• Ironman 70.3 World Championships 2019

    Ironman 70.3 World Championships 2019 Nice France

    Racing the Ironman 70.3 World Championship is always special. The calibre of athletes is high, the competition fierce, and the atmosphere is electric. I was absolutely delighted to qualify at my first race of 2019, despite having a year off due to injury throughout 2018.

    This year, the world championship was to be in Nice in France, and athletes were to tackle what was being described as one of the toughest bike courses yet. 1,300m of climbing up the famous Col de Vence was going to be extremely tough. Especially when you favour flat courses as I do!

    Pre-Race Training

    Training had gone well leading into the race though and with some specific turbo sessions designed to build climbing strength, a whole lot of track sessions, and a little weight lost to help my power to weight ratio, we were in a good position.

    Race Day

    The weather was perfect – brilliant sunshine, blue skies, and the sea was so warm that the organisers were teetering on the decision of a wetsuit or non-wetsuit swim (wetsuits are banned over 24.5 degrees), but with just 0.5 degree leeway in favour of wetsuits on the morning of the race, the decision was favourable.

    As we lined up on the beach with almost every famous name in triathlon present, I was excited but felt super relaxed. We hadn’t put any pressure on this race, just to see whether I could finally do myself justice at a world championship, in the toughest of tough fields on the global Ironman 70.3 circuit.

    With the format of women racing on the Saturday and men racing on the Sunday, it always makes for a more pleasant race environment, especially during the swim and the bike. Women tend to race less aggressively than men and the atmosphere almost feels ‘calm’ in comparison.

    The Swim

    Crystal clear water made for an additionally pleasant swim – in fact at one point I actually acknowledged that I was enjoying it, which is probably a first! The sea was warm, there were fish swimming below us, and no dramas at all, and with just a little chop, it didn’t seem to take too much out of me as I ran into T1.

    Ironman triathlon world champs swim

    The Bike

    The start of the bike was flat and fast along the coast so I was in my element, but this didn’t last long before the course swerved inland and we were hitting the start of the climbing.

    Weirdly, I was also enjoying the climbing. My power numbers were looking super strong but I felt comfortable and was riding within myself, so pushed on trying to make the most of the stunning scenery. The famous climb seemed to go quite quickly and before I knew it we were starting what would be a FUN descent which would last about 30km – plenty of solid recovery time!

    The final stretch of flat road led us back into transition and although my bike split seemed slow at a touch over 3 hours, the climbing would have accounted for much slower bike splits than usual – even for the pros.

    bike cycling triathlon athlete

    The Run

    I ran out of T2 feeling strong and was delighted to see my parents and my coach on the course – the support at a world championship is extra special, and it definitely made the 21km run go quickly. The run course stretched along the Promenade d’Anglais with the sea glistening alongside the entire way, it really was a beautiful spot for a race.

    I was holding my pacing very comfortably, perhaps even a little too comfortably, and as I ran down the finish chute I felt super proud to have completed yet another Ironman 70.3 World Championship. I was pleased to have run a 1:34 half marathon, especially off the back of such a tough bike course, and although my overall time seemed a lot slower than usual, in 5 hours and 17 minutes, I knew my personal performance was strong and I couldn’t have got much more out of myself.

    Ironman 70.3 World Champs 2019 Race Report

    The Finish

    I ended up finishing 25th in my age group out of 250 – a huge improvement in my overall result compared to previous world championship events. I was so happy with this result, finally I had achieved the performance that was warranted and it was testament to all the hard work I had put in so far in 2019.

    The best bit though, results aside, was that I absolutely loved the race – every single minute. I had no dark moments, I was just in my element and for me, you can’t ask for much more than a perfect race.

    Ironman 70.3 World Champs triathlon triathlete Sundried activewear

    About the author: Amy Kilpin is an elite triathlete and Sundried ambassador.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • James Williams Athlete Ambassador

    Sundried athlete ambassador mountain biking

    James discovered a world of sports when he moved to Devon and hasn't looked back since. He talks to Sundried about triathlon and rowing, his two passions.

    Have you always been into sport?

    I was never really into sport until I moved to Devon in my 20s; I joined the local rowing club with my brothers and fell in love with the sport. This was a stepping stone and over the next few years I took up surfing, kayaking, mountain biking and hiking.

    What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

    After years for rowing I wanted a new challenge and I was inspired after watching my friends compete at my local sprint triathlon.

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

    My favourite race was Croyde Ocean Triathlon. It is an extremely tough triathlon but at the same time it is beautiful and picturesque. When I did it, the sea was so clear I could see spider crabs on the seabed. Their tag line of ‘Stunning and Savage’ sums it up perfectly.

    And your proudest achievement?

    Completing my first half marathon. I have never been a good runner and as a child I hated running because everyone was so much faster than me. Through rowing training I found that I enjoyed it, so I set myself a goal of running a half marathon and managed to complete it.

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

    The toughest race I have done is the Croyde Ocean Triathlon. It was my first Olympic distance triathlon as I had previously only done sprint triathlons. The conditions were great for the swim but once this had been completed there is a long run uphill to get to the transition area. The toughest part of this event was the 12km cross country run which included running across Croyde beach and the very hilly coast path in very hot conditions.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    I take a step back and try and look at the issue/situation in an analytical way and devise a way of moving forward.

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

    The one piece of advice I wish I had been given is to train for the type of race you are doing. If you are doing a race that has a hilly bike section, do a lot of hill work and if it is a sea swim, do some training in the sea so you can get used to the conditions that you will be experiencing on the day.

    What are your goals for 2020?

    My goal for 2020 is to step up to complete a 70.3 distance triathlon and to qualify for the rowing South Coast Championship.

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    I take inspiration from friends and family that have worked hard and pushed themselves to achieve their goals.

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

    I love the fact that Sundried uses ethically and sustainably sourced materials. My favourite bit of kit is my Century padded bib shorts; they are very comfortable and fantastic for longer rides.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • James McAulay Athlete Ambassador

    Sundried activewear men's trisuit Woburner half ironman

    James started running as a way to ease his insomnia and before long discovered a passion for triathlon. He talks to Sundried about training and racing.

    Have you always been into sport?

    I enjoyed running around the playground as a child and playing hide and seek, but was quite nerdy and spent most of my time around computers or musical instruments, so would never have dreamed of describing myself as 'sporty'. When I was a teenager, I started to struggle with insomnia, and after a couple of particularly unhappy and drowsy years, I tried running to tire myself out before bed.

    It worked a treat and I was immediately hooked. I started out with short, slow 3km runs around Glasgow, then built up to 5km and a couple of years later ran my first ever race at the Great Scottish Run 10k. I loved every second of it. At uni, I discovered cycling and began competing in time trials and duathlon. This year, in 2019, I discovered triathlon.

    What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

    Having raced in the London Duathlon a few times, triathlon had always seemed inevitable, and I'd often have people asking me when I was going to give it a go. The swimming had always been the discipline that daunted me and put me off, as I hadn't swam properly since I was a child.

    In January 2019, I took the plunge and decided I'd compete in a sprint triathlon and then Olympic triathlon with six months of training. I began swimming at least once a week and gradually progressed from "objectively terrible" to "not bad". I'd say I'm now "average" and attaining "good" is a goal for 2020. In April, I joined my local triathlon club and as soon as I'd competed in my first triathlon race (Marlow Sprint) I knew this was a sport I wanted to do for a very long time.

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

    I enjoyed the Woburner Half Ironman immensely. My plan for 2019 had been to get to Olympic distance level, then spend a year training for a half Ironman in 2020. However, things didn't go to plan.

    Whilst I was on holiday in Poland, and before I'd even completed an Olympic race yet, I received an email from the Woburner race team letting me know that entries closed that evening. Unfortunately, the email arrived whilst I was quite tipsy, so I spontaneously signed up for the race with just 8 weeks to prepare for it.

    This turned out to be one of the best decisions I've ever made – the race was extremely well organised and I enjoyed it immensely. I bagged my fastest 1.9km swim time ever (36 mins), and felt like I was flying on the relatively flat bike course (I was ranked 20th of 251 on the bike). Unfortunately, the half marathon broke me and took me to a place of extreme pain, but that's why we all compete in these crazy races, right?

    And your proudest achievement?

    Running a half marathon in 1 hour 25 minutes a couple of weeks ago. It happened on an ordinary evening training run, which makes me wonder how close I could get to 1 hour 20 minutes minutes in a good race.

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

    I pushed too hard on the bike leg of the Woburner Half Ironman, meaning I had very little left in the tank for the half marathon at the end. Whilst I can normally do a half marathon comfortably in 90-95 minutes, this one took me just over 2 hours, and involved a few walking sections, which I wasn't proud of.

    I didn't enjoy this at all and spent most of the two hours wanting the race to be over and battling the voice in my head telling me to stop. Lesson learned - save some energy for the toughest part of the race!

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    I've been lucky not to experience any real setbacks in my racing so far, apart from a very minor injury in my ankle at the start of summer that meant I couldn't run for a couple of weeks.

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

    I don't think I paid enough attention to my nutrition when I started training and competing seriously. I wouldn't fuel workouts sufficiently and don't think I was eating enough immediately after big efforts, which meant I was often fatigued during the weeks and taking naps to get through the working day.

    I now realise that nutrition, sleep, and good recovery are just as important as the workouts themselves and they're all things I'm more mindful of these days.

    What are your goals for 2019 and 2020?

    I'm running my first marathon (Athens) this November and can't wait to tick it off the bucket list! I'd like to get close to 3 hours, but it's a hilly course, so anything could happen.

    Another bucket list item I'm hoping to tick off before New Year's Eve is a 50km ultra run.

    Next year, I'm registered for Ironman Wales in Tenby, which I'm told is a particularly brutal course (9th hardest Ironman in the world!?)

    I'm also keen to get my Half Ironman time closer to 5 hours (currently 5:48) and my 5km run time closer to 17 minutes.

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    I really enjoy reading Cody Beals' blog on triathlon, and feel like I've only scratched the surface of all the amazing writing he's produced. Like me, he's a self-confessed nerd and he tracks data from various aspects of his life and training in a really smart way.

    He's also extremely honest about the more difficult personal aspects of triathlon and some of the side-effects of training at such a high level, which is refreshing. More than anything, though, he's an absolute beast and his times are nothing short of inspiring.

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

    I'm a huge fan of the ethics behind Sundried. We're living at a critical juncture in history where we need to act rapidly to reverse the effects of climate change and Sundried is a sports brand that I see as leading the charge towards a more sustainable industry. I love my Dom 2.0 Running vest that's made from recycled plastic bottles, and I raced in my Sundried trisuit for the first time at Woburn Half Ironman last month, which was extremely comfortable.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Gary Burman Athlete Ambassador

    Sundried activewear ambassador running triathlon triathlete

    Gary is a PE Teacher who uses his experience as a triathlete to help inspire his students and give them opportunities. He talks to Sundried about all things triathlon.

    Have you always been into sport?

    I have always had a love for sports. Football, basketball, golf and athletics were my main sports at school but I would play every sport going. When I went to university, I wanted to play something for fun rather than be ultra-competitive so I played hockey and loved it. I then went back to football and played at a semi-professional level after leaving university.

    After university, I became a Physical Education teacher so the fact that I played virtually every sport helped massively. When I had my 2 children I gave up football and golf and got into cycling as I could fit my training around them, rather than having to be out for hours on a weekend.

    I wish there had been triathlon on my doorstep earlier but unfortunately there wasn’t. As a PE teacher, I aim to give students opportunities to play a wide range of sports. We are looking at hosting an aquathlon next year with the view of progressing to a school triathlon, to give the students an opportunity I didn’t have.

    What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

    Having competed in a few cycling sportives, I saw an advert for Dawlish Triathlon in 2015 and a friend from the PE department decided to do it with me. I knew my bike was good but I was really worried about the swim. As it turned out, the swim was my best discipline! I finished midfield and from there I have been completely addicted to triathlon.

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

    The ETU Multisport Championship Aquathlon in Ibiza 2018 has been my favourite race. Going out on the boat into the middle of San Antonio Bay and then swimming back in crystal clear waters, then running through Café Del Mar with the sun setting was such a surreal experience. The atmosphere around the whole course was amazing. I met some amazing athletes on that trip who are now good friends.

    And your proudest achievement?

    Representing my country in Age Group aquathlon. The speech the team manager did in Denmark before our race will stick with me for ever. “You’re representing your country in a World Championships.”

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

    This year in the ETU Eton Dorney Sprint Triathlon qualifier I had my biggest disaster of a race. I knew I had to get off to a fast swim. Within the first 50m, I managed to get a heel smash into my forehead. Other than my head hurting a lot, I couldn’t catch my breath. I was seeing the lead group go and I was getting more panicked that I couldn’t catch my breath, so headed to the support kayak. I thought I was there for just 10 seconds but I saw after the race that my Garmin had stopped for 1 minute 30 seconds.

    That race was practically over for me within a minute. Having travelled a long way, I thought I would have to carry on. I started charging through the swim field. As it was draft legal, I managed to work well with two lads on the bike trying to catch the big group in front but unfortunately by lap 4 the resignation set in that we had burnt our legs up and were not catching them. I missed out on qualifying and had concussion for the rest of the week so couldn’t train.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    I have tended to be very injury prone throughout my life so I have got used to having setbacks. I used to sulk but now I try to look at it in a positive light and think that if I have injured a muscle in my leg it’s a great chance to work on my upper body strength. That is the beauty of triathlon; there is not enough time to work on everything so an injury can give you an opportunity to work on a specific part of your body.

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

    The best bit of advice I heard a few triathlons ago was given by a dad telling his daughter, “Slow everything down, your swim stroke, your transition etc and you will go faster”. When I jumped in the sea that day I made sure my arm pulls were slower and longer which helped me so much in speed and energy conservation. There is a lot of rushing around in triathlon and if you can just take a few deep breaths and calm yourself down it can make a massive difference.

    What are your goals for 2020?

    Keep improving! I have started to set myself goals for the year as I think that's really important. Not only for motivating myself but also giving me a buzz when I attain that goal.

    My first priority is to make sure I get the Team GB Age Group Aquathlon qualifying time secured early in the season. I love these events and I have met some amazing people at them and I definitely don’t want to miss out. I came fifth in the ETU Aquathlon in 2019 so the ambitious aim would be to podium at that event in Austria next year.

    I am currently hoping for a roll down place to become available to represent GB at the ETU Sprint Triathlon in Malmo. If that doesn’t happen, I really want to qualify for the year after so will be targeting getting myself fit for the qualifiers.

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    Too many to name a specific person. Everybody who does sport is inspirational to me.

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

    I am so impressed with all the Sundried kit. The designs are so good. Probably the cycling kit is my favourite.

    I love how environmentally friendly the brand is and I think it’s amazing that some of the kit is made from 100% recycled materials. I really like the company's values of promoting the reduction of waste and helping to save the environment from plastic pollution.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Daniel Worley Athlete Ambassador

    Jersey triathlete Super League

    Daniel lives on the Channel Island of Jersey and aspires to race in the Super League Triathlon there. He talks to Sundried about life as a young triathlete. 

    Have you always been into sport?

    Yes, I’ve always been the sporty type. I was in a swimming club from a young age and I always wanted to be the best at my school's sports days. Now, I’m really keen on knowing the details about the human body, which also helps me in my training and what I can do to improve myself.

    What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

    I have always been a keen swimmer and cyclist, even from when I was really young, but I never really knew what triathlon was back then. I completed my first triathlon in 2016 and loved every second of it and was urging my parents to let me join the local triathlon club. Recently, as Super League Triathlon has come to Jersey, it has increased my love for triathlon and I’m sure, everyone else’s too.

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

    My favourite race was Jersey Super Sprint Triathlon 2019 where each discipline of the race went the way I wanted it to go and I ended up finishing 8th. I came out the water in the second pack and with the weather on my side, I knew I could put my head down on the bike and just focus on moving up positions. It’s also because it's in the hub of St Helier and the home crowd along with my family and race partners pushed me on knowing that I could perform to my best on that day.

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

    During one of my club duathlons, in the early stages of winter, it was looking like a hopeful race for me as I quite enjoy duathlon as both disciplines are my strongest… but this wasn’t the case for that day.

    On the second lap of the bike, my wheels spun out underneath me and left me hitting my chin on the tarmac and I also slid on my left side at speed, resulting in painful road rash all down my left thigh and 5 stitches in my chin to attach it all together again.

    This set me out of training for a long 2 weeks, but I had high hopes to start my rehab as soon as possible. I’m thankful for the variation of services that we have on the island to help me get back to my optimal level.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    Everyone overcomes setbacks in their own different way, and for me, I just say to myself that I want to be quicker, stronger and fitter than I ever was before. This is also my motivation for my overall training, because if I feel tired and not interested in training on a specific day, I always think back to my saying which drives me to be active every day whether it be a heavy training day or just a light recovery session, I will most likely be doing something.

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

    Take every step slowly and don’t rush into things that you haven’t experienced before, which is what I wish I had known before I did my first sea swim within a triathlon. I experienced a mild panic attack because it was a whole a new experience. So, if I was giving advice for any newcomers to triathlon, I would say, just have fun with it for as long as you can before deciding to compete in races, eventually, the fun will come within those races when you are more experienced and are ready to race.

    What are your goals for 2020?

    My goals for 2020 are:

    • Finish in 8th place or lower in Jersey Super Sprint Triathlon 
    • Drop my PBs for each discipline by around 1-2 minutes
    • Qualify for Junior Elite races at Super League Jersey 2020, if not successful then finish in the top 10 within the age group races
    • Become physically fitter for the new season

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    I take my inspiration partly from all the pro athletes within the World Triathlon Series because they have gone from beginner to professional over a matter of years throughout their life… and from a local athlete called Ollie Turner who is also from Jersey. He also went from racing in club races in Jersey to training and racing with the pros at a young age and I always say to myself that that’s the potential level I would like to achieve in my triathlon career.

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

    The main reason I like Sundried is that it holds many different types of technology within its clothing such as sweat-wicking, temperature control and recycled fabrics which are important these days as there has been an increasing problem with plastic waste damaging the environment.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren