Claire Harlow Athlete Ambassador
Claire found her passion for sport 5 years ago and hasn't looked back since. She talks to Sundried about life as a duathlete and how her passion fuels her training.
Have you always been into sport?
My love for sport began 5 years ago when I signed up for the Great North Run. I literally couldn’t run down the street when I began training but as the weeks went on I was able to increase my mileage until the big day when I ran continually for the full event. At the time, it was my biggest achievement and the buzz I felt at the end was amazing, so much so that I had to sign up for the event for the next 2 years!
In terms of cycling, I have always enjoyed it but I was always a leisurely rider. That was until I joined my current workplace which is full of avid cyclists! After a while I saw what they were so crazy about; the social aspect, the fitness aspect, being outdoors and of course...the cafe stops! I purchased my first road bike in October 2015 and haven’t looked back since.
What made you decide to enter the world of duathlon?
I signed up for my first standard distance duathlon in April 2016 as a “one off achievement that I would never do again” but of course, I became hooked! I found that my preference was for the sprint distance where I could go flat out and fast! I have competed in 6 duathlons so far and have qualified for the Age Group GB team for the ETU Sprint Distance Duathlon European Championships in Ibiza 2018.
What’s been your favourite race to date and why?
I really enjoy doing Stockton Duathlon as it is a local event and is on closed roads which makes it even more enjoyable! This event is one of the few in the North East so I get to race with my friends and fellow club runners which is a great feeling.
And your proudest achievement?
This was when I finished second in my age group and second lady overall at Durham Duathlon. This was the first time that I had ever made it to a podium position which made me feel truly amazing! It has given me the boost of confidence I need to persevere towards achieving this year’s goals!
Have you ever had any racing disasters / your toughest race yet?
Again, Durham Duathlon where the chain came off my bike mid-race. I panicked and didn’t know what to do but somehow I managed to get the chain back on and continued on with a bruised ego and a bleeding hand! The run sections were just as disastrous – it had been raining heavily the whole week before the race so the field we were running on was absolutely soaked through. I ran in spikes which helped slightly but on the second run – one of then came off! It was definitely a race to remember!
How do you overcome setbacks?
This is a hard question because I get really frustrated with setbacks. If I am unable to run or cycle due to injury then I choose alternative ways to train for example, strength training or classes at the gym. It is also important to take the time to stretch and roller to get back to fitness.
What is the best bit of advice you wish someone had told you before you started competing?
Listen to your body! In the past, I have made the mistake of training through fatigue and injury because I felt that I would “get worse” if I didn’t. But I have learned to rest when my body is telling me to rest. In fact, I never get worse but BETTER because my body has had a chance to fully repair itself!
What are your goals for 2018?
My main goal this year is to qualify for the 2019 ETU Duathlon Championships. I also really want to improve on my swimming as I would love to enter the world of triathlon!
Who do you take your inspiration from?
I actually take inspiration from those I follow on Instagram and Strava and those who I race with. Seeing what other people do and how they train really inspires me to achieve the best and to persevere. It makes you realise that everyone has good times and bad (it’s not just me!). it gives me the reassurance that I am not alone in the difficult world of sport.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?
I recently purchased the Women’s Tri Suit and Les Rouies Women's Training Vest and I was very impressed with the stylish design, the fit and the quality of materials. It was great to finally find a tri suit that didn’t feel tight and restricting – thank you Sundried!