• Craig Fulham Athlete Ambassador

    racing running fitness

    Craig is a triathlete who went from not being able to swim and having no bike, to qualifying for the GB Age Group team in just two years. He talks to Sundried about training and racing.

    Have you always been into sport?

    Sport has always played a huge role in my life. Growing up, I was always playing, competing, talking about it or watching it. Not much has changed either.

    How did you first get into triathlon?

    I got into triathlon by accident really. I had suffered a pretty nasty back injury and my physio advised me to take up swimming to help keep me fit through my recovery. A friend told me about a local club that offered coached swim sessions and they cost less than a public session so I decided to give it a whirl. Next thing I know, I'm signed up to a race.

    What has been your favourite race to date and why?

    There have been many highlights but my favourite would have to be Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire. It's in my hometown so the support is like nothing else. Pizza at the finish line is a big bonus too!

    What is your proudest achievement?

    Qualifying for a place in the GB Age Group team. Going from not being able to swim and not having a bike, to achieving qualification in just two years was a huge achievement for me.

    Have you ever had any racing disasters?

    Getting lost on a swim was probably the worst one. Note to self - do not sight on other swimmers!

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    It sounds a bit cliche but I focus on what I can do and controlling the controllables.

    What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?

    Just because it's carbon, doesn't mean that you have to buy it.

    What are your goals?

    For 2021 am aiming for a top 10 finish at the European championships. There is a lot of work to do between now and then but always aim high!

    Who inspires you?

    There is no one person that I can say truly inspires me. I just really love the training and the process of self improvement.

    Why work with Sundried?

    Sundried kit looks great, performs great and has environmentalism at its core. When I had the opportunity to be an ambassador, it was a no-brainer.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Hugo Barclay Athlete Ambassador

    cycling downhill descending

    Hugo is a triathlete who enjoys unusual challenges. He talks to Sundried about training and racing.

    Have you always been into sport?

    While growing up between Scotland and France, I was fortunate to live in an environment where as a kid I could spend more time outside than inside and sport was the excuse to be out the house all hours of the day. I was only exposed to triathlons during my working life, being naturally good at the individual disciplines and uninspired by marathons

    What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

    Triathlons for me are the pinnacle symbol of well-being - they highlight a commitment to a lifestyle and mindset of the good-old cliché; to constantly strive to be a better version of oneself.

    I find it useful to have races in the diary, they're anchors that help me maintain the fitness goals. as a business owner not a not a professional athlete, they're a good preoccupation and release

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

    I like unusual challenges - where it can be hard to differentiate one half marathon or duathlon from another. Cycling from Brussels to Amsterdam over a weekend is high up there in being type (1) fun while requiring a decent level of grit to reach our destination on time.

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

    I once turned up to a race without my trainers. I didn't leave the house barefoot, but the sense of anxiety I had when I went to change, and my trainers weren't in my bag. Fortunately it was only a 1500 m race - I ran in shoes I was wearing at the time, the timeless Converse.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    I like to focus on the process, whether that be coming back from injury, not reaching a desired time in a race and other aspects of life. For me, focusing on what is immediately in the present, the task at hand, helps me appreciate setbacks as part of the journey

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

    Get accountability partners. Everyone can do something for a bit, but not everyone can do something consistently. Having grit and the right support network, whether it's a friend or partner is essential to helping you reach your goals. Practically, and something I never took seriously at the beginning was post-workout stretching. This shouldn't be underestimated, especially when you're starting to put back-to-back sessions or 20k plus runs.

    What are your goals for 2021?

    My sporting goals are the Marbella Ironman 70.3 and Aberfeldy triathlon.

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    Tim Don, because he's gone through so much with his pre-Kona crash in 2017, getting himself back to fitness. Being a top athlete while staying a humble bloke

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

    I've been lucky to spend a lot of time in Spain during the pandemic, the black men shorts are one of my favourites for both running and playing tennis, they've been great. The grey fleece is also a work-from-home favourite, perfect for comfort when you're in back-to-back zoom calls.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Paul Charlesworth Athlete Ambassador

     triathlete running outdoors

    Paul juggles a busy life as a paediatric surgeon with 4 kids with training for Ironman triathlon. He talks to Sundried about his journey.

    Have you always been into sport?

    Yes. I was a squad swimmer as a child. I sailed as a teen and was part of the University of London sailing team. I played water polo throughout medical school. When I met my wife I got into running. At 35 I started cycling and it was a life changer.

    How did you first get into triathlon?

    I did my first triathlon at 12. A swim leg for a team completing the 1 km swim in 12 mins! I delved into it again in my late 20s doing some short course racing. It wasn’t until I was 34 that I rediscovered triathlon and then Ironman!

    What has been your favourite race to date and why?

    I loved racing the Cotswold 113 this year. I’d set myself a goal of going under 5 hours. The year was crazy for so many people... but to execute the perfect race plan made this an incredible experience!

    What is your proudest achievement?

    In sport, being part of the team GB youth sailing squad, in life managing to have 4 children, work as a paediatric surgeon and have time for racing Ironman. In triathlon, overtaking some of the female pros during the swim at Ironman Barcelona.

    Have you ever had any racing disasters?

    I forgot my cycling computer and managed to get a 12 min T1 as I went back for my bag.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    Don’t expect life or triathlon to be easy. It’s going to be hard, it’s going to take time and effort, redefine what your life balance is and what makes you happy. Remember the great moments when you felt amazing, surround yourself with like-minded people.

    What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?

    Use a power meter to pace your bike leg.

    What are your goals?

    • Qualify for Kona
    • Be a role model for my children
    • Remain positive

    Who inspires you?

    My family, my patients, my friends.

    Why work with Sundried?

    We only live once, if there is a way to find a renewable source of high performance clothing.... I’m in!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Laura Gray Athlete Ambassador

    runner triathlete Team GB

    Laura is a triathlete who has raced for the GB Age Group team. She talks to Sundried about training and racing.

    Have you always been into sport?

    I’ve been into sport since I was four years old and I have my parents to thank for that. Making sure swimming was a part of my childhood meant I went on to be a club swimmer until I was 16 years old. Sport has always been such a big part of my life and it has shaped who I am.

    How did you first get into triathlon?

    After swimming for so many years I soon realised I would never make it as a pro swimmer, always finishing just outside the top of the medals. In high school I took part in the cross country league, the only one from my school and made it to English Schools off the back of very little training. This lead me to join my local running team. I then decided to give cycling a go and my dad would take me to Manchester velodrome every Friday. I soon found my passion and this went on to me giving triathlon a go. The rest is history!

    What has been your favourite race to date and why?

    The 2019 World Triathlon Championships in Switzerland has to be up there for many reasons. My first ever international race, meeting the GB team, following the elite racing and without a doubt the atmosphere of the whole trip was something I will remember forever.

    What is your proudest achievement?

    Finishing 15th at my first international race at the World’s.

    Have you ever had any racing disasters?

    I haven’t had any huge racing disasters that I can recall and I’m sure I would remember them. Last year at the Sandman AAH event I did swim completely the wrong way in the swim and ended up adding a few extra 100 metres onto my swim! I did also once try to do the flying dismount and misjudge it and ended up sliding about 20m through transition- some very sore and bloody knees later!

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    This is something that has taken me a while to grasp and learn. Throughout training and racing there are lots of them, illness, injury etc. However I’ve learnt that these things are often out of our control, they are part of the journey as an athlete. I’ve learnt that focusing on the long term goal helps to keep me motivated and positive during difficult times.

    What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?

    Be consistent all the time, there are going to be some really tough days but those days are what make you stronger.

    What are your goals?

    2021 goal= finish my first ever half Ironman. Long term goal is to see how far I can go on my journey as an endurance athlete with the aim of being pro.

    Who inspires you?

    I guess I have a lot of ladies who inspire me to be better and stronger. I mean Chrissie Wellington is pretty inspiring isn’t she! However I am in awe of Lucy- Charles Barclay for her achievements at such a young age and how quickly she has progressed in this sport. I think she is going to do great things in this sport!

    Why work with Sundried?

    As I spend most of my days training it is important I wear clothing that is going to last me and therefore for me is a huge investment. Sundried understands how important it is for this clothing to be stylish, comfortable and technical. The most exciting part is that it is made from sustainable raw materials and recyclable products, which more than ever in this current climate is so important.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • James Tugwell Athlete Ambassador

    running triathlon finish line

    James is a triathlete who enjoys long distance races. He talks to Sundried about racing highs and lows.

    Have you always been into sport?

    Yes and I’ve always been very active – I’m particularly inspired by my grandfather who was once 5th in the world in bodybuilding and trained me in his gym. It was always team sports growing up though and I played a range of sports going up to county level (cricket being my favourite). Triathlon then took centre stage when I started working. I think I could watch pretty much any sport though.

    How did you first get into triathlon?

    I signed up for my first triathlon as part of a charity event which some colleagues were doing. I really enjoyed the training and the event was great fun, even if things didn’t go perfectly! I signed up for an Ironman straight after that but don’t think I really knew what I was getting myself into!

    What has been your favourite race to date and why?

    The old Ironman 70.3 in Exmoor – it was my first 70.3 and it was brutal! Got quite wet but the scenery and course were amazing.

    What is your proudest achievement?

    Completing my first Ironman sub 10 hours (9:43). After my first triathlon I hired a coach but lots of coaches told me I had no chance as I was also working 80-100+ hour weeks. It added a little fuel to the fire and just shows what you can do if you believe and put in the effort.

    Have you ever had any racing disasters?

    A few stand out but you always learn more from them than the good races:

    I tried a running dismount in my first triathlon despite never having practised it – I ended up stacking it and hit the floor pretty hard (thankfully I could still run!) I completely misjudged a corner in a 70.3 and ended up going into a wall, grazing my neck badly and puncturing. Took a while for me to get back on the bike! I got a puncture in a race and realised I’d forgotten my tire levers – I had to wait 30 minutes for some assistance. I was in the lead when that happened too!

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    I think the key is to be rational and level-headed. If you get an injury, then figure out what you still can do and whether you still have time to achieve your goal/ make your race (I hurt my Achilles one month out from an Ironman and used the cross-trainer and the bike more to keep the fitness level up). If things don’t go well then review and make the necessary changes. For me it’s a hobby and sometimes I need to take a step back and realise that as it can become a little too all-encompassing!

    What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?

    Take it easy and don’t go long so early! Whilst I perform better over longer distances, getting a bit more experience in shorter course races would’ve been lots of fun – I’ve thought about doing it now but I’m not as good/quick relatively versus competition!

    What are your goals?

    The current goal is to qualify for the Ironman world championships in Kona

    Who inspires you?

    My grandfather – he still works out in his gym and he’s 96!

    Why work with Sundried?

    Sundried’s values and beliefs align with mine. With thoughts about starting a family, it makes you really think about what you do and how to act daily. Whatever we can be doing, we should be doing and Sundried is certainly leading the way. What I love is that that doesn’t mean the kit suffers – I’m yet to meet someone who has mentioned a bad thing about the products. The range is exhaustive and can help someone getting into exercise or help more seasoned athletes perform to their best. The kit is high quality and built to last. The built to last attribute has the benefit that means you’re not throwing away kit frequently when it becomes unusable and this is hard to find nowadays (it’s also much better for the environment and has the added benefit that it’s easier on the bank balance)!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
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