Steve was stuck in the "eat, sleep, work, repeat" cycle until he joined his colleagues for a triathlon. He talks to Sundried about his journey and love of triathlon.
Have you always been into sport?
I’ve always been into sport, especially when younger, with representative honours for school, district and county level for cricket, football and basketball. Sport then took a back seat for many years until I “discovered” triathlon.
How did you first get into triathlon?
I lived and worked in Saudi Arabia for many years and it was just “eat, sleep work, repeat” until I was asked to join a relay team for the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon in 2014 doing the bike leg. I’d started cycling in 2012 and completed London to Paris in 2013 so a colleague at work thought I’d be a good addition to their team. I enjoyed the experience so much, I joined the Riyadh Triathlon Club and started training (first time I’d trained properly for about 35 years). I was around 110kg at the time and from the April to December lost 22kg. No dieting, just training and eating better.
What has been your favourite race to date and why?
It has to be my first Ironman in Austria in 2016, two years after starting triathlon. From a 110kg overweight executive two years before I was doing something that I (as well as many others) never thought possible. I enjoyed every minute of the 140.6 miles and crossing that finish line was just the best feeling.
What is your proudest achievement?
Other than my first Ironman, being selected for GB Age Group for the Aquabike World Championships in Pontevedra in 2019. I was so proud to wear that GB kit with my name on, especially at the tender age of 61.
Have you ever had any racing disasters?
My first Olympic Distance race in 2014 in Riyadh. It was just five months after starting triathlon and still relatively naive about the nutrition side and over hydrated badly. I was so ill immediately after the race and took four days to recover. That's when I started to take the whole triathlon experience seriously, not just training, but nutrition as well. Also, my first 70.3 was in Bahrain in December 2014 (Challenge Bahrain) and I left all my nutrition and drinks in the fridge at the villa we were staying at, so had to rely on the aid stations and new products for my fuel.
How do you overcome setbacks?
Staying positive and learning from them. Plus accepting my running is my weakest part and that others will pass me on the run, so I have to work much harder.
What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?
How important nutrition is after my episode at my first Olympic Distance race in Riyadh.
What are your goals?
Develop my coaching side and giving something back to others that I have learnt over the last six years from a position of an overweight businessman going through the “eat, sleep, work, repeat” lifestyle and encouraging others like me that they can do the same. Plus to wear the GB Team kit again but this time at triathlon, not just Aquabike, proving that I can run :-)
Who inspires you?
In general it has to be my daughter Louise. She was diagnosed with MS in 2017, but since then has completed several triathlons (two in Abu Dhabi), half marathons and several 10k’s. She is a fighter and won’t let MS beat her. In triathlon it has to be Emma Pallant. In 2015 I was taking part in the Abu Dhabi Triathlon again, with the Riyadh Tri Club, and after our races we watched the Elite Mens and Women’s races. Emma was last out of the water by quite some way (she had trouble with her goggles I think), but she didn’t give up, was so determined and gave everything on the bike and run to not only finish, but passed 16 others athletes on the way. Her coaches were Stuart Hayes and Michelle Dillon (Team Dillon) and Stuart became my coach later that year, and got me to Ironman and the ITU Worlds for Aquabike. Emma is now a good friend.
Why work with Sundried?
I’ve used the Sundried kit for some time and found it really comfortable. Plus the fact they are also a sustainable company, making sports and leisure clothing from 100% recycled materials. We should all be conscious of the environment and to work with a company like Sundried helps in a little way to do this.