Stuart Backhouse - Athlete Ambassador
Have you always been into sport?
Yes, I've done sports since a very young age. As a child I was into traditional sports like rugby and cricket, although I also played a lot of badminton and basketball. As I got older I moved into cycling. Then at University I played golf and squash. I then moved into sailing which had always been part of the family, but hadn't been my number one sport. This dominated my spare time for 15 years until I got into triathlon.
How did you first get into triathlon?
I first got into triathlon because my brother was due to do the Blenheim triathlon, but was injured and couldn't go and asked if I wanted his place. He was due to do the event with my daughter, so I had bought an old bike and had been out doing some training with her, as well as running. At this time I didn't even have a wetsuit and borrowed my brothers for the first event trying it on just 12 hours before the race. Thankfully it fitted!
What has been your favourite race to date and why?
Am I allowed 2 favourites? My first is Blenheim. I've done it for years now, and usually take part in the weekend warrior, where you try to complete as many triathlons as possible over the weekends allowed time. My record is 9. But my favourite one was the last race I did one year where I went round with my daughter. She's a much stronger swimmer, so she was waiting for me to come out of the water. We dragged our sorry bodies round the bike course together, then I think I carried her most of the way on the run (well it was more of a walk - as we were on our 7th tri). I got a great picture of us holding arms aloft as we ran round together.
My second is Ironman Barcelona. Having broken my collarbone 7 weeks prior to the event in 2018 and having to defer. I consider myself lucky. 2018 was a wet race with a lumpy sea. 2020 also didn't happen due to covid, and 2021 was probably the roughest sea that they could have and still compete. 2019 was the most perfect conditions. Slightly overcast with a light breeze and a flat sea. The swim was amazing and I was able to follow the lines in the sand, the water was so clear. The bike course was a dream following the coastline in the main. And the run was along the seafront in Calella with amazing support. I finished in just over 11 hours.
What is your proudest achievement?
My proudest achievement is my daughter racing GB age group Sprint Triathlon in Russia a few years ago, and competing twice in elite races. Of course I taught her everything. And she wouldn't be where she is today without my encouragement and training!
Have you ever had any racing disasters?
I've been lucky I think, I haven't had any major disasters in races. I've come off my bike a few times in training. I did get a puncture at the Sundowner tri, but managed to hobble round as the bike has tubeless tires and it resealed with some air. We did the Croyde Triathlon last year. We turned up on the day to find the driest part of the course was the swim! And I hadn't realised the run was on the coast path and I only had my racing road shoes, but they handled it well. Oh and at Ironman, I was pushed out to the side when overtaking on the bike going up a hill that sent me through the cones nearly coming off, but more scary was being faced with the cyclist coming back down the hill at 35mph.
How do you overcome setbacks?
I try not to think in the negative. If training isn't showing the speeds I hope for or a race doesn't get the result I expect, it's just an opportunity to try harder. Think about what went well and look at where things can be changed or improved.
What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?
Put the timing chip on your left ankle. You stand out as a complete newbie with it on your right!
What are your goals?
I feel I've achieved my goal, which was to complete Ironman. After it I said never again. But maybe one day it would be nice to try and go for sub 11hrs, but age is not on my side. I'm happy doing half ironman distance and enjoying it for what it is. I'm not out to PB or win the race.
Who inspires you?
The Brownlee brothers. They are truly amazing athletes. And true ambassadors of the sport.
Why work with Sundried?
The clothing is stylish, practical and affordable. Added to this the brand is ethical and brand values that I truly believe in.
To hear more from our ambassadors and get free tips on workout plans and more, connect with the Sundried Personal Trainers on our app.