Geoff is an athlete who started his journey into triathlon after recovering from a long term injury. He talks to Sundried about training and racing.
Have you always been into sport?
Yes. I was very lucky to attend a school where we had access to numerous sports and it was very much a big part of my life. I mainly played rugby throughout my school years, as well as any other sports I was able to do. Then I rowed at University before starting to cycle a couple of years ago and this has ultimately led me to triathlon.
How did you first get into triathlon?
I do remember watching the Kona reports at school in Ireland on Wide World of Sports on a Saturday but it was beyond my comprehension at the time. If I'm honest I got more interested in it whilst suffering a long term foot injury and supporting my children at our local club and in regional events. After 12 years unable to do any sport I have now found a way to train again (with some limitations) and the endurance and multisport aspect of triathlon really appeals to me and suits me.
What was your favourite race and why?
I only managed to start running and training a couple of years ago and set myself the challenge of running a marathon if physically able. I completed the Causeway Marathon in 2018. The time of my first marathon wasn't great but my foot held up and the feeling of achievement after so many years of not doing anything was huge.
What is your proudest moment?
In summer 2019 I entered a 100km run from Bath to Cheltenham. I surprised myself on so many levels, doing pretty well considering a need to continue with limited training and realised that endurance events were possible. More than that I seemed to find that things settled down at about the 30km mark and felt much more comfortable after that point!
Have you had any racing disasters?
I raced in the Alps soon after the Bath Ultra and it was incredibly hot, with high altitude and insufficient fluids available and I completely bonked. My wife and I completed it but it was a real learning experience about running at altitude for the first time and not preparing properly for the particular race you're entered for. With some races you cannot wing it even if you're fit enough on paper!
How do you overcome setbacks?
Like I said I developed a chronic foot problem in about 2005 and this stopped me almost completely for nearly 12 years. I attempted the odd mud run with the kids but nothing else. It even reached the point I couldn't cycle, a really dark time and to be honest I had almost given up ever being able to do sport again.
I worked hard on my physio and set myself very small insignificant goals and gradually found a slow and long way to get back to exercising successfully. I am limited to some extent at times so continue to battle my teenage brain to hold back and prevent further problems - not easy to do when you just want to race off!
What's some advice you wish you'd been given when you were younger?
I think everyone at primary school should be advised or made to have a full physio / biomechanical assessment to work out underlying problems so they can be addressed before adulthood when much harder to rectify. Also don't be afraid to fail.
What are your goals?
My main goal is to stay fit and enjoy whatever sport I am lucky enough to be doing. Our health is so fragile and can so easily be taken away. I am currently training for a couple of Ironman races at the end of this year and some more ultra marathons throughout the year to get enough points again for the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc. I'd love to be in the position to enter the Marathon de Sables and Patagonman one day but may need a lottery win for those!
Who inspires you?
I know it sounds a cliché but it's the people who battle against the odds to finish an event, more so than those at the very front. Having natural talent would be a real blessing but those people who fight day in day out just to make the time cutoffs and never give up are the real inspirations. Or all the selfless marshals and organisers who allow our events to happen at all. Usually for no more than a coffee and a bacon roll!
If it has to be one person I'd say the para-swimmer Sacha Kindred. An amazing man, one of GB's greatest ever athletes (who's surprisingly not had the national recognition he so richly deserves) and yet incredibly modest about his multitude of World and Olympic medals. A wonderful role model for all of us.
Why work with Sundried?
I love the quality and fit of the kit. So comfortable to train and race in and with a really good environmental and sustainability message. Also they feel and look fantastic which, lets be honest, is also a real bonus!
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