Vanessa Cullen Triathlete And Trail Runner
Vanessa is an Australian athlete who has a passion for triathlon and trail running. She talks to Sundried about some of her past racing disasters and how she pushes through adversity.
Have you always been into sport?
Yes – as a kid it was swimming, soccer, netball and hockey, then as an adult it was muay thai, juijitsu, body sculpting, and now triathlon, trail running and yoga
What made you decide to enter triathlon?
I had to quit martial arts due to a health condition that made impact sports dangerous, so my PT suggested triathlon because he knew I liked spin classes, had taken up running, and used to be a swimmer
What’s been your best race to date?
That’s a hard one because I love racing and race often! It would be a tie between my first Half Ironman in 2016, representing Australia in the Age Group Sprint Triathlon World Championships in Chicago 2015, and having the fastest female bike leg in a local sprint race also in 2015.
And your proudest achievement?
All of the above and surviving the World Masters Games triathlon in Auckland in 2017 intact during horrendous weather!
Have you ever had any racing disasters / your toughest race yet?
Yes, I crashed in the first kilometre of the bike leg of a local triathlon in 2016. One of my shoes wouldn’t close properly and I jacknifed the bike whilst trying to fix it. I slid down the road on my side but got up and finished the bike and run with no back brakes and bleeding with cuts, bruises and busted ribs.
How do you overcome setbacks?
Get back up and start again. From scratch if need be. If you’ve done it once you can do it again.
What is the best bit of advice you wish someone had told you before you started competing?
Don’t bother with having your shoes already on the bike if you really are just too short to reach doing them up properly!
What are your goals for 2017?
I am training for my first Ultra marathon trail run – I hope to nail it!
Who do you take your inspiration from?
Normal everyday people who I know that are battling major health issues yet get up every day and achieve amazing things. I have Poly cystic Kidney Disease and a few other chronic conditions, but my health is still really good. I run for sufferers of the conditions I have and for anyone else who can’t. They are the people I think about when I am competing. I feel grateful for my health and I hope that I can inspire others to become empowered and make the most of their own well-being.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?
The company’s ethical ethos and 100% recycled materials range. The water bottle and socks would be my favourite pieces of Sundried kit right now – basic, inexpensive things that you really appreciate when they’re designed this well.