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Lilly O'Dell Junior Athlete Ambassador

by Alexandra Parren
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Sundried junior ambassador Ironman Wales Long Course Weekend

Lilly is a young triathlete who is working towards her first Ironman. She talks to Sundried about training and racing.

Have you always been into sport? 

I liked sports but I was never a natural. I only started running 5 years ago when I was 10 with my mum.

What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

When mum took me to a swimming lesson at our local pool in Bedford I watched an aquathlon take place there. I had no idea how it worked or what a triathlon is but I really wanted to have a go so I joined a triathlon club.

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

My favourite race is by far the Long Course Weekend in Wales, a three-day race over very long distances (1.9km sea swim, 70km bike and 10km run). The juniors had to race with the other participants and the fastest total time over the three days wins. I was happy to finish as the 3rd junior girl but I was mostly happy to cross the finish line as I absolutely love racing longer distances. I was stung by jellyfish during the swim, someone crashed into me on the bike, and the run was super hilly but I absolutely LOVED it. 

And your proudest achievement? 

My proudest achievement is actually my first ever triathlon which was 5 years ago. I was terrified of water but had to swim in a lake, I cycled on a foldable city bike, crashed multiple times and I ran/walked wearing mum's trainers. I finished second to last but I was really proud I managed to cross the finish line!

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

My number 1 racing disaster is miscounting the cycling laps during triathlons and getting DQd. 

How do you overcome setbacks? 

Definitely working harder and trying to put everything negative behind me.

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

Not to be too hard on myself when something goes wrong and that it's okay to have a bad race. Always race what you love racing! 

What are your goals for 2019? 

My main goals are staying injury-free, doing my best at the World Championships and European Championships where I will race for the GB Age Group Team in duathlon and continue to build up my distances for my first Ironman in 3 years. Everything I do at the moment is training for achieving my dreams.

Who do you take your inspiration from? 

Lucy Charles, Laura Phillips and Emily Nelson. They are all super strong, hard-working women who are also very humble too.

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

The materials are super soft and super flexible. My favourite pieces from the Sundried collection are my water bottle (absolutely love it!) and my women's running leggings which I wear as a base layer under my trisuit in winter. 

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