Chris Hanley - Athlete Ambassador
Have you always been into sport?
As a child I was brought up around cycling, my Dad was a very keen amateur cyclist back in his day competing in a few decent races. As all kids do I followed in his footsteps until I was about 16 and then lost interest really. I have flirted off and on for a few years in my 30s with mountain biking and a little crossfit but again life got in the way. (poor excuse I know). Then I discovered Triathlon and that was it.
How did you first get into triathlon?
In August 2017, I visited my mother and decided to weigh myself as I didn't have scales at home. To my shock I saw that the scales said that I weighed over 14.5 stone. Something had to change.
I joined a weight loss programme and I decided that I needed something to fill my time with, so I joined my local running club in November 2017. I decided to take on a Parkrun and then I started improving and knocking 30 seconds off each time. After completing my first half marathon, I became ambitious and decided to sign up for the GO TRI event at the ITU World Triathlon Leeds 2018. My running was coming along, and my cycling wasn't too bad, but swimming was never going to be my strongest element. I even managed to persuade other members of the club to have a go alongside me. Before I knew it, I was signing in at Roundhay Park with my wetsuit in hand. And pretty much never looked back.
What has been your favourite race to date and why?
70.3 Ironman in Portugal. Ironman can get a bad rep at times but I loved every minute of it. From the moment we landed to flying home you were caught in the Ironman bubble the race had pretty much taken over the town. Cascais the host town was beautiful. And on the cycle leg we even got to ride around a lap of the famous Estoril race track.
What is your proudest achievement?
I think my proudest sporting achievement is crossing that line on the 70.3 Ironman. It has a good 12 month build up to it and with my family and friends being out in Portugal to watch was pretty special. It was definitely something a few years earlier I though I would never be able to do.
Have you ever had any racing disasters?
Not really I try and plan for everything, I'm a bit of a geek like that. I guess the nearest I have come is my googles snapping as I was waiting to be called up for the swim. But like a good boy scout I had prepared a spare pair that my partner had with her in my kit bag.
How do you overcome setbacks?
2020/2021 have been I guess the biggest setbacks, after a storming 2019 I honest though I was going to smash 2020, races were booked, the winter training was going well, and then bang Covid struck. I lost all motivation, eventually the VR Ironmans got boring. Also during the last year or so I have moved to the other end of the country and started a new job, again Covid related. The training took a massive hit as well as the motivation. But 2022 is looking bright, the training has started in earnest and I am starting to book those races in. I even think this might be the year of the full Ironman (TBC). So I guess sometimes you just need to take a little time out when there is nothing you can do to rectify the problem.
What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?
Triathlons are no way as scary as they seem. And everyone looks silly in a wet suit.
What are your goals?
Full Ironman race, fingers crossed for 2022.
Who inspires you?
My Dad and now my little brother. My Dad was big into his cycling and was one of the first people involved in triathlon when I was a little kid. I don't remember too much about them except early mornings and being cold. I just thought he was mad. But now he tries to come to some of the races and is always encouraging me to push myself. My brother only went and smashed John o Groats to Land's End this year, a mean feat considering he only really started cycling properly again a year or so ago.
Why work with Sundried?
I followed Sundried for a good few years buying bits of kit etc. As you get older looking into the ethics and quality of a brand as well as the price points seem to become more important. (its an age thing I think, or the fact that you have to buy so much kit for triathlons). Sundried hit home to be on all the points as the kit is decent looking too, which is more that can be said for other brands.
To hear more from our ambassadors and get free tips on workout plans and more, connect with the Sundried Personal Trainers on our app.