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James Jennings Athlete Ambassador

by Alexandra Parren

cycling triathlon triathlete riding bike

James went from being overweight and unfit to running and incredibly quick 2:45 marathon. He now enjoys running trail ultra marathons as well as competing for the GB Age Group team in triathlon.

Have you always been into sport?

Not exactly, at one point I was overweight and struggled to maintain any sort of base fitness.  Thankfully, motivation came to me in the form of an Ultra Marathon called Trailwalker several years ago and I have not looked back since. Be it Ironman, GB AG Triathlon and Duathlon or indeed Marathon/Ultrarunning, I am always seeking new goals. 

What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

I was allured by the thought of testing myself against the best athletes in my age category, that and a love of cycling mapped with an ability to turn a decent split of the bike meant I kind of fell into the sport.  I love to constantly test myself and triathlon has a plethora of avenues for this, mastering nutrition, swim technique even functional movement all become independent mini goals I enjoy trying to crack. 

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

My favourite race to date has to be the ITU Rotterdam Grand Final 2017 (Standard Distance Triathlon).  Never have I worked so hard to qualify and get to a race on that scale. I performed to the best of my ability at that given time and flew home a very happy athlete. 

And your proudest achievement?

My proudest achievement was representing the British Army at the London Marathon in 2017 as a Championship runner, and then delivering a personal best with a sub 2:45 run. 

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

Without a shadow of a doubt, my toughest race to date was the Snowdon Trail Marathon 2018. I completely underestimated the mountain and got my nutrition wrong.  I was underprepared and undernourished. I learned some valuable lessons that day both physical and mental. 

How do you overcome setbacks?

Setbacks, in my opinion, are options for growth. Failing is how we learn and providing I can understand why something may now have gone as I had expected I am content to learn from it and grow. I am definitely a glass half full type of athlete!

What is the best bit of advice you wish someone had told you before you started competing?

Remember why you're doing it, it's supposed to be fun! All too often do I see friends burn out and fall out of love with training and competing. Sometimes you need to get out in the fresh air with your friends and just enjoy it, no numbers, no speed or power just fresh air and some good laughs. 

What are your goals for 2019?

2019 I will see my biggest challenge to date, I am off to the Sahara to tackle the ‘Hardest footrace on the planet’ the gruelling 250km desert Ultra Marathon, Marathon Des Sables.  Upon completion and providing I can bag decent points I envision application to the Ultra Trail Mont Blanc world championships may quickly follow. I have yet to rule out a long distance triathlon or maybe some GB AG racing for which I am already qualified (Transelvania European Duathlon Championships - Romania)

Who do you take your inspiration from?

I draw my inspiration from multiple sources and people, I see someone achieve a goal of which upon reflection I mentally challenge myself to consider. If it appeals and I am free I go ‘all in’ and strive to train for, peak and complete my new goal. 

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

My favourite thing about Sundried is its ethical approach to manufacturing and sustainability. I love how deeply its foundations run in this area and truly believe it is innovative. My favourite piece of kit has to be the men's running and training vest, stylish, cooling, comfortable and best of all made from 100% recycled fabric. 

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