Jack is a promising athlete with dreams of becoming a professional Ironman triathlete. He talks to Sundried about training and racing.
Have you always been into sport?
Yes, I would certainly say that my life has revolved around sport since roughly the age of 7 (as far as I can remember). My first sport was rugby, which lasted several years before I started playing football. I continued to play for my village football team until the age of 15. However, at the age of 12, I started competing in the sport of triathlon and, from then on, that gradually became my main and only sport.
What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?
Originally, it was my younger cousin’s success in children’s triathlon which made me have a go myself. After that first race in my local area, I discovered how enjoyable the sport was and how it was potentially something which I could get pretty good at.
What’s been your favourite race to date and why?
It’s got to be the 2019 Standard Distance Age-Group World Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland. This race was my first ever international event and my first world-championships. It was a great experience racing abroad against athletes from all over the world. The scenery on Lake Geneva was fantastic and, although I was aiming for a much better finish than 9th, there were elements of my performance which I was very pleased with and I had broken my collarbone 2 months before, which severely impacted my preparation, so I was just pleased to be able to race.
And your proudest achievement?
Again, my proudest achievement is finishing 9th and 1st Brit in my age-group in my first ever international competition and just getting there was an achievement in itself.
Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?
In the spring of 2019, I entered an early-season duathlon race, which was the standard-distance duathlon world qualifier at Bedford Autodrome. However, it was a weekend of one of those storms with a name (so the conditions were pretty terrible. It was also my first ever standard-distance duathlon (I would say standard duathlons are tougher than triathlons) so I wasn’t very well prepared in terms of knowing what nutrition and hydration I required. I was pleased with my 10k run to start with but it was when I got off the bike that the pain started. I rarely get cramps or stitches but I certainly got one massive stitch that day. It was an effort just to keep running and it was extremely disheartening as I was being passed by all those I had worked so hard to pass on my bike leg. I did manage to finish it but it was one of the slowest 5ks I’ve done probably since I was about 12 years of age.
How do you overcome setbacks?
For me, it’s all about goal-setting, with both short and long-term goals which you can focus on to overcome the hard times. For example, after breaking my collarbone last year, it was all about trying to get back in some sort of shape for the Switzerland World Championships.
What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?
Make sure you focus on your weakest elements as, even though it’s more enjoyable doing what you’re already good at, it won’t lead to big improvements in the long-term.
What are your goals?
My short-term goal is to achieve a podium finish it the age-group World Championships next year but the long-term goal is becoming a professional long-distance ‘Ironman’ triathlete.
Who do you take your inspiration from?
Currently, one of my main role models in triathlon is Lionel Sanders. This is because I really feel like I can associate with him as he entered triathlon quite late without having a swimming background (which is also the case for myself). I also really admire his drive and determination and, to me, it seems as if he can push himself as hard as anyone in both training and racing. My coach Chris Frapwell, is also a big inspiration as his love for coaching athletes is clear to see and he was also an extremely good runner in his younger years.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?
What I like most about the Sundried brand is their emphasis on sustainability, which can often be ignored in the world of sport. Also, as a young triathlete, I appreciate the fact that Sundried try to make their kit as affordable as possible because triathlon can be a very expensive sport, especially for someone like myself who relies on their parents for the majority of their financial support. My favourite bit of Sundried kit is their bib shorts as they’re much cheaper than other brands of bib shorts but their quality is just as good, if not better. The most important feature of bib shorts is their comfort and this is ensured in these shorts through the top quality premium gel pad.