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Shayne Wilson Athlete Ambassador

by Alexandra Parren
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Sundried athlete ambassador triathlon running activewear

Shayne made the transition from being a heavy rugby player to a competitive triathlete. He talks to Sundried about training and racing.

Have you always been into sport?

Yes, I've been into sports from an early age. I got into competitive swimming until my teens. During my teens I chose to dedicate my time to hockey. I'd say I enjoyed sports in my 20s but didn't dedicate myself to it. It was a pastime and more about socialising and being with team mates than a passion. Until my 30th, when injuries started to take their toll, but also hockey began to impact triathlon training - you can't train hard covered in bruises all the time! Since then, I've dedicated myself to triathlon.

What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

I took a bet from a friend at the hockey club. I was a stocky 15st lad and my friend had dropped a lot of weight over pre-season. I asked him how and he told me he'd started training for the London Triathlon. He knew about my swimming background and asked how fast I could do the swim in - he bet me that I couldn't beat him and laughed when I told him that I'd be 19 minutes in my prime. So I entered, bought a road bike for £300, and began swimming, biking and running as often as I could.

I fell totally in love with the training and after my first race I was hooked. My first race was the Pendle Triathlon. It had been blowing a gale, there were downed trees on the course and people had been dropping out with hypothermia. I loved it though.

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

That has to be Snowman Savage. I came 4th by about 3 minutes. However, the sprint trip on the Saturday is a drag race downhill, then a turnaround and climb back through the most beautiful North Wales scenery. Then the "Olympic" on the Sunday is a hilly bike through North Wales and Snowdonia, with a run up to the summit of Moel Siabod. It's an amazing race in an incredible location.

And your proudest achievement?

Qualification for the GB age group team. Given my starting point of fitness, seeing GB trisuits at my first race, I set it as a goal for myself immediately after that race and I achieved it 4 years later. I've had a family and qualified for worlds and Europeans since, but did not take the places which I really regret. However, my aim is to qualify again and see how well I can do against the best age groupers in the sport.

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

Racing disasters would be the European Championships in 2017. I went into that race in great shape, but contracted a tummy bug a few days before. I was running in and out of the race briefing the day before so started the race a little under the weather and having to concentrate on holding myself together - remember to eat "safe foods" before a massive race! To make matters worse, I punctured at the turn around point on the bike leg, so had to nurse the bike back to transition for 10km.

How do you overcome setbacks?

Good question. I think the first thing is to expect them. Setbacks tend to happen to me when I least expect them, but at least I've got a Plan B and can deal with them. When they do happen, like injuries and such, I think it's important to remember a few things: you can't get fit if you're not healthy - so focus on your recovery and learn to pre-hab when you're fit again. Fitness that you've already built will return quickly. Focus on the journey and the process  - it's all part of what makes our sport great!

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

Aim higher.

What are your goals?

My goal is to podium at a major championship race.

Who do you take your inspiration from?

A few people. When training gets really tough or racing hurts, I tend to think of my wife, my daughter, my parents and other loved ones. I really like Chrissie Wellington's advice of dedicating a kilometre to a loved one.

In terms of people I look up to - Jan Frodeno, and I love the way that Lionel Sanders trains.

What do you like about sundried and what's your favourite bit of our kit?

I love the ethical and environmentally-friendly aspect of the brand. We have so much kit and plastic in our sport. I think it's important for us to do what we can to help the environment. However, I wouldn't use it if it wasn't exceptional for me to race and train in. I love the comfort and quality of the garments. my favourite is my bib shorts - so comfy - even for hours on Zwift!

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