Orla Walsh Athlete Ambassador
Orla is an Irish triathlete who likes to race very competitively. She talks to Sundried about training and racing.
Have you always been into sport?
I have always participated in sport. As a kid, I tried my hand at everything I could and played on every team my school had to offer. My family are very sporty, so I am surrounded by it constantly.
What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?
I swam competitively for a long time and I continued to compete in other sports and cross country through school. I attended a Triathlon Ireland Talent ID day and since starting the sport I realised how much fun it was and haven't looked back since.
What’s been your favourite race to date and why?
I raced in the Super League Junior event in 2018 in Jersey and I had a load of fun racing in that format. Normally, triathlon is a swim, bike and run of set distance, but in the Super League, the format and distances are mixed up and it's such a novel race to be in.
And your proudest achievement?
Winning the Irish National Standard Distance Championships this year. It was on a really sunny day in July in Wicklow, a gorgeous part of Ireland. The race was stacked, with my competitors being my best friends I trained with day in day out. It was my first standard distance race too. I knew I could do well in the race based on my form leading up to it, but it was great to produce that performance on the day and take the win! It was so amazing to stand on top of the podium being a National Champion for the first time and it was a race I won't forget.
Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?
I have definitely had a few bad days! Some bad days are needed to be grateful for the good ones.
How do you overcome setbacks?
I allow myself a few days to reflect, move on, and use it as motivation. Straight after a bad race, I take the night off and maybe the whole next day. I try to meet friends who don’t do triathlon and completely switch off, just for a few hours.
A day or two later, I will chat to my coaches on what went wrong and reflect on it. I use all the bad bits as motivation and try to do better in the future to not allow it to happen again.
What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?
Don't forget to have fun! I am lucky to get to race with my friends and even sometimes my family in great events in amazing places in Ireland and abroad. The time I have doing triathlon will only be a short chapter of my life and the most important thing, after it all, is to be able to look back and say – that was really fun!
What are your goals for 2020?
My number one goal is to produce performances I can be proud of consistently, whether that is at ITU races, French Grand Prix, Bundesliga, or domestic races.
I want to race abroad in the French Grand Prix and the Bundesliga, I want to get more experience racing in highly competitive events and race some of the best in the sport.
I want to retain my title as National Standard Distance Champion and add to it with a win at the National Sprint Distance Championships.
Who do you take your inspiration from?
I look those who are close to me, and in particular the people in my training group. We run, bike and swim together almost everyday, and it is clear what work goes on behind their achievements. I see how hard they push themselves to be at their very best and they make me want to push myself harder. We all race against each other but every time I do well, it is my group that are the most encouraging and supportive on race day.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?
The brand takes positive steps to reduce carbon emissions and does not endorse fast fashion, while being transparent. My favourite piece of the Sundried kit is the Velo cycling kit!