Chris is a triathlete who has been on some fantastic adventures. He talks to Sundried about his journey.
Have you always been into sport?
Yes, pretty much, although most of my youth was spent on the football field. I returned to cycling and running later in life when I finally hung up my football boots. The cycling especially has given me many adventures including cycling from London to Paris three times for charity. I have only recently discovered triathlon and I am absolutely loving it.
How did you first get into triathlon?
My wife and kids have been part of a triathlon club for a few years, whilst I was in a cycling club. After resisting for a while, I slowly got sucked in! At first, I was only taking part in the run and bike sessions as I was virtually a non-swimmer. Eventually I drummed up the courage to attend the coached swim session in the development lane. Initially I really struggled as I couldn’t swim two consecutive lengths without stopping. At that point I thought I would never be able to complete a triathlon over any distance. For someone who was naturally fit and good at most sports, I found it difficult both physically and mentally to cope with the fact that I was a terrible swimmer. Despite this I stuck at it making sure that I swam at least twice a week and I gradually started linking lengths. Eventually I was able to get to the point where I could swim 400 meters without stopping. That was when I finally thought, “Yes…. I can do this!”
What has been your favourite race to date and why?
As I’m pretty new to the sport I don’t have too many races to choose from, but I really enjoyed my first triathlon that had an open water swim. That took place at Alderford near Whitchurch in September 2020 and was one of the few that escaped the covid ravaged season. I surprised myself with a much quicker swim time than I anticipated and loved the bike and run. I also very much appreciated the effort that the organisers had made to ensure the race went ahead. You take so much for granted at these events and it’s only when the opportunity to race is taken away that you realise what you are missing.
What is your proudest achievement?
This has to be my first triathlon as I never thought I would ever be able to complete one. It was a pool sprint triathlon, and I was really slow out of the water, but I didn’t care. I had conquered my biggest fear and grinned my way around the bike and run! I'm also immensely proud of the London Paris charity bikes rides. I rode with a group of friends and colleagues that helped raise over £30,000 for Bloodwise and the battle against blood cancers. I met some truly inspirational people along the way.
Have you ever had any racing disasters?
Not as yet but hoping I can avoid as many as these as possible as my triathlon career progresses. I have had a few on the bike though, including taking a wrong turn in a sportive and descending at speed straight into a ford on a river!
How do you overcome setbacks?
Injuries are part and parcel of any sport and overcoming them is never easy. It is important to focus on the long-term goal instead of getting down about the here and now. I’m not sure if being positive means you heal quicker, but negativity definitely doesn’t help and the journey back to full fitness is much more enjoyable if you have a strong positive attitude.
What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?
To start out earlier! As a 50+ triathlete I’m fully aware that I’ve definitely peaked in terms of physical fitness. However, I am living proof that you are never too old to learn a new skill or start a new chapter. If you are willing to step out of your comfort zone the rewards are fantastic, and you never know what you are capable of until you give it a go.
What are your goals?
Well, 2020 was supposed to a year of progression before covid intervened. Instead, 2021 is already looking like being a packed 12 months. I have six triathlons booked throughout the spring and summer with the last three at Olympic distance. My season will culminate in September in Italy with Ironman 70.3 Emilia Romagna where my wife and I will both be competing. I am also aiming to complete my first marathon in May.
Who inspires you?
I am always inspired by older athletes who are still giving it a go despite getting on in years. At the last triathlon I entered there was a guy sorting his kit out in transition next to me and he was well into his 70’s and still competing. Also, my wife Claire is an Ironman and the reason that I got into triathlon in the first place. The effort and dedication that is required for anyone to commit to that distance just blows me away.
Why work with Sundried?
I am fully behind the whole sustainable sportswear ideology and wish more companies had Sundried’s ethics and commitment to produce clothes from 100% recycled materials. Plastic pollution is a world problem, and we should all be aware of the legacy that we leave behind for future generations. The fact that Sundried products look and feel fantastic is a huge bonus.