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Josh Lahiri Athlete Ambassador

by Alexandra Parren

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Josh was inspired to try triathlon after watching the Brownlee brothers compete in London in 2012. He's since completed one of the toughest Ironman triathlons in the country and tells Sundried about his racing highs and lows.

Have you always been into sport?

In one word, yes! Growing up I did a bit of everything but golf and karate were my main things. My priority was always about having fun first, competing second. Even now I still like to mix things up with some skiing and even tried out underwater hockey whilst at university!

How did you first get into triathlon?

Coming in to 2012 I’d picked up a knee injury training for my karate black belt and ended up having to have surgery on it. As part of my rehab I started doing a lot of cycling and swimming in order to strengthen everything back up. This tied up pretty much perfectly with the London 2012 Olympics and watching the Brownlee brothers in action on TV planted the seed that set this whole thing in motion! As a family friend said at the time, “you can already bike and swim and if I can run a marathon then you can manage 5k” so the challenge was set! I joined Petersfield Triathlon Club that winter and started training with them before completing my first race at the New Forest Triathlon in 2013. I may have been dead on my feet by the end of it but by the time we were in the car to go home I was already talking about which race I was going to do next!

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What’s been your best race to date?

I think it would have to be the Age Group European Championships standard distance race in the Netherlands this year. On race day the temperatures were really high but I managed to race sensibly and fast so that when it came to the run I could really push to the finish. It was so hot that they had the Dutch fire brigade out pumping water from the canal to cool everyone off! I ended up 13th in my Age Group and took a large chunk out of my standard distance PB on one of the hottest days of the year which I was very pleased with!

And your proudest achievement?

It’s probably got to be qualifying for the GB age group team for the first time last year. I‘d had a really bad injury hit winter yet again and only got back to running properly 3 weeks out from my qualification race so to say that first race back was a shock to the system was a bit of an understatement! But I gave it my best shot, managed to grab a roll down qualifying spot and then exceed all my expectations at the championships in Glasgow!

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

I think one race hits both of these categories at once, in hindsight doing my first 70.3 on Exmoor was probably a mistake! I felt amazing coming out of the swim and got drawn in to chasing the quick boys on the bike. By the time we hit the second lap, the wheels had come off spectacularly and I was in real trouble with a half marathon still to come. At one point I was zigzagging between the verge and the centre line just to keep moving forwards up the hills! I was very lucky to have had one of my University of Warwick team mates catch me up on the run, and having already guaranteed that he’d be fastest Warwick by catching me, decided to slow down and baby me to the finish line. So even in a disastrous state there’s still positives, finishing my first 70.3 and crossing the line side by side with my mates was a pretty special feeling!

How do you overcome setbacks?

I think the main way I overcome setbacks is by trying to keep mentally strong as well as physically. Injuries and coming back from them have been a reasonably big part of my triathlon career so I’ve had some practice at overcoming them! It may be infuriating at the time to be unable to train but it really helps to look at the broader picture and celebrate the little bits of progress you make on the way back in order to achieve the overall bigger goal!

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

Just how important rest is in training, in fact it’s almost more important than the efforts you’re putting in! I think like a lot of athletes who get bitten by the triathlon bug I ended up enjoying it so much that I’d do too much and end up injured or digging myself into a big hole and not performing as well as I could. It’s only really been in the last couple of seasons, since I started working with Jack Hall from Team Triumph, that I’ve finally gotten properly on top of this and am actually looking after myself and resting as much as I should be for the effort that you’re putting in.

What are your goals for 2019 and 2020?

The two targets for 2019 were the Age Group Standard Distance European Championships in Weert, Netherlands and attempting to qualify for the Age Group World Championships in Edmonton over the same distance for 2020. The championships in Weert were an incredible experience and I loved every second of it, I ended up finishing 13th in the 25-29 age group, improving on my position from Glasgow by 10, and demolished my standard distance PB in the process! I also had a great race in my qualifier at Leeds Castle, even with wetsuits being banned for the swim, when was the last time that happened in the UK!? So it’s now just a waiting game to find out if I’ve officially qualified and then starting work towards next year’s championship! For the rest of 2019 it will just be a case of taking part in a few local races and seeing what results we can get out of them!

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Who do you take your inspiration from?

It’s cheesy but I’ve got to say the Brownlee brothers! They were one of the reasons I got into triathlon in the first place and they are such versatile athletes where they are competitive over every distance that they race! They also seem to really enjoy their racing and their battles and, for me, if you’re not enjoying your racing then you’re doing something wrong.

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

I really like the whole design and manufacture ethos of the company and the fact that all the kit is made from recycled materials, it’s great to be able to go fast in great quality kit whilst also doing your bit for the environment! I think my favourite bit of kit currently is the Dom 2.0 training tops, loving it for my summer training runs at the moment!

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