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Georgie Rutherford Athlete Ambassador

by Alexandra Parren

Sundried professional triathlete ambassador running outdoors

Georgie is a triathlete who has some incredible achievements under her belt. She talks to Sundried about racing highs and lows.

Have you always been into sport?

Yes, since I can remember I have been very active – football, hockey, running, swimming and then discovering triathlon at 18 years old.

What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

I enjoyed running competitively throughout school and whilst I studied for my A-levels, but my dad saw a British Triathlon flyer for some squad trials in Leeds (back in 2001) and he suggested I go to the trials. You had to swim and run and my times were fast enough to get me a place on the Northern British Triathlon squad and that was it, I was hooked.

What’s been your favourite race to date and why?

My first ever half Ironman hosted by Cleveland Tri Club in the North East. I was 25 and terrified of not being fit enough to race 90km on the bike and then run a half marathon, however the friendly competitors and organisers made the entire event so much fun. It still gives me many happy memories.

And your proudest achievement?

Winning the 2009 Ironman 70.3 World Championships as fastest female amateur overall and my time was 10th fastest female including the professional women. I was really proud of this race as due to a water safety issue they set us off as a time trial, rather than in a mass start so I did the entire race on my own, not racing people in my category.

My 2nd proudest achievement is returning to competing after being side-lined for 18 months with an injury to win the 2018 Oceanman 5km Swimming World Championships.

Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?

Yes lots; concussion from a hard racing crash in Abu Dhabi in 2014, hypothermia at the British Champs in Strathclyde, sickness during a race in Sardinia. However, the hardest one to deal with was on the world stage at the 2010 Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater. I was returning to defend my title and was overtaken and then knocked off my bike by a large pack of drafting male competitors. I fell off my bike and another male competitor rode over me, breaking my ribs and leaving a hole in my back where his pedal had gone into me. I tried to get up and finish as I was in the lead but I could not move and ended up in hospital. I was devastated, mainly because Ironman did nothing to prevent the drafting.

How do you overcome setbacks?

Find the positives, there is always at least one. Use the opportunity to learn more about the situation that has caused the setback or the setback itself by reading/talking to experts/watching.

Get my head out of the setback by surrounding myself with family & friends, working on something else, learning a new skill – for example, when I could not swim, bike or run for 12 months due to a severe hip injury following a road traffic accident I learnt to play the drums.

Avoid social media so I do not fill my head with other people’s lives – focus on my own journey.

What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?

I was lucky to receive great advice when I first started triathlon such as to fuel well, to enjoy the training, and to keep a lifestyle balance. However, when I turned professional in 2015 I wish I had been given better advice about which races to do. My own choices were not always the smartest.

What are your goals for 2019 and 2020?

2019 has been about endurance swimming and running and getting stronger off road. I have just completed a self created endurance challenge called the ‘Merewater Challenge’ where my partner and I swam the length of ten of the lakes in the Lake District which was 60km of swimming.

Next up I have a few Swimrun events and a few trail running races.

2020 I would like to return to the Otillo Swimrun World Championships – I raced in 2018 as a mixed pair and LOVED it but I was not prepared for how technical the 60km of running would be so I am working hard to improve my off road endurance skills to be more competitive.

Who do you take your inspiration from?

A huge range of people. There are some very inspiring unsung heroes in my local community who inspire me daily and then there are some incredible people who overcome adversity who go on to do great things to help the world population.

What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?

I love that Sundried place a huge importance on company staff well-being and that they create their gorgeous products with a sustainable focus, with recycled material, so I can continue to train and compete in clothing that I know is promoting the reduction of waste and helping save the environment from plastic pollution.

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