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Louise Anderson Athlete Ambassador

by Alexandra Parren
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triathlete athlete Sundried activewear ambassador

Have you always been into sport?

Since an early age, I was always participating in every opportunity that was given to me, being an all-rounder. This was mainly school sport as I thrived being a part of the teams all year-round. Additionally, I loved swimming, and would spend every opportunity I could at the pool. At the time, I left swimming lessons as there wasn’t the push to join a club, so my participation slowly stopped, and I moved onto other activities. I have always been active and at university decided to try something new, this led me to figure skating.

What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

Whilst at university, I rediscovered my love for swimming as a way for me to escape the pressure of studying. I then started running as a way to increase my cardio for figure skating and soon booked a half marathon. That summer, whilst back at home, it was suggested to me through a friend that I try triathlon. It took one session and I was hooked.

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

Not a triathlon but the 5km Donor Run at the British Transplant Games, a run where everybody and anybody can participate. I work as a sports therapist with transplant athletes and see what they can achieve at these games.

The donor run, I have been allowed to run yearly, however the 2019 run was an out-and-back route. The elite athletes went off first followed by the general mass. This allowed me to continue to support the athletes on their return journey. It’s not about the racing but the atmosphere that this event brings.

What made it my favourite race to date was the one-on-one sprint I had in the last 200m with a transplantee athlete. Neither of us spoke about it but both slowly started getting faster and faster. The crowd figured out we were racing and cheered us on. It gave me a sense of what the elite face whilst having a huge smile on my face from the enjoyment.

And your proudest achievement?

My proudest achievement was the first triathlon I ever participated in. I had no expectations and I was just there to see what the world of triathlon meant. During the 400m swim, I could hear coaches on the side pushing me on. I didn’t know why, and it wasn’t until I was climbing out that I realised I was up there with the GB age group athletes and was on their tail going out onto the bike.

Obviously, I then lost these athletes as they stormed ahead the rest of the race, but to be with them for that short amount of time, especially during my first race, is something that has stuck with me over the years.

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

Clitheroe Triathlon, my first really challenging event and the longest to date. I had been told about a cycle climb up Birdy Brow onto Longridge Fell, how hard could that have been? Well, the fear of falling off my bike because I had no speed at all on the climb was real. It was a hot weekend and I had nothing left in the tank when I finished that cycle.

How do you overcome setbacks?

Setbacks make me more determined. I go back to the drawing board and look at what needs to be done differently. It's the little changes that affect the overall picture.

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

Don’t take anything too seriously, everyone progresses at different rates and with three sports in one race, there will always be one you don’t enjoy as much as the others. It is about breaking everything down and doing the training with the goals set to motivate you along on those dark days.

What are your goals for 2020?

Having been injured for most of the 2019 season, 2020 is about getting fit again and pushing my cycling and running back to where it once was. I am aware that my rehabilitation will allow me to swim so I have signed up to swim the length of Lake Windermere (11 miles). This is something that I have always dreamed of so in 2020 I am making it a reality.

Who do you take your inspiration from?

Within the triathlon world, it comes from those around me. As a sports therapist, I have done my fair share of massaging at Ironman events. Seeing normal, everyday people pre- and post-race have a spark within them inspires me to want to do what they are doing. Without knowing it, they are passing on the flame which drives me every year to continue to go from strength to strength.

Also, working with transplant athletes. They inspire me daily, knowing that they are living their extended lives to the full at 100mph, 24/7. Seeing these athletes compete, I know I have no excuse not to train.

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

Overall, I love that Sundried is an ethical company. The world that we live in now needs these types of products. I’ve always loved being out in nature (my parents used to call me a tree hugger!) and it helps if we can all do our bit and give something back. Being in the health and fitness industry, training is a huge part of my life. The kit looks and feels great for both training and work with the lifestyle choices I choose to make.

My favourite bit of kit is the soft shell jacket. It is versatile and is always with me. Being outdoors, often it provides that extra layer to keep warm pre- or post-training or stood on the side of a football pitch.

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