Garrett is an Irish athlete who has completed ultramarathons from long weekends to non-stop 24 hours events. He talks to Sundried about his motivations as an athlete and how being a dad inspires him.
Have you always been into sport?
I grew up doing a lot of martial arts and boxing, but I was always more interested in riding my bike. I was lucky to spend my early years on a farm in rural Ireland, so riding a bike was the best way to get around! Through my early teens I was mostly into mountain biking, but aged 17 I was introduced to Triathlon.
What made you decide to enter triathlon?
I met a triathlon coach in a gym in north London, he planted the seed, and it grew from there! My first race was 1998 and I raced a lot of sprint and Olympic distances until 2002, which was when I was sidelined for 18 months following a road traffic injury. Once I got back to training, I spent the next few months focused on running. I ran regional and national athletics events, but long distances were my primary interest. I moved to running ultra marathons and have raced everything from multi-day trail races through to non-stop 24hr events. The running is easy, but not sleeping for that long is tough!
What’s been your best race to date?
In triathlon, I'd probably say ITU Yokohama. It wasn't my best result, but the experience of racing in Japan was amazing. For results, it would have to be my first podium in an Irish tri-suit at ITU Edmonton.
And your proudest achievement?
Breaking into the top-10 in the ITU world ranking. I finished 11th in 2015, so I really wanted top 10 by the end of 2016. I finished the season 7th. Winning the Irish championships in 2015 was also pretty cool!
Have you ever had any racing disasters / your toughest race yet?
My toughest races would be some of the mountain ultramarathons I've done. In 2012, I raced a 36-mile event in the Black Mountains, South Wales. The weather was some of the worst I've ever run in. It was just about survival!
How do you overcome setbacks?
I set goals which are meaningful. So long as I have a goal which I truly want to achieve, I'll find a way. So when planning future events and training I really consider how much I want it. Do I want it enough to put in those 100k bike rides in winter? Do I want it enough to train every day before working 10 hours? If the answer is yes, then I know I will stay focused regardless of setbacks.
What is the best bit of advice you wish someone had told you before you started competing?
It's cliche but just enjoy it. When I started racing in my teens, I'd get stressed and nervous before a race to the point where my performance would suffer. Now I know that if I remind myself to look at the big picture, I can relax and enjoy it. Yes, of course, I want to get 100% out of myself. But when I go home my little girl will still just want her daddy to go ride bikes in the park with her, regardless of my time or place.
What are your goals for 2017?
I have raced my tenth ITU elite event for the Irish squad, so that was goal no.1. Next is to race a half iron distance event in August, which will be part of a build-up to a full ironman next Spring. I'm also doing a few more "fun" events, like a 2.5km sea swim in the English Channel.
Who do you take your inspiration from?
During tough days on the bike, I often ask myself "What would Sean Kelly do?" I grew up watching King Kelly and he's certainly been an inspiration, despite the fact that I've never been able to sprint!
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?
The ethical values of Sundried are a massive attraction to the brand. As the father of two, I think more about how my decisions and actions need to set a good example! The Dom Tee is superb for running in. Very soft material and crucially no chaffing.