Mark first got into triathlon for fun and now enjoys pushing himself in full Ironman triathlons. He talks to Sundried about his journey.
Have you always been into sport?
Absolutely, ever since my early days at school and playing football every break-time, through to captaining school teams, all I ever wanted to do was play sport, so much so that when I joined the Navy at 19 and became aware of becoming a Physical Training Instructor the goal was apparent. As life and age caught up with me, it's now a case of finding the time to get out when I can, but the passion and desire to continually push myself has never disappeared.
What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?
If I'm honest, completely by accident. I had never seen myself as a triathlete and to a certain extent still don't, but I have always tried to stay fit, with running and latterly cycling and one day a friend came up with the hair-brain idea to enter Weymouth 70.3 half Ironman in 2017.
At this point, I had only completed 2 triathlons in my life and those were simply for a laugh, so this was a big step, needless to say, I loved it, so much so, I went back in 2019 to do it again and I am now training for Ironman Portugal in November!
What’s been your favourite race to date and why?
Both of the Weymouth 70.3's were an amazing experience and huge sense of achievement, but having completed 3 London Marathons, there really is nothing quite like that atmosphere, the crowd and the whole day are electric.
And your proudest achievement?
At 48, I am no spring chicken, and whilst looking back the London Marathons were proud moments and likewise the two 70.3's are up there, especially as I would say I am probably fitter now than I have been for 25 years. The achievement I am most proud of was climbing Italy's highest mountain (Gran Paradiso) in 2017 to raise money for Naomi's House and Jacksplace which is a hospice that provides expert care for life-limited children and young adults. In 2017, I climbed Gran Paradiso, completed the 3 Peaks challenge and Weymouth 70.3 all for the charity, it was a big year, but hugely rewarding.
Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?
It would be the kiss of death to say no disasters, although the night before my first London marathon, I had traveled up alone the day before to register, etc. and thought it would be a good idea to have an Indian takeaway the night before, needless to say by mile 10 I was not feeling too special!
How do you overcome setbacks?
I am a big advocate for mental attitude (easier said than done), but life will always through curve balls our way, we can't control that. But how we process them and approach those setbacks is what we can control, many years ago having lost my job after relocating to Australia, I read the book 'Who Moved My Cheese' by Spencer Johnson a very simple story of focusing on the negatives so much that you miss the positives.
What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?
Don't get into triathlon, it's way too expensive! No seriously, you don't need to spend a fortune on all the fancy kit when you start out, make do with what you have until you really know this is for you.
What are your goals?
Complete IM Portugal in under 13 hours
Who do you take your inspiration from?
Back in the 80's I remember watching a documentary about a father that completed an Ironman with his disabled son, he towed him on a raft on the swim, he had an adopted bike where his son sat on the front for the bike and he pushed him in a wheelchair for the run. The pair are Dick and Rick Hoyt and as of March 2016, the Hoyts had competed in 1,130 endurance events, including 72 marathons and six Ironman triathlons and they had run the Boston Marathons 32 times. Also adding to their list of achievements, Dick and Rick biked and ran across the U.S. in 1992, completing a full 3,735 miles (6,011 km) in 45 days. Now that's an inspiration!!
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?
As a family, we are very aware of the need to adopt a more conscious approach toward saving our planet and when I found Sundried and began to understand their values around sustainability, I was sold. My favourite bit of kit has to be the Sundried Plaret t-shirt, not only comfy and great fit but made from 100% recycled bottles.