Joel Toombs - Athlete Ambassador
Have you always been into sport?
My family and my school was very sporty, and as the youngest of four I was always trying to compete with my brothers at a level 4 and 6 years older than me! I learned how to lose graciously (and use it as motivation) quite early on! I played rugby to University level and lots of local club level hockey, football and cricket… but as much I love team sport I think I found my happy place when I discovered endurance sport.
How did you first get into triathlon?
It was a fairly quick and linear progression after turning my back on typical Monday night astroturf football in my late 20's to rediscovering running, to getting into road cycling in my 30's, to diving/falling down the rabbit hole that is freestyle swimming… I think the moment triathlon turned from an awareness into a possibility was around 2012 when somehow I signed up to do the Hathersage Hilly Sprint distance, which is a really lovely (tough) course in the Peak District. I entered a few more over the following years and got swept up with all the community, the reading, watching, discussing, and training that surrounds the sport. Shortly after that I seriously contracted the common bug that is known as 'dreaming of doing an Ironman.' I'm now not 'into triathlon'; triathlon is in me! Training has become a lifestyle.
What has been your favourite race to date and why?
I think actually it might be the inaugural RideLondon 100 as it was my first mass-participation cycling event and really special to be involved in the first 100 mile cycle race on closed roads through London - tackling the famous Box Hill that would feature in the Olympics.
What is your proudest achievement?
It's a bit cheeky but (according to Wikipedia) ;-) me and my friend Matt hold the record for the fastest Coast to Coast cycle (Whitehaven to Sunderland) in 7.5 hours. That was a great day - and raised a bit of cash for a local Sheffield charity.
Have you ever had any racing disasters?
My first attempt at the Chatsworth Olympic distance triathlon didn't go so well - overcooked a short, steep, twisty descent in the rain and ploughed straight into a wall breaking my collar bone. Coming back the next year to settle unfinished business was a great remedy.
How do you overcome setbacks?
I have a naturally positive outlook, but generally if I recognise I can't change something then I don’t waste time stressing or worrying about it; I’d rather choose to crack on and make the best of the new situation. One of my favourite mantras is from an old Calvin and Hobbes cartoon 'There's Treasure Everywhere!' which to me captures the idea no matter where you are or what your situation there’s ALWAYS treasure, or good or possibility of some kind to dig up and unearth.
What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?
Trust the process! Consistency is better than occasional hard sessions - get a long term plan and plug away at it; then it doesn't matter so much if you drop the ball or have to adapt. It's surprising how little progress you feel you can achieve in one year - but AMAZING how much you will achieve in three.
What are your goals?
So this year is third time lucky to finish the Outlaw full distance after inclement weather saw the bike leg cancelled in 2019 and then the whole event cancelled last year… I've also (after 9 fruitless years trying) got ballot places in the London ½ marathon in August and the full London marathon in October (quick - get me a lottery ticket, LOL) I think sub 11 hour long course triathlon and sub 3:20 marathon would be stretch goals for me.
Who inspires you?
So so so many people to pick from! Specifically around tri: I was gutted when Gwen Jorgensen moved from triathlon to focus on running. She was an absolute beast on the course, but with real class; a true legend in my mind. Similarly, reading Chrissie Wellington’s book really taught me a lot and gave me a lot of inspiration about training and loving the sport, especially over worrying about having to have the most expensive bike… Tim Don's recovery from a horrific accident was particularly inspiring to follow; (as is Martyn Ashton's after becoming paralysed from the waist down doing trail bike tricks; his attitude is just outstanding).
Why work with Sundried?
I fell in love with the Sundried brand straight away when I came across it several years ago. I loved the style and could tell the quality of the garments straight away, but as I got to know the backstory it obviously fitted with my own set of values; it’s ethical, sustainable and business with a conscience; from how it treats its employees to how it deals with customers and isn’t greedy! I don’t shout about many brands but when I find ones I love I really do! Sundried is definitely one of these!
To hear more from our ambassadors and get free tips on workout plans and more, connect with the Sundried Personal Trainers on our app.