Chris Pownell - Athlete Ambassador
Have you always been into sport?
I have always been very active, and have always loved the outdoors. Since I was really young I was always running around outside, playing football, or generally just using up energy in any way possible. Through university I stayed active by playing 5-a-side football, and entered several running races, although training was very much an afterthought. After leaving university I started to take my running much more seriously, and after progressing through solo training, decided to join Knowsley Harriers A.C, where I was able to get advice from much more experienced runners, and started to see my racing times tumble.
How did you first get into duathlon?
Having previously used cycling as a way to commute or stay fit through injury, I started taking the sport much more seriously through the 2020 COVID lockdown. Along with running this lead to me deciding that duathlons would be the way forward, and I look forward to competing in the sport once restrictions allow. Through lockdown I completed the Leeds Duathlon virtual event, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
What has been your favourite race to date and why?
My favourite race so far has to be the 2019 Yorkshire Marathon. After being disappointed with my London marathon time, I entered the event with the hope of breaking 2:30. The event went perfectly, and I finished in under 2 hours 29 minutes. I really enjoyed every second of the run, and found myself physically laughing with excitement for the final half mile.
What is your proudest achievement?
Winning my second Tour of Merseyside event. The Tour was the first event where I felt a part of the running community, and over several years my final position got better and better. In 2017, I was lucky enough to win the week-long event, however it felt more of a gift as the previous winner ran as a guide for a blind runner. In 2018, I won every stage of the event, and finished in a course record time. Standing on the stage at the awards, knowing that I had done all of the hard work this year, was a fantastic feeling!
Have you ever had any racing disasters?
Snowdonia Marathon. I entered the race very early in the year, and with university studies and social events taking priority, I had done very little training. I started the race with a sore knee, and through half-way it was all going fine. From about 15 miles, my pace dropped, and the route went uphill. Several hours later, I knew it had all gone wrong when I was offered a cup of tea at a water station! Many hours after my expected finish time, I eventually staggered over the finishing line, with the photographer taking a picture which is now used by the family as blackmail material.
How do you overcome setbacks?
I always try to look at the bigger picture and make a plan to put things right. If a race goes wrong, I will look at my training plan, and see when another race would fit. For marathons this would be a few months down the line, for shorter distances it would be much sooner. When overcoming injuries, I always try to keep involved with the sport through my passion for photography, volunteering at races, or cycling with my friends on their runs. I will then ease back into training, and some up with a long term target to aim for.
What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?
Listen to your body. In the past I have trained through niggles to make sure that I do not lose fitness, only to end up injured a few weeks down the line. After gaining some experience, I have started to take more time off as soon as niggles arise and allow my body to recover before pushing it any further.
What are your goals?
I want to earn an England or GB vest. As a marathon runner, representing the country in an international marathon would be an amazing experience. As I get older this target would change to an age group vest in the masters events. I would also love to earn a GB vest in the sport of duathlon, and represent my age group at the European championships.
Who inspires you?
My main inspiration has been Charlie Spedding. Having read his 'From Last to First' book numerous times, I am constantly inspired by his commitment to the sport, and the hard work and dedication needed to get to the very top of the sport... with a bit of luck along the way!
Why work with Sundried?
The range of products from Sundried is amazing. I am really impressed by quality, attention to detail, and the sheer quantity of products on offer. The brand look to ensure that the planet is well looked after, which is a great message to send when supplying such high-quality gear. Being dedicated to sport requires reliable and durable equipment, and Sundried offers this. I am greatly looking forward to becoming part of the team and helping grow the brand to be the best that it can be!
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