Charlotte Harwood - Athlete Ambassador
Have you always been into sport?
Ever since the stabilisers came off my dad would take my brother and I around Richmond Park on our bikes of a weekend, taking on hills that felt like mountains at the time! As a child I was also really into gymnastics and swimming and as I got older sport and fitness became an integral part of my life, both personally and professionally.
Working in communications for high-performance sports teams and organisations has undoubtedly kept me motivated to stay active and to challenge myself. Having always run, swum, and ridden to maintain physical and mental well-being, I decided recently that it was time to combine the three and take up triathlon.
How did you first get into triathlon?
I was living in Dublin recently and it was my trainer, Rob, who suggested I consider giving triathlon a go. I’d mentioned that I wanted a goal to work towards and he knew that I loved all three disciplines. My goal was initially to complete my first triathlon in 2020 but due to the pandemic those plans got put on hold. I am now targeting a sprint later this year once I am back from Tokyo where I’ll be working on the Olympics.
What has been your favourite race to date and why?
I am yet to complete my first triathlon but my favourite running race so far is the Richmond Runfest where I proudly set a PB. The course is fast and flat and is set in the beautiful Kew Gardens in West London.
What is your proudest achievement?
I am most proud of overcoming the fear of getting back on my bike after a nasty accident in 2018 that occurred as I was riding home from work. A few broken bones and a real dent in my confidence meant that I resorted to running and swimming for quite a long time, too nervous to get back out on the roads. Fortunately, my dad who is an excellent road cyclist, convinced me to get back in the saddle and I’m so grateful for that – cycling is such a huge part of my life.
Have you ever had any racing disasters?
Fortunately, no racing disasters but I have had two cycling accidents in as many years which have resulted in trips to A&E and ending up in plaster!
How do you overcome setbacks?
Injuries or changes to circumstances that can affect your training are always difficult to overcome but I feel very grateful for the mental resilience that I have built up over the years. If you do the rehab and commit to your nutrition, then the physical side of things will look after itself, but for me I find that the real challenge is in managing your mindset and mental health when things get tough.
I find goal setting really useful when this happens – small, achievable goals. Don’t try to control things that are beyond your control and make sure you have outlets outside of sport and exercise that you can rely on to keep you balanced and happy.
What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?
Not to be too hard on yourself – you do this because you love it. Some days you’ll have a bad run, or you’ll go for a ride that doesn’t go to plan, but that’s okay.
What are your goals?
The first goal is getting a few sprint triathlons under by belt before completing an Olympic distance triathlon. Stay fit, strong and hopefully inspire a few others to join me!
Who inspires you?
My dad. As kids we were embarrassed when my dad would leave the house dressed head to toe in lycra as he went out to complete anywhere over 150kms with his road cycling club on a Saturday morning. He swore that one day cycling would be “trendy”, and he wasn’t wrong! His endurance is ridiculously impressive, and he’s inspired me to make cycling such a big part of my life and my identity.
Why work with Sundried?
I love that Sundried is an environmentally conscious brand with a genuine and authentic personality. The products are stylish and the online community it has created is awesome.
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