why?
My favourite race to date has definitely been the Anglesey Half Marathon. This was the first time I participated in this race and it was the first time I felt like everything just clicked. I was running well despite the conditions and was able to achieve a personal best by some distance.
And your proudest achievement?
My proudest achievement to date is definitely completing the 3 Castle half marathon series. I began this challenge not knowing if I could even run a half marathon. The Snowdonia half was definitely an eye opener to what I was capable of doing and with some more intense training the remaining two races led to two new PBs.
Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?
My toughest race yet is easily my first race: the Snowdonia half marathon. I definitely underestimated the difficulty of this course and the challenge ahead. This race is known for its tough 7:1 hill which you’re faced with fairly early on. I manged to make it up the hill hardly breaking stride and was able to complete the next 9 miles fairly comfortably, unaware that we had to face the same hill in the last mile of the race too. After making it halfway up the hill, my legs just couldn’t take it and I was forced to walk to the top before I could begin running again. So not necessarily a disaster of a first race but certainly a tough one.
How do you overcome setbacks?
I’ve had my fair share of set backs in recent years, including a back injury which meant I couldn’t partake in sport for 9 months. Consequently, missing what would have been my first half marathon and a large proportion of the tennis season. This was certainly a huge setback, but to overcome it I listened and took advice from both a chiropractor and a physio, carried out the recommended exercises to strengthen my back and didn’t rush back into sport too early.
Once fit, I began to start playing sport carefully and set goals for myself, so I could monitor my progress. When I was 100% fit, I got back out there and participated in everything I had missed and I believe I finished all those races and matches better than what I would have, pre-injury.
What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?
Simply that not every training session has to be a personal best.
What are your goals for 2019?
My goals for 2019 are:
- Climb Mount Kilimanjaro
- Run a sub 4-hour marathon
- Complete my first triathlon
- Begin training for my first Ironman
- Run a sub 1 hour 30 min half marathon
Who do you take your inspiration from?
Where to start, there are so many inspirational people out there but recently I’ve enjoyed seeing what these athletes have achieved; Lucy Charles-Barclay, Andy Murray, Charlotte Purdue and Ben Parkes.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?
I love the fact that all these superbly designed performance products are made ethically and sustainably. My favourite bit of kit is definitely the Dom 2.0 running vest.