Paige McLeod Athlete Ambassador
Paige is a competitive athlete inspired by her triathlete grandparents. She talks to Sundried about racing highs and lows.
Have you always been into sport?
I was always the sporty one at school, often asking the PE teachers if we could do cross country outside in the pouring rain, which didn't make me very popular with my peers!
How did you first get into triathlon?
I started triathlon when I was 7 years old, influenced by my grandma and granddad who also compete and organise triathlons in the area. After I completed by first event, I was hooked and have done it ever since!
What has been your favourite race to date and why?
My favourite race has probably got to be a three day challenge that was held locally. On the Friday night, there was a 750m open water swim, then an aquathlon on the Saturday morning and a Sprint distance triathlon on the Sunday morning. I loved being able to challenge myself over the three days; there weren't many of us that completed all three days and it was a great feeling being one of the few!
What is your proudest achievement?
My proudest achievements would probably be representing Great Britain in duathlon for my age group three years in a row. I have done three World Championships and one European Championship and have won two World Silver medals and one European Gold medal.
Have you ever had any racing disasters?
Last year at the World Duathlon Championships in Pontevedra, Spain, the organisers changed the date of the event after we had booked our flights, which meant that we arrived in Spain the day before I raced, which was not ideal! My granddad was also competing in Spain, but a few days later.
As we were sat on the plane we could see all of the cases and bikes being unloaded and taken away and it was clear that they had only taken one of our two distinctive bike bags off the plane, which I was convinced wasn't my bike. Naturally, I started to have a mini break down on the plane, thinking that my chances of racing were completely over!
Once we got off the plane and into the airport, the bike bag was waiting for us, and by some stroke of luck it was my bike, my granddad's being left in Madrid because there wasn't room for it! After this initial panic we went to our accommodation and tried to get our bearings and find where registration and team briefings were.
The day of the event, we still didn't really know where we were going, but luckily I got my bike racked and actually made it to the start line! I have never been so stressed before an event, however the adrenaline must have helped me as I won a silver medal! My granddad's bike was delivered the next day and he was able to race too!
How do you overcome setbacks?
I have had a fair few setbacks in triathlon, being quite prone to injuries. As I have developed as an athlete, I have become more relaxed about things like this, whereas before I would see it as the end of the world. I always think that you have to take the good with the bad and things will work themselves out eventually (usually requiring more Strength and Conditioning sessions!)
What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?
I wish that someone had told me to be more patient with my training and development, that good times and performances don't just come overnight and that if you do have a bad session or run of sessions, then it isn't the end of the world and to just take a step back, re-evaluate, and start again.
What are your goals?
I am hoping to move from Standard distance triathlon to Half Ironman distance triathlon next year and training has already started to reflect this. Eventually, I would like to represent GB as a long distance athlete and hopefully be successful in that distance.
Who inspires you?
There are a number of people who inspire me, such as top triathletes like Alistair Brownlee. However, the person who inspires me the most would have to be my grandma. She took up triathlon many years ago, with very little sporting experience, when she married my granddad. She has done the sport ever since and now organises events too! She has gone on to win her age group in a National Championship and in the European Championships last year!
Why work with Sundried?
I am currently at University studying Civil Engineering, where we do a lot of research into sustainability and more environmentally friendly methods of construction. This is why the Sundried brand really excites me, as they have recycling and sustainability at the heart of their brand and products.