Shaun Wood is a young triathlete who went from zero to hero in only a few years. He talks racing highs and lows and discusses his goals for the future.
Have you always been into sport?
Yes. I always enjoyed sport at school and generally just being outside as a child. I also played football and cricket up until leaving university. I had slowly been finding both of these a bit of a chore for the final few years so leaving university was the natural break I needed to say 'enough is enough.'
What made you decide to enter triathlon?
I did my first triathlon in 2010 as a bet with a friend from school. At that point, I had never swum, didn't own a bike, and hadn't run more than a mile. I wouldn't say I started doing triathlon properly until 2014 when I started to train all year and with a bit more structure.
What’s been your best race to date?
To be honest, no one race stands out to me. I still don't feel I have achieved a result in a big race that I am capable of. I've had a few Age Group top 10s in Ironman races and a lot of top 5s in some of the smaller domestic races but hopefully in these next 18 months I'll be able to step it up.
And your proudest achievement?
Finishing third in my age group at Ironman Malaysia. This wasn't the result I was hoping for, but after leading for the majority of the bike leg my body decided it had had enough, so simply getting to the finish line at all is something of which I am incredibly proud.
Have you ever had any racing disasters / your toughest race yet?
My toughest race yet has to be Ironman Malaysia. Biggest disaster or disappointment has to be at the Outlaw Half in Nottingham. After getting onto the bike in the top 20, I punctured twice in the first 10km. I only carry 1 set of spares so I was slowly trudging back towards the race village to drop out. Thankfully and unbelievably, a spectator who lived nearby saw me and ran home to grab a spare wheel so I could at least finish. This ultimately cost me about 25 minutes so that's race over. I then went on to post one of the quickest run splits which made the disappointment all the greater. Hopefully that's my share of bad luck for the season.
How do you overcome setbacks?
Ultimately you have to remember we do this for fun. Yes, I'm incredibly competitive but I do triathlon because I enjoy it and that's something I try never to lose sight of.
What is the best bit of advice you wish someone had told you before you started competing?
Don't rush it! When I first started training, I was always looking for the magic session that would immediately take minutes off my time. Everyone who has ever trained for triathlon knows no such thing exists and results are born from consistent hard work and there really are no shortcuts.
What are your goals for 2017?
My overriding goal is just to continue to improve and build for 2018. I was aiming to win the Blenheim Palace Triathlon Weekend Warrior race which I was lucky enough to do and I even managed to equal the course record. My next big race is Ironman France where I hope to perform well. I'm trying to go in without aiming for a particular result and just focussing on having the best race possible and see where that takes me.
Who do you take your inspiration from?
As much as following the pros provides motivation, I think the real inspiration comes from the age groupers who are juggling work and family commitments with an insane amount of training. Seeing what they are able to do really pushes me and makes me question my excuses when I can't be bothered to hop on my bike or go to the pool.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?
My favourite thing about Sundried is just the obvious quality of the clothing. The motto 'you get what you pay for' is certainly true here! I would really struggle to pick a favourite product, everything I have had has been excellent.