James has a passion for running and triathlon but it's the friends he's made along the way that truly make it special for him. He talks to Sundried about his experiences in training and racing.
Have you always been into sport?
I have been a runner and a swimmer since school, swimming for the school and running in local 10k races. I really increased my distance when I started to understand the link between mental health and exercise. This, in turn, directed me to my profession as a mental health nurse.
What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?
I have an amazing friend who made a bet with me: if I did the London Triathlon with him in 2019 he would run the Paris Marathon with me in 2020. This has proved to be the best decision I have ever made, as the friends I have made and the experiences I have had in the triathlon community have blown my mind. I feel so lucky to have found my tribe and I cant wait to throw myself into the next season.
What’s been your favourite race to date and why?
I have run in many local marathons and enjoyed every accomplishment, but my favourite race to date has to be the London Marathon; the atmosphere and the people made it the event of my life.
And your proudest achievement?
When I first started racing, I ran a local 5k and was supported by my 10 year old daughter who has Type 1 Diabetes. This was my proudest achievement; starting and finishing with her made me the proudest I have ever been.
Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?
So many disasters! I have never had a DNF in a race, but my toughest race to date was the Kent Coastal Marathon. Running 10 miles into the wind along the beautiful Kent coast were the hardest I have encountered. When the hail started and my face went numb, I challenged myself to push through and with a group of 6 other runners we took it in turns to head the group so that there was a buffer to stop the worst of the weather. We finished together after 26.2 miles and have remained friends ever since.
How do you overcome setbacks?
As I am sure all of us do, I have a mantra in my head that I repeat when it gets tough: "Dig deep and power up". I never give up and I am a finisher, so no matter how hard the challenge, I will persevere and I encourage others in this way. I have picked up injuries along the way and I have relied on the support of my friends but the friends I have made through triathlon are the driving force that always gets me through.
What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?
Don't over-train! Allocate your rest days and stick to them.
What are your goals for 2020?
I am lucky to be running the Paris and London Marathons in 2020 to raise money for Diabetes UK. Running two marathons in one month is going to be the biggest challenge I have taken on so far, but I am so excited to be able to say thank you to the charity that has helped me and my daughter so much.
Who do you take your inspiration from?
I take my inspiration from the friends that I have met through triathlon. So many people from different backgrounds that are pushing themselves to be the best athletes they can be. I get huge satisfaction not only from competing but from being there to congratulate them on the finish line.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?
I am 100% behind the ethical consideration and love the quality and fit of the Sundried kit. I have worn gear from so many companies over the years but I have never found a company that make clothing that fits my form so well. I have used Sundried cycling gear for the last 3 months. The summer kit is amazing and comfortable and the winter gear has never let me down on those early morning freezing cold starts.