Paul is a Team GB Triathlete and has competed in the ITU World Championship Finals two years running. He talks to Sundried about how he got into the sport and some of his best and worst races.
Have you always been into sport?
I have always enjoyed sport and followed football and combat sports most of my life.
What made you decide to enter triathlon?
I boxed for a few years and when I damaged my hand in a fight I decided to take up running to keep fit. I met my best friend Cassie at the club and watched her do a triathlon. I really enjoyed watching it and thought if I could learn how to swim I wouldn’t mind giving it a try. She entered me into an aquathlon 3 weeks later which I nearly drowned doing it as my swimming was so bad but I had fun. This started the addiction of multi-sport racing and I haven’t looked back since.
What’s been your best race to date?
My best race to date must be London Marathon the second time I did it; everything went so right and I achieved a PB of 2:55:36. The previous year I had struggled with nutrition and totally fell apart in the last few miles, this time I learned from my mistakes and executed the plan perfectly.
And your proudest achievement?
Qualification to race for Team GB in the ITU World Finals in Chicago 2015 and Mexico 2016, both times the experience has been amazing and I am truly proud and humble that I have had this opportunity. At the moment I am trying to qualify for this year’s World Final in Rotterdam 2017, I think this will be the toughest year to qualify as it's in Europe but I am training and working hard every day to get the results I need.
Have you ever had any racing disasters / your toughest race yet?
The toughest race I have done is Midnightman in Kent; this is a full Iron distance race and runs throughout the night into the early morning. The cycle nearly broke me mentally as it was the first time I had cycled 112 miles and it was in the middle of the night so pitch black and only dim street lights to keep you on the road. The miles ticked off slowly and with nothing to look at it was a battle to keep going. Finally, I got off the bike and started the run way too fast and paid for it by mile 15; kerbs I had skipped up now felt like huge steps and tiredness from being up so long started to kick in. I finished the race in about 10:54:00 but it felt so much longer.
How do you overcome setbacks?
Setbacks are all part of growing as an athlete, I don’t mind them at all and I like to tell people about them because it gets them off my chest and out in the open. Life is amazing and I have so many great people around me that I can’t get down about a race, at the end of the day it’s only a race and there are plenty more I can do.
What is the best bit of advice you wish someone had told you before you started competing?
Listen to yourself and believe in your dreams, many people will try and tell you what you want can’t be achieved but they can with hard work. When I first told people I wanted to complete an Ironman and race for Team GB only a few believed in me the rest laughed, I have done both and I am very proud but this is just the start and so much more will be achieved.
What are your goals for 2017?
I am working hard to qualify for Team GB in the ITU World Finals in Rotterdam at the end of the year.
Who do you take your inspiration from?
I take inspiration from my 2 best friends Cassie and Joel, both are parents and both are triathletes. They juggle their time amazingly so they can be there for their family and also achieve great things in the sport, to me this is just awesome and I am super proud of them both.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?
The Sundried Tri-Suit is a fantastic bit of kit. It fits really well and it's a very technical piece. As a professional triathlete, I can be pretty fussy about what kit I wear, but Sundried have really outdone themselves with their triathlon gear.