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Reuben Smith Athlete Ambassador

by Alexandra Parren
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Reuben is a triathlete who went from sprint distance to full distance in a matter of months. He talks to Sundried about life as a triathlete.

Have you always been into sport?

My mum was a swimming coach, so I was in the pool from a very young age; I started swimming competitively from around age 5. I stopped in my teens but returned to swimming in my late 20s when I realised I needed to do something to keep fit.

What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

After I competed in the European Masters Swimming Championships in London in 2016 (what an experience that was!) I realised it wasn't going to get any better than that and as I got older I was only going to get slower and less interested! A team mate who was also a member of a local triathlon club suggested giving it a go.

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

It has to be The Outlaw in 2018. Not only was it my first full iron distance event, I was part of a team of 11 from my club who did it. The support was immense from the crowds, which included many people who had made the trip from our club just to support us.

And your proudest achievement?

I'm very determined and my proudest achievement has to be completing iron distance within 18 months of starting triathlon. I did my first sprint distance at the end of the 2017 season which was enough for me to be convinced I could complete the full distance by my team mates! In 2018 I started the season with another sprint distance, then a couple of weeks later a standard, a couple of weeks later a half and then a couple of weeks later the full distance. Before this I didn't own a bike and certainly didn't run.

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Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?

As part of my inaugural year I did The Islander middle distance in Essex. It was a big jump up in distance and was my first race in the height of summer. I made so many mistakes with hydration and most importantly waterproof sunscreen! The run is round the circumference of Mersea Island on road, trail and beach and boy was that tough! I was practically crawling over the finish line, with tan (burn) lines from my trisuit that lasted a year!

How do you overcome setbacks?

I've been very lucky in that I haven't had many (and certainly no major setbacks). When I have had injuries (more like niggles) I have taken a step back and rested while taking advice from professionals.

What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?

I joined my local team who were supportive and helpful. I can't think of one thing that I wasn't told or warned about!

What are your goals for 2019 and 2020?

My original plan was to spend 2019 doing half distances, practising technique and then return to full distance in 2020. However, I've enjoyed spending 2019 doing races with less pressure because it doesn't feel like each race has to be the best. If I'm having an off day, it's alright in a couple of weeks after I've regrouped, there is another race in the calendar. I've also done other challenges, such as a 24-hour running relay race. With my eyes opened to a whole world of challenges and races out there, I'm now not so sure what I'll be doing in 2020! One thing is for sure, there is a lot of research to be done before 2020 starts!

Who do you take your inspiration from?

I take my inspiration from my team mates, whoever is performing that bit better than I am! I told you I was competitive!

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

My favourite has to be the cycling gilet. It's the perfect piece of kit for many different conditions. I wear mine to keep warm during cooler rides or when it is drizzling. It's also very handy on rides when you know there will be stopping or waiting around. When you don't need it, it's easily packable in a jersey pocket. It's well made and very good value!

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