Ella-Jane is another athlete who was inspired by the events at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. She talks to Sundried about how she went from dreaming about the sport to becoming a GB Age Group duathlete.
Have you always been into sport?
I have always enjoyed sport and while at school I loved summer athletics and sprinting around the Peterborough athletics track. Miraculously, one year I became county hurdle champion. I also enjoyed cross-country races, long runs in the summer evenings, and dabbled in a bit of rowing. Whilst at University I lost contact with sport and gradually started running again and the interest in triathlons grew from there.
What made you decide to enter triathlon?
Before even taking part in a triathlon I had always thought “that looks like fun!” and kept saying to myself that one day I would enter a race. My interest grew when watching the ITU races and the London Olympic races in Hyde Park. I had thought to myself that my physique was not too dissimilar to the elite women’s broad shoulders and long legs.
I finally plucked up the courage to enter a race, my first one was the London Triathlon in 2014. I was pleased with how I performed given that my training was all done without any professional input; not really knowing what I was doing and at that stage I couldn’t swim front crawl. I enjoyed it so much and thought that there could be something here so I started to up the tempo with my training, taught myself how to swim front crawl, and was guided by a PT at the Third Space Soho. I then contacted Team Dillon Coaching in June 2015 following the British Triathlon race in Hyde Park.
What’s been your best race to date?
Qualifying for the World Duathlon Championships as a GB Age-Grouper has to be one of the best, not necessarily because I thought it was my best performance (the weather was foul), but because I performed the job I had set out to do: to qualify for the World Championships.
And your proudest achievement?
I think my proudest achievement is yet to come and will be taking that first step over the start line at the World Duathlon Championships this August!
Have you ever had any racing disasters / your toughest race yet?
The front brakes of my bike came unscrewed during the Jenson Button Triathlon last year. With a quarter of the cycle to go and no brakes on my front wheel it certainly was scary, but once something like that has happened there is nothing you can do but continue to drive from the legs, keep calm and focused. Not a major disaster but the closest one I’ve had!
My toughest race has to be the Dambuster Duathlon in Rutland. On home turf, I thought it would be a straightforward race to compete in but as a Standard Distance Duathlon, and my first, I think I had my ambitions set a little too high as to what I would achieve that day. It was a long and lonely race and a -6 degree wind chill certainly didn’t help! I plan to return to this particular race…one day.
How do you overcome setbacks?
Eating well and getting a lot of sleep I think is always key to whatever setback you have, whether it is a physical injury or a mental challenge. Fortunately, I’ve not sustained any injuries from training and have found the ‘setbacks’ I have faced are the challenges of working full-time and when I first took up training with Team Dillon two years ago I was travelling regularly for work. This certainly made it more difficult to train to my full potential for a season.
What is the best bit of advice you wish someone had told you before you started competing?
That it’s never too late.
Given the achievements I have made since starting competing in triathlon and duathlons, I wish that I had committed myself to sport earlier in life. If there is anything that you day dream about doing you have to get out there and try it because otherwise, you’ll never know.
What are your goals for 2017?
Right now everything is focused on the World Duathlon Championships which will be held in Penticton, Canada in August this year. I have a goal in my head of what I would like to achieve out of the race, however, just being at the Championships is a great achievement in itself and I just hope to do myself, friends, family and Team Dillon proud.
Who do you take your inspiration from?
All of the athletes who make Team Dillon what it is are certainly a daily inspiration. Emma, Michelle and Stuart are so dedicated to the sport and are incredibly influential and supportive of the whole team. Their achievements are hugely inspiring and their passion and encouragement show no bounds.
I also admire not just the professionals on the triathlon circuit but also friends I have made from the sport who, like me, work full-time and are all working towards their own personal challenge whilst managing day to day normal life.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?
I think Sundried is a great activewear brand that should feel proud to be championing a low carbon footprint and its ethical ethos of bringing 100% recycled clothing to the market. It's important to me to know that not only am I taking care of myself through sport but at the same time being as kind as possible to the planet.
Sundried have just added some new pieces to their collection and I imagine I will be spending a lot of time in their Les Rouies Women’s Training Vest in my final few weeks of training before the World Championships.