triathlon race athlete

Max is a triathlete whose ultimate goal is to compete at the Ironman World Championships as a pro. He talks to Sundried about training and racing. 

Have you always been into sport?

I have always enjoyed being outside and getting active. I swum competitively since I was 8 before finally stopping at 13 after losing the love for the sport. During that time I competed at county and regional level for both breast stroke and front crawl. Whilst I was swimming I also ran for my prep school cross country team, despite never running outside of this. As a team we managed to win the national title three times in a row (we had some very quick runners!!!) and I even managed to get a podium at our home event one year. I then took a couple of years off any competitive sport and started playing a lot of video games before starting triathlon

How did you first get into triathlon?

As a family, we were doing a cycling holiday in Italy, cycling around 30km a day on bikes that weighed no less than 23kg (we measured them since we thought they were so heavy!) They had a lovely pool at the hotel we were staying at and I was swimming and cycling almost everyday. Since I had a lovely pool to use and a bike as well, I decided I would do a couple of runs whilst I was there as well. Before, I knew it I had signed up for my first triathlon at Hever Castle.

What has been your favourite race to date and why?

Having only been doing triathlon for a couple of years, I am surprised at how many incredible races I have done. My first triathlon will always be memorable, swimming in a bitterly cold lake followed by a very muddy mountain bike course and run. Although I would have to say my favourite race so far is probably Hever Castle in 2020. Having had a season disrupted by the Covid 19 pandemic that has become synonymous with the year, I managed to claim a 2nd place despite having fractured my toe before the start of the swim. I managed to record the fastest bike split of the day as well as the 2nd fastest swim split. Furthermore, you cant get a better backdrop than the Hever Castle Loggia to start your swim from!!

What is your proudest achievement?

I would say my proudest achievement probably goes hand in hand with my favourite race. Having fractured my toe before the start of the swim and still gain a second place was one of my proudest moments. Being able to put that to the back of mind and still execute a near perfect race (except for forgetting my race belt in T1) is one of my fondest memories.

Have you ever had any racing disasters?

Where do we start? Well first of all, tripping up on a step before the start of the swim and fracturing your toe isn’t a great start. Then at Castle Howard in 2019, I recorded the fastest swim and run splits and the second fastest bike split by just 6 seconds and still lost by nearly a 30 seconds. What can be said for my transitions at that race is nothing short of dreadful.

How do you overcome setbacks?

One of the best pieces of advise I have ever been given is that you need to look at the bigger picture. If your aim is completing your first ever triathlon you have to remember that one bad session shouldn’t be changing your aim. One of my favourite quotes from Denzel Washington is this: “If you had $86,400 and someone stole $60, would you throw away $86,340 for revenge? Or move on and live? Each of us have 86,400 seconds every day. Don't let someone's negative 60 seconds ruin the remaining 86,340.” I think this quote can link directly to triathlon. If you have one bad session, or one bad week, or even one bad year if you get injured, don’t let that ruin your focus or ruin your dreams.

What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?

Trust the process. You can’t expect to see gains after each and every session. And if you do expect to see gains after each session and push each session as hard as you can possibly go to see those gains then that is a recipe for disaster. This is one of the key things that me and my coach have been working on over the past year and a half is learning that not every session is designed to push you to the absolute limit.

What are your goals?

Ultimately my goals are to win the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii as a pro. However, this is the long term plan. In the next year my aim is to race the National Junior Series and maybe even gain a podium at a national event which would allow me to go to the Europeans a year earlier. The following year I would like to go to the Junior Europeans and maybe even have a shot at the 70.3 worlds in New Zealand as an age grouper.

Who inspires you?

Tim Don. Hands down one of the most inspirational stories I have ever heard about. Getting hit by a car, breaking your neck when you were in the form of your life and still be able to pull yourself together to compete at the Ironman Worlds as a pro the following year. Simply unbelievable.

Why work with Sundried?

Sundried have been a brand which I have only come to relatively recently, however, after buying one of their cycling jerseys to replace one of double the price, I was shocked by the quality for such value. I can only hope that by me working with them more people might be able to experience their amazing work.