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Kim Graves Athlete Ambassador

by Alexandra Parren

triathlete Sundried activewear ambassador

Kim fits training around a busy life but loves her sport. She talks to Sundried about life as a triathlete.

Have you always been into sport?

I have always loved sport. For as long as I can remember, I've watched or played just about everything. I was always the smallest kid, so I was always the worst at every sport, but I made up for it in unbridled enthusiasm.

What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

I became obsessed with triathlon when I saw it for the first time in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. I was crazy about the Olympics and watched pretty much all the coverage I could find, and triathletes seemed to be the craziest, fittest, most amazing of all the athletes there. The running always put me off participating; I have always been a terrible runner. But in 2019, I decided that with my 30th birthday approaching, it was finally time to achieve that goal.

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

My favourite race was Cheltenham Sprint Triathlon. The swim was in the beautiful lido, the bike was through the cleanest streets you can imagine, and the run was really well supported. Everyone was super friendly which put me at ease and it was close enough that my family came to support me. It was a great child-friendly area and having my toddler cheering me on was great motivation.

And your proudest achievement?

I took up weightlifting last summer, and after a lifetime of always having to ask people to open things and carry things for me, having my toddler ask me to pick things up instead of her dad is definitely a highlight.

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

I dragged a friend along to the Portishead 5k. It was about 27 degrees Celsius and pretty much all uphill. I had only just managed to run for half an hour without stopping, so it was already quite ambitious and I was not prepared for quite how difficult it would be. Mentally, it was rough knowing it was only 5k yet I was still finding it exhausting. There was a lot of walking and even more water stops!

How do you overcome setbacks?

Take things day by day. If you miss a training session or two, or have a bad day, don't write off the whole week or your whole plan. Just pick up from where you need to and carry on.

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

Extra sleep is essential! Fitting training into a packed life is difficult, so it's easy to sacrifice sleep to get in an extra hour on the bike or a quick run. But without proper rest, you quickly become too tired to get the best out of your hard work.

What are your goals for 2020?

My goal for 2020 is to become more rounded in my fitness. I want to be fit enough to say yes to anything that takes my fancy. Specifically, I've signed up for the Wild Wye 7km swim, which requires getting used to cold open water as well as swimming the longest I'll have ever swum for. Surviving that will be a big achievement!

Who do you take your inspiration from?

I recently went to Clevedon to photograph a "Tits to the Wind" event. It was a group of mostly women (and some men) who have built a wonderful open water swimming community in the South West, and they plunged, topless, into the 6 degree Bristol Channel.

It was wonderful to see the pure joy this group had doing something that most others would run a mile from. Everyone was so excited and friendly, and it made me realise that keeping fit and healthy is so much more fun with others, you can absolutely find "your people" no matter what it is doing, and doing things that seem scary can often be the most rewarding.

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

I love that Sundried is so invested in its eco ethos, it makes you feel a lot better about buying yet another pair of leggings! I also love that everything is functional without being boring, particularly the trisuit, which looks great without sacrificing performance.

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