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Robert Blackmun Athlete Ambassador

by Alexandra Parren
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Ironman finisher triathlon

Rob is a triathlete who completed a full Ironman in his back garden to raise money for charity. He talks to Sundried about training and racing.

Have you always been into sport?

I grew up mostly playing football but was always cycling or running around when not with a ball at my feet. I then started playing and coaching handball whilst at Loughborough Uni as well as dedicating more time to general fitness and gym work. I then got in to obstacle course racing (OCR) for a couple of years as I transitioned from team sports to more solo based, endurance sports.

How did you first get into triathlon?

I got my first road bike through the cycle to work scheme to commute to my first job after uni. As I was running more through doing OCR, I decided that I could combine the two and so I entered a local duathlon, it then wasn't long until I decided that two sports wasn't hard enough and triathlon beckoned. My first triathlon was a super sprint in 2016.

What has been your favourite race to date and why?

I raced with a good friend at the Hamburg Olympic distance triathlon which was an amazing experience and getting to watch the pros race topped it off nicely.

What is your proudest achievement?

My goal when starting triathlon was to one day do an Ironman, I achieved that in 2019 at Ironman UK which was an amazing feeling and definitely my proudest moment. A close second is in April this year (2020) I completed an "Ironman" in my back garden during lockdown to raise over £1200 for charity - running a marathon in 30m shuttles is not fun!

Have you ever had any racing disasters?

Touch wood, I've not yet had any major issues or disasters!

How do you overcome setbacks?

Having faith in knowing I've done the right training and preparation helps me to stay focused when things occasionally go of course. Mental strength is a big part of triathlon!

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

Join a club! Training alone is great to help build resilience and simulate non-drafting cycling, but the enjoyment from training with others will make you train better and see greater improvements.

What are your goals?

Currently I'm looking at doing some ultra endurance cycling races as my main goals for 2022. I'll also be racing some time trials, circuit races and local duathlons as part of my training blocks

Who inspires you?

There's too many to list! Lucy Charles-Barkley is a great inspiration as she's so positive and demonstrates that hard work pays off. I'm also inspired by athletes from other disciplines who show dedication and an ambition to push the boundaries of what's possible, two notable ones being Eddie Hall and Ross Edgley.

Why work with Sundried?

A big passion of mine is sustainability so I love the ethos of Sundried in producing sportswear that lasts, and is made from recycled fabrics and coffee grounds!

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