• Natasha Pertwee Team GB Age Group Triathlete

    Natasha Pertwee Running Trail Run

    Natasha made a big move to Australia the same year she qualified for the Team GB Age Group team. She talks to Sundried about all things triathlon.

    Have you always been into sport?

    I have always been a sporty person and have actively participated in many sports from karate to climbing, hockey to skiing, but in the last 5-6 years I have been training hard for triathlon.

    What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

    I was a member of a running club and after a while I felt that I needed to try something new. A couple of other people fancied a go at triathlon and so we got together and entered our first race. I haven’t looked back since.

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

    Without a doubt it was the World Championship in Mexico last year. It was perfect. Perfect venue, perfect support and the race went exactly to plan. I couldn’t have asked for more.

    And your proudest achievement?

    Qualifying for Team GB's Age Group team.

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

    Every race is an opportunity to learn. My worst race ever was a local race very early in the season. I decided not to put an extra layer on in transition and my hands became so cold that I couldn't change gear or press on the brakes!

    Cycling triathlon race

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    I have certainly had challenges along the way. Work, family and life in general can throw all sorts of challenges at you. As a family we emigrated to Australia at the same time as qualifying for GB. That’s a lot to organise in 1 year!

    What is the best bit of advice you wish someone had told you before you started competing?

    Get swimming lessons straight away!

    What are your goals for 2018?

    I hope to qualify for GB again next year.

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    There are so many people I take inspiration from. Those who have made it to the top of their field like Chrissie Wellington but also the mums, dads and kids who turn out to the local events and give it their all. It is a sport for everyone.

    What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?

    My favourite things are the shorts and the training tops. I don’t need the warm things as much now that I am in Australia! I'd love to see more running shorts. I love the fact that Sundried has charity at its heart and as a company they consider the environment and ethics within the company structure. It is inspiring.

     

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Leigh Harris Team GB Age Group Triathlete

    Leigh Harris Running Triathlon Triathlete

    Leigh started his athletic life as a cyclist but moved into triathlon after an injury. He now represents Great Britain as an Age Group triathlete. He talks to Sundried about life in the sport.

    Have you always been into sport?

    From a young age I was always active, spending most of my time outside on my bike, playing football or climbing trees! It wasn’t until secondary school that I began to focus on sport properly. I had a great PE teacher who allowed friends and I to ride bikes during his lesson.

    Following that I started racing mountain bikes at local cross-country races and ended up riding XC and downhill all over the UK and France for my local bike shop and Pace Racing. I was away most weekends, my parents even nicknamed me “The Lodger” because they never saw me! It was a fun time experienced with great friends.  

    What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

    I got into triathlon following an achilles rupture in 2011. As part of my rehabilitation I started looking at other sports and on the advice of my physiotherapist I started swimming and running which I began to enjoy. Having regained some strength and as a training goal I decided to compete in a local triathlon where I came 3rd. I haven’t looked back since and my passion for the sport continues to grow.

    Leigh Harris cycling triathlon triathlete

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

    My favourite has to be Leeds WTS in June 2017. I was a little apprehensive going into the race due to organisational problems the previous year and the fact it was a qualification race for Australia World Championships 2018. My wife had also told me not to come home unless I qualified (I’m sure she was only joking) so the pressure was on. I needn’t have worried as the organisation was fantastic and I finished in Q3 spot to qualify for Australia. The main reason it stands out was the fabulous crowds! I’ve never experienced such support and encouragement at an event, I think the whole of Leeds turned out!

    And your proudest achievement?

    It was qualifying for the 2016 Sprint World Championships in Mexico at Eton Dorney. This was my first qualifier, so I didn’t know what to expect, it was tough racing in a quality field that included 7 times world Champion Richard Stannard.

    Although I finished outside the top 4, missing out on automatic qualification, I was pleased to finish inside the percentage required to be offered a fast finisher spot, this was subject to other race results later in the year.

    I was ecstatic to find out I had qualified as I didn’t expect to achieve such a good result in my first qualification race.

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

    That’s got to be at the 2016 Sprint World Triathlon Championships in Mexico. It was not so much a racing disaster more a learning experience. I’d had a great swim (PB) and worked hard to get into a good bike group, I even managed to break away coming into T2, then the run happened!

    As soon as I came out of transition I found myself going backwards, despite taking water on at every aid station my body just couldn’t cope with the extreme heat and humidity; frustratingly I ran the slowest 5k I’ve ever run!

    In hindsight I was lucky to finish the race at all as many others didn’t, and some were even hospitalised.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    Normally my biggest setbacks come when I get injured, however, the joy of triathlon is that you get to train in 3 different disciplines. An injury can be frustrating, but I try and convalesce by focusing on my weaknesses in the other disciplines.

    I like to reflect a lot on previous training/races and ask myself constructively how/why things went wrong and what I could have done differently. I’m also very lucky to have a supportive family and triathlon club who let me offload a lot of my concerns and help me gain perspective.

    What is the best bit of advice you wish someone had told you before you started competing?

    Join a Triathlon club. They are full of fantastic likeminded athletes with a common passion for fitness and the sport. They will also have a range of different sessions and expert coaches to guide you through the various disciplines making sure you’re ready for your first race.

    I would also say have fun, don’t take it too seriously, relax, enjoy your training and racing, and the results will come.

    What are your goals for 2018?

    I’ve already qualified for the Standard Distance World Championships in Australia so the goal for 2018 is to try and qualify for the Sprint Distance race as well. The race I’m targeting is Eton Dorney in May which is also the qualifier for the 2019 World Championships in Lausanne so hopefully I’ll be able to qualify for both.

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    I was first inspired at an young age by Miguel Induráin, he is one of the reasons I got into cycling and really started pushing myself. Recently I would say the Brownlee brothers because they are not only amazing athletes but also great ambassadors for the sport.

    Most importantly I get inspiration daily from my friends and family who prove that age is no barrier in triathlon.

    What do you like about Sundries and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?

    It has become a throwaway society; therefore, it is refreshing to find a quality brand who cares about how their sportswear is produced from the materials, staff to the final product packaging. It is clear to see that the company is passionate about sustainability and fitness.

    It is great to be partnered with a brand who has a similar ethos and passion and can help in my journey of meeting new people and inspiring others to take up the sport.

    My favourite bit of kit at the moment is the Plaret Men's Training T-Shirt, it’s a great cut, fits perfectly and is very versatile, I use it for most of my activities. The wicking quality of the garment is also very impressive, and I love the fact that it’s made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. 

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Beginner Triathlon Advice

    Triathlon is a complex sport and there's a lot to get your head around. Sundried is here to explain the jargon and help you on your way to your first race.

    Beginner Triathlon Guide

    Sundried has written a guide for beginner triathletes so that you can understand everything that it entails. From distances to jargon, this handy guide has everything you need to know. You can find the Sundried triathlon guide here.

    What do I wear for a triathlon?

    Triathlon gear is very specific and you will need to buy some items you don't already own. Most people already have a pair of running trainers and leggings. But you'll need a tri suit and other accessories. Check out our guide on triathlon gear for the full list of things you'll need for your race.

    Triathlon Race Day Checklist

    If you forget something important, you won't be able to race! So it's important to have a comprehensive checklist of everything you'll need for the day. Have a read of Sundried's triathlon race day checklist so that you can see what kit you'll need for your first triathlon and be sure that you've got everything for the big day!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Monster Middle Triathlon 2017

    Sundried ambassador Luke Elgar gives us a race report of his performance at the Monster Middle Distance Triathlon.

    My year started well with personal bests.

    However, after getting injured I became downhearted. It didn’t take long to dawn on me that my inability to put in some meaningful running miles meant it was going to be another year before I took the step up to middle distance triathlon. Fortunately, the standard distance still had places and I was able to change my entry. I knew that I had the base fitness to run 10k off the bike without having to train that distance in the build up and there I rediscovered my love for participating in this amazing sport rather than putting pressure on results and times!

    Adding to the excitement is being part of JBR Tri club. A small but growing and incredibly friendly club, they take on events with a real team spirit whether you only joined yesterday or are one of the founding members. We travelled to Cambridgeshire the day before the race and a hearty meal and few laughs set the tone for the evening and forthcoming race day.

    Ely is a small, stunning Cambridgeshire town with a busy canal running by the cathedral packed with pubs, restaurants and art galleries either side of the water making a great race setting. 

    The Swim

    The water tasted a bit like diesel which wasn't too pleasant, but it felt more mild once in. This ended some pre-race concerns as it was a freezing late summer morning. A narrow funnel for the many competitors made for an exciting swim with sighting made less important as I could gauge distance from how many metres I was from the parked canal boats. The banks nearer transition were crammed with spectators as were the foot bridges meaning I could hear the supporters with every turn of the head.

    Out to the buoy and back again I was sure that I was going well enough, knowing that a top 15 swim would put me well in contention when I came into my comfort zone on the bike. Into T1 and unfortunately this event has a rough swim exit due to the hidden rocks which are near impossible to avoid meaning some pain in the toes once the race adrenaline eases.

    The Bike

    Into the bike and the course immediately felt fast. Flat and quiet roads meant for some mean racing! A slight incline out of town on the main drag worked the quads however once into the country my Garmin was giving me a smile. One section along the far end of the course is very bumpy and the road poorly kept however the main road back to Ely offered a kind tail wind and slight decline meaning for over a mile many of us were sitting relatively comfortably above 30mph. With the cathedral drawing closer, so was transition meaning that my racing was nearly done!

    The Run

    Something inside was telling me that maybe without training I could, by some miracle, run a PB off the bike, but reality soon kicked in and I was way off the pace! So I switched off and just tried to enjoy the fact I was racing again and embracing the support from fellow club members at the side of the road. Unfortunately for me, reality had another kick for me when my quads cramped up in a big way 5km in. So after a short walk and a stretch I got going again and 4 laps of a scenic course through the cathedral grounds were soon done.

    The Finish

    Time to re-hydrate and refuel with a beer and a burger and cheer on my club comrades. One last pleasant twist to my race day was being joined by a friend I made riding to Paris as part of an event organised by Great Ormond Street hospital. He had just enjoyed a long ride and happened to live close by so was equally eager to re-hydrate and watch the race draw to a close.

    Posted by Guest Reviewer
  • Couch To Triathlon (13) - Looking Ahead To 2018

    Race season really is over for 2017

    I completed my last race for the year at the weekend, which was the Windsor Duathlon at Dorney Lake and it was a fantastic race for me (you can read more about it here.) I went on holiday for 2 weeks at the beginning of November and did zero training while I was away. I also wasn't able to eat well as we were in Egypt which meant I had the dreaded holiday tummy most of the time! As such, when I got home and went for my first run back after holiday, I was horrified at how difficult it was! It's pretty unreal how much fitness you can lose in a relatively short space of time, but having the race in a few days I knew I had to just dig deep and get the training done. I got back to training on the Monday and had the race that Saturday so I trained hard to get my fitness back up. Thankfully, on the day, I performed better than I expected and was really happy with my result.

    This was my second duathlon (my first being Bowood House in October which you can read about here) and I chose to do the sprint distance which is a 5k run - 20k bike - 5k run. At Bowood, I did the super-sprint distance so I decided to up the ante and go for a slightly longer distance. I've found that I really enjoy doing duathlon so I'll be sure to do some more next autumn and winter after my main races of the year.

    Racing in 2018

    With my heart set on an Ironman (!) in 2019, I am planning out my races for 2018. The biggest event for me will be Paris Marathon in April. I have never run a marathon before and in fact I never thought I'd be able to run one full stop. I'm not naturally good at running at all and I've always been very slow. Most people's 5k pace is what I consider a full pelt sprint! Therefore, running a marathon will be a huge accomplishment for me and I am taking my training very seriously. I've entered the Thorpe Park half marathon in February and the Lydd 20 Mile in March as preparation for the marathon. The farthest I've run to date is 13.1 miles (I've done 2 half marathons) so I'm looking forward to seeing what happens when I start running longer distances! I've also entered the London Triathlon which is in August so I'll be keeping up my triathlon training too. I'll be doing Hanningfield Triathlon in May as my first ever triathlon and a stepping stone for London. I'm really excited for all these races, especially as each one will be a big achievement for me. 

    I think the most important thing is to stay realistic and remember where I started. I read a lot about people who turned up at their first ever triathlon with no experience and ended up placing 2nd or 3rd in their age group. For me, just trying not to come last is the main goal! I have to keep reminding myself that everyone has different abilities and that just taking part at all is something to be really proud of. I've had a great year this year which the London To Southend Bike Ride, Bearbrook 10k, Garmin Ride Out, Kent Coastal Half Marathon, Bowood House Duathlon, and Windsor Duathlon. I've entered into new territory with both my running and cycling, and putting them together into multi-sport! I've learnt to swim front crawl and by next year I'll be doing a triathlon. That's pretty good going if you ask me.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren