Stuart discovered triathlon as a way of de-stressing from a demanding career. He talks to Sundried about his journey.
Have you always been into sport?
I was always active during my youth, however when I moved to London and started climbing the corporate ladder, sport and exercise took a back seat while I focused on “socialising”. As a youth, I played football, rugby and hockey to a high standard.
How did you first get into triathlon?
When I started my own business, I needed a release from the work and signed up for a local sprint triathlon. At the time, I felt I would never be able to do it; I could only do breaststroke, my runs were no more than a couple of km and I had not been on a bike in years. The journey and the process of learning all these new sports have been fantastic, it helps me switch off and as I have progressed to longer distances the endurance has actually helped with how I deal with the business.
What has been your favourite race to date and why?
I will never forget my first race at Leeds castle, no pressure and a smile on my face the whole way round. My favourite race has been Leeds ITU, I did the standard last year which was a PB for the standard distance, the reason it is my favourite is where else can you race then get to watch the professional athletes straight after while you recover. Brilliant set up!
What is your proudest achievement?
After my first triathlon, I set out to be part of the GB age-group team, it was a long shot given my lack of experience in the sport, but through hard work and dedication, I was fortunate to have times that allowed me to be part of the ETU European Championships and ITU world championships. Sadly, I will have to wait for 2021 to put my GB kit on due to the races benign postponed for the year. I also managed to get my level 1 coaching badge this year, which means I will be able to give back to my local club who helped me massively.
Have you ever had any racing disasters?
Last year, I had two 70.3 events in over 30-degree heat on the run. During the run for the second in Morocco I have never felt so drained on a run, the course offered no shade, it was tough, I have never had a mental battle with myself during a race, it was hard keeping the demons at bay for the last 10km.
How do you overcome setbacks?
I have been lucky so far; as an older athlete I try to manage the loads and recovery as best as I can, I have had a few niggles and sickness, like many I try to rest and recover and not rush back to soon, easier said than done. If you do get a setback, just break it down, don’t overwhelm yourself. I have had friends crash in training in winter, not fully recover until the start of the season and still go on to have good races. Don’t rush yourself back.
What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?
I wish that I had started triathlon earlier, my daughter has just started to get involved and loves it, so many brilliant event organisers supporting kids in the UK. For me though, I wish I had got into structured training earlier, its been an absolute game-changer. I also should have joined a triathlon club sooner, the advice from the coaches, especially in the early days, really helped put me on the right track.
What are your goals?
To race finally in the GB kit, to continue getting quicker, and make it out to the Ironman world championships one year.
Who inspires you?
Many people from many walks of life, in triathlon terms Chris McCormack, the Brownlee brothers and I dare anyone not to be inspired by Halo and Tim Don.
Why work with Sundried?
I like the kit that I have had from Sundried, I have always found it comfortable and lasts well which is not always the case with triathlon kit. The fingerless gloves also have the release loops!