Ironman Exmoor 70.3 triathlon running athlete

Mark enjoys training as part of his lifestyle and now has the big goal of completing a full Ironman. He talks to Sundried about life as a triathlete.

Have you always been into sport?

I have always enjoyed sport from a very early age and would say I was pretty much an all-rounder. I love being active and I am always willing to try something different and give it a go. 

What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

My local town holds an annual event and I had always wanted to see what it took to complete a triathlon.  I love all three disciplines so it made sense that I gave it a shot.  Since then I have been hooked.

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

My favourite race has to be Ironman Exmoor 70.3 in 2016.  This event has since been renamed the immortal!  It is without doubt the hardest race I have ever completed.  The cycle route felt like it was all up hills and the run was a three lap cross country run with each lap starting with a huge climb.   It took  all my willpower and mental strength to keep going.

Ironman finish line Exmoor 70.3 triathlon

Favourite motivational fitness quote?

Train hard, race easy!

And your proudest achievement?

I ran the London Marathon.  I had never run much more than 10k back then so it was a big jump for me.  I made a plan and set myself a goal to finish in under 4 hours.  I was finishing work at 7pm some nights and getting home to run 2 or 3 hours in the dark!  I completed the marathon in 3 hours 30 minutes exactly.   My new goal is to run a sub-3 hour marathon which I am working on.

How do you overcome setbacks?

Try not to beat yourself up.  I recently suffered shin splints and was told not to run for at least a month! This was extremely hard for me since I love to run.  It's my natural "drug" that makes me instantly feel happier and alleviates any stress from work.  I am addicted to the endorphins that can kick in during or after a workout or both.   I was strict on myself and did everything I was told and now I am back running faster than ever. 

What is the best bit of advice you wish someone had told you before you started competing?

Make sure you take rest days!  I have always struggled with this and feel guilty if I don’t train each day.   I feel if I’m not training then I am not getting better but you need to rest for your body to adapt and improve.   I now have a certified coach who keeps me in line and makes sure I take enough rest and tells me off when I decide to carry on running after a workout.  It’s so easy to over-train which will only have a negative impact on all the hard work.

What are your goals for 2019?

My ultimate goal is to complete my first Ironman 140.6.  I have signed up to Ironman Nice, France on June 30th 2019. 

Who do you take your inspiration from?

There is no one person in particular but anyone who is prepared to push their boundaries and be disciplined and dedicated to a dream or goal.   

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

I love the fact that Sundried has created fashionable products with things such as recycled coffee or plastic bottles.  They have a true ethos behind the brand and really help the environment and support charities.  I feel more brands should take a leaf out of their book.   My favourite product would have to be the men's trisuit!