Lee has overcome some incredible obstacles in his life and never stopped pushing. He talks to Sundried about his journey.
Have you always been into sport?
As a teenager I pursued careers in football and cricket, playing football semi-professionally and cricket in New Zealand for their current National Club Champions. In my early twenties I was a passenger in a serious car accident and broke my back, which led to me being very inactive for the next decade.
How did you first get into triathlon?
My weight had increased to over 18 stone due to inactivity so I started walking and thereafter running. I managed to tear my Achilles during a half marathon and my physio suggested swimming and cycling as recovery while I couldn't run. Not wanting to put the weight back on, I joined my local triathlon club as they were running swim and spin sessions weekly.
What has been your favourite race to date and why?
European Duathlon Championships in Punta Umbria, March 2020. The race was on my daughter's 4th birthday! We travelled as a family, the race went really well for me, we enjoyed lots of cake after the race and spent a few days in Spain, then returned home the day before we went into lockdown. To get such a perfect race and trip in this year was a blessing.
What is your proudest achievement?
Wearing the Team GB age group kit at the Duathlon World Championships in only my 3rd ever duathlon (my 2nd ever duathlon was the qualifying race). I thought my sporting ambitions were over when i was involved in the car accident, so to get to wear that kit at a World Championships was a dream come true.
Have you ever had any racing disasters?
Plenty of wrong turns, punctures and nutrition failures... but catching Weil's disease in my first ever open water triathlon was the most serious disaster. It took months to fully recover and be allowed to exercise again, albeit now with an enlarged heart.
How do you overcome setbacks?
I've had my share! Face them head-on, it's the only way to truly deal with them and move on, even if it feels hard at the time. Having to learn to walk properly again after the car accident was my biggest challenge but I wasn't willing to accept the alternative.
What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?
"Technique work and strength work are the foundations of success. Work harder on these than anything else and the speed will follow."
What are your goals?
To inspire my daughter. Show her that with hard work, you can exceed expectations and have fun while you do it. "Do what you love and you'll love what you do."
Who inspires you?
The whole triathlon community, especially the parents out there who get up at 5am to train before the kids wake up or who train at 10pm after work and the kids are in bed. To train as much as we do without neglecting the more important aspects of life is a tough balance to get right.
Why work with Sundried?
Sundried kit is the most comfortable kit I own. To know that when I train, I don't have to worry about discomfort and after training to be able to relax in my favourite sportswear helps enormously.