• Megan Wright Athlete Ambassador

    running triathlon young triathlete

    Megan is a young ambassador with big dreams. She talks to Sundried about training as a triathlete and her ambitions to become an Olympian. 

    Have you always been into sport?

    I have been into sport from young age. I did gymnastics, football and swimming lessons then swam competitively from the age of 7/8. I have been competing at county level since 2013 and competed at regionals for the past 2 years. I joined my local running club, Chippenham Harriers Youth, at the age of 11, I’m now the fastest girl there.

    How did you first get into triathlon?

    I started triathlon and cycling in 2015 and I joined Chippenham Tristars. I joined triathlon because it's different to just one sport. I love swimming, running and cycling and triathlon allows me to do all 3 at once.

    What's been your best race to date?

    My favourite race so far was when I won the London Triathlon 2018 in the youth category because it was such a well organised event and an amazing course. I also got to meet my hero Helen Jenkins who also inspired me to do triathlon.

    What's been your toughest race yet?

    My toughest race has got to be the U20s festival 2018 because I unfortunately got disqualified but I loved the race itself and the course was amazing.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    I overcome setbacks by thinking of the positives and how I will train to improve my mistakes and do better in my next races. I forget the mistake and remember the lesson.

    What are your goals for 2019?

    My goals for the future are to compete at European and world level and become an Olympic triathlete.

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    As well as Helen Jenkins, I’m inspired by the amazing Vicky Holland who recently won the world series and my amazing triathlon coaches Chris and Michelle Maxwell who have trained me for the last 3-4 years.

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

    My favourite bit of Sundried kit is the womens trisuit.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Thomas Collins Athlete Ambassador

    Tom Collins athlete ambassador Sundried

    Tom did his very first triathlon on a whim but was soon hooked. He now races in memory of his grandad. He talks to Sundried about life as a triathlete. 

    Have you always been into sport?

    Whilst I would say that I have always been sporty, at school I played all manner of sports from hockey and rugby to cricket and squash. It is however only now, since I found Triathlon, that I have taken it more seriously and given myself some focused training. 

    What made you decide to enter triathlon?

    My very first was an open water sprint at Dorney Lake in 2012, I borrowed everything apart from a t-shirt and trainers. I entered because a mate had to pull out and told me I should just give it a go, it was my first open water swim ever... and I was awful. Nearly drowning in the swim, 5 minutes in each transition and, having never run off the bike before, stumbled round the 5km run... suffice to say I crossed the line with the biggest grin on my face.

    I wanted to get into triathlon there and then but, wrongly, thought that I should become a better swimmer, cyclist and runner first. I didn't do a triathlon again until 2014. 

    In September 2013, my granddad passed away. Being in the Army, we had always had banter about how fit you needed to be "these days" vs the "good old days", I joked that I would do an Ironman to prove how fit I was to him... I never got the chance. 

    At that moment I decided to tackle 2 full distance races to raise money for Heart Research UK in memory of my granddad; I raised £2000. 

    What’s been your best race to date?

    My focus is more on the longer distances at the moment but my best race was a pool Sprint at Kimbolton Castle in 2016. I did it for a laugh and to support a friend and everything just went right and I won my age group, came 5th overall and very narrowly missed a sub 1 hour time. It wasn't a massive race, but for me it was a real confidence boost.

    And your proudest achievement?

    I would say finishing Ironman Wales in 2014. It was the hardest thing that I have ever done and demons crept in several times over the course of the race telling me I could stop, it would be ok, no one will think any less of you... it was also my most disaster filled race. 

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

    As above, Ironman Wales 2014 was my toughest race. A rough sea swim led to me swallowing a lot of sea water and throwing up several times. 2 punctures on the bike followed by rolling over on my ankle early in the run, compensating with a bit of a limp leading to serious knee pain... I felt like giving up at both transitions and with every km on the run… the support of my family out on the course however, the memory of my granddad and the thought of those my sponsorship money could help kept me going. 

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    Setbacks and failure are a part of life, nobody is perfect and even if your training and preparation is perfect, something can (and probably will) go wrong. I carry this outlook with me in all avenues of my life... so triathlon is no different. Once I accepted this it became very easy to brush aside the setbacks and crack on. That is not to say I don't get annoyed by setbacks, otherwise there is no motivation for me to learn and grow, but I don't let them govern me.

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

    Just get on with it. I wasted time thinking I had to get better at the disciplines before racing... but racing is the most awesome feeling... so just get on with it... you will learn as you go.

    What are your goals for 2017/18?

    I have just moved house and job, and my racing is done for this year. I am commuting for the first time in my life and so aim to use that as a training vehicle. For 2018, I intend to put in a big winter and then look towards AG qualification at the Middle Distance. It is a step up, will take some hard work and may not happen in 2018... if not, I will learn from it and target becoming a GB AG athlete by the end of 2019. 

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    Becoming a father changed my outlook in ways I didn't think it needed changing. It has made me very conscious of being a role model, in all respects to my son. He may only be 2 years old, but when he sees me exercise or race, he understands what I am doing and whilst he may not understand why, he will in time.

    Ultimately, I draw my inspiration from my son, I want to be the best I can be at something I love and instil in him a sense of hard work, dedication and a drive to keep yourself fit and healthy. 

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

    What the Sundried brand represents is not only a positive step in looking after our world, but also the people in it.  The idea that you would not be able to consider yourself a health and fitness brand if those in the supply chain, at any stage, could not afford to eat, is a very powerful and moving premise.

    As the warmer months draw to a close, the Grande Casse Hoody is quickly becoming my favourite piece of any active clothing.  A great fit, I am able to rely on it to keep me warm on the way to the gym or pool, whether it be first thing in the morning, or in the evening.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Lauren Watts Athlete Ambassador

    Lauren Watts Sundried womens trisuit

    Lauren is a young Welsh triathlete who was inspired to start competing after watching her dad excel in triathlon. She tells Sundried about life as a young triathlete. 

    Have you always been into sports?

    Yes, I have loved sports since I was little, trying lots of different things like netball, football, and rounders, but triathlon has always been my favourite! I did my first triathlon at the age of 7 (I am 16 now) and really got into it at the age of 11, when I started training with adults, which is when I decided I wanted triathlon to be my main sport.

    What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

    When I was growing up, I saw my dad training and racing in triathlon, which made me want to join in. I started training with the adults with my dad and soon after that I joined the Cerist Tri ladies running group which helped develop my run technique, speed and endurance. I started cycling with my dad on the weekend which we both really enjoyed, which inspired me to enter my first adult triathlon in 2016.

    What’s your favourite race to date and why?

    My favourite race is the Dyfi Dash sprint triathlon which is in Machynlleth, Wales. This race was my first adult triathlon and it's organised by the Cerist Triathlon club of which I’m a member and a coach. I enjoy the atmosphere at this race as everyone is so friendly and willing to help each other. This is also my first race of the season, therefore I always look forward to it!

    What is your biggest achievement?

    My biggest achievement is completing a half marathon at the age of 14. My most recent achievement is passing my level 1 triathlon coaching course, which I worked hard to achieve.

    Have you had any racing disasters/ toughest race yet?

    My toughest race yet was definitely Llanrwst triathlon, where I crashed on my bike. I hit a rock in the road and landed on a very sharp stone wall and badly cut my shoulder and thigh. However, I carried on the rest of the cycle and went onto the run bleeding (I got some VERY strange looks from marshals and spectators!) It was tough to continue, however it pushed me to go faster to make up the time from the crash. In the end I came 3rd in my category and only 1 minute off 2nd! Apart from the crash I would say that I really enjoyed and would recommend this race.

    How do you over come set backs?

    I would wait until fully recovered, as you don’t want anymore set backs, and would then train harder for longer.

    What is the best piece of advice you wish you were given before you started competing?

    "Race your own race”. The last thing you need to be doing on poolside is worrying about your competition. You need to think about yourself, warm up, get into the zone, and do your best!

    What are your goal for 2018?

    I'd like to perfect my tumble turns and improve my 400m swim time from 6 minutes 10 seconds to 5 minutes 58 seconds, which will take lots of hard work.

    Who do you take inspiration from?

    I take inspiration from my dad, as he is the one who inspired me to start triathlon and is also one of the people I train with therefore we are quite competitive and always pushing each other to get the best times. Another person who inspires me is my head coach Kev, as he has done races all over the world, including Ironman which I would like to take part in in the future.

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

    I really like the designs of all the Sundried kit and I love the fact they are different to other brands by being environmentally friendly. My favourite bit of Sundried kit is the womens trisuit. I really like it because it fits perfectly and is comfortable for all sections of the triathlon. I also love the fact the women's trisuit dries quickly after coming out of the water, so I’m not left feeling wet and cold for the rest of the race. I would 100% recommend!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Claire Harlow Athlete Ambassador

    Claire Harlow Running Triathlon Race

    Claire found her passion for sport 5 years ago and hasn't looked back since. She talks to Sundried about life as a duathlete and how her passion fuels her training.

    Have you always been into sport?

    My love for sport began 5 years ago when I signed up for the Great North Run. I literally couldn’t run down the street when I began training but as the weeks went on I was able to increase my mileage until the big day when I ran continually for the full event. At the time, it was my biggest achievement and the buzz I felt at the end was amazing, so much so that I had to sign up for the event for the next 2 years! 

    In terms of cycling, I have always enjoyed it but I was always a leisurely rider. That was until I joined my current workplace which is full of avid cyclists! After a while I saw what they were so crazy about; the social aspect, the fitness aspect, being outdoors and of course...the cafe stops! I purchased my first road bike in October 2015 and haven’t looked back since.

    What made you decide to enter the world of duathlon?

    I signed up for my first standard distance duathlon in April 2016 as a “one off achievement that I would never do again” but of course, I became hooked!  I found that my preference was for the sprint distance where I could go flat out and fast! I have competed in 6 duathlons so far and have qualified for the Age Group GB team for the ETU Sprint Distance Duathlon European Championships in Ibiza 2018.

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

    I really enjoy doing Stockton Duathlon as it is a local event and is on closed roads which makes it even more enjoyable! This event is one of the few in the North East so I get to race with my friends and fellow club runners which is a great feeling.

    And your proudest achievement?

    This was when I finished second in my age group and second lady overall at Durham Duathlon. This was the first time that I had ever made it to a podium position which made me feel truly amazing!  It has given me the boost of confidence I need to persevere towards achieving this year’s goals!

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

    Again, Durham Duathlon where the chain came off my bike mid-race.  I panicked and didn’t know what to do but somehow I managed to get the chain back on and continued on with a bruised ego and a bleeding hand!  The run sections were just as disastrous – it had been raining heavily the whole week before the race so the field we were running on was absolutely soaked through.  I ran in spikes which helped slightly but on the second run – one of then came off!  It was definitely a race to remember!

    Claire Harlow Cycling triathlon race

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    This is a hard question because I get really frustrated with setbacks.  If I am unable to run or cycle due to injury then I choose alternative ways to train for example, strength training or classes at the gym.  It is also important to take the time to stretch and roller to get back to fitness.

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

    Listen to your body!  In the past, I have made the mistake of training through fatigue and injury because I felt that I would “get worse” if I didn’t.  But I have learned to rest when my body is telling me to rest.  In fact, I never get worse but BETTER because my body has had a chance to fully repair itself!

    What are your goals for 2018?

    My main goal this year is to qualify for the 2019 ETU Duathlon Championships.  I also really want to improve on my swimming as I would love to enter the world of triathlon!

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    I actually take inspiration from those I follow on Instagram and Strava and those who I race with.  Seeing what other people do and how they train really inspires me to achieve the best and to persevere. It makes you realise that everyone has good times and bad (it’s not just me!).  it gives me the reassurance that I am not alone in the difficult world of sport.

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

    I recently purchased the Women’s Tri Suit and Les Rouies Women's Training Vest and I was very impressed with the stylish design, the fit and the quality of materials.  It was great to finally find a tri suit that didn’t feel tight and restricting – thank you Sundried!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Ironman 70.3 Western Australia 2017

    Ironman 70.3 Western Australia Natasha Pertwee Team GB

    Ironman 70.3 Western Australia has been one of the major races in the Asia Pacific triathlon scene since 2004. It takes place in the scenic town of Busselton, in the south-west region of Western Australia. Busselton is famous for its beautiful jetty, which stretches 1.8km out to sea and forms the focus of the swim for both the 70.3 and the full Ironman.

    Race Day

    This race had been my focus for training throughout 2017. Having done one 70.3 previously, I was keen to see if I could improve on my time. The day started early with a 03:30 alarm call and arrival at transition at 04:30. The sun was coming up and with the first rays of sun you could sense how hot the day was to become. We all collected on the beach and shuffled ourselves into self seeded groups according to our swim speed. Looking like little beans in our multicoloured swim hats we stood nervously waiting for the start.

    The Swim

    The gun went off and the first swimmers entered the water. Before I knew it I was being moved forward and off I went, running into the turquoise sea and looking ahead to the red buoy in the distance marking the point at which we would swim under the jetty before heading back to the beach again. I was feeling good and although the sea had some chop to it, I was managing to keep my stroke steady. As I looked up to sight the buoy I noticed the life guards were pointing at the jetty. I thought nothing of it. With the next look up, I noticed the helicopter above me and heard the whistles of the life guards. Everyone around me was swimming as fast as they could away from me and towards the jetty. Shark! Get out of the water! That was my quickest 50m swim sprint ever! Everyone was evacuated from the water and we walked back to the beach along the jetty feeling very disappointed.

    The Bike

    The race was started again from the beach, with a rolling start into transition. There was a fair amount of standing around waiting my turn and finally I was called forward and I ran into transition and went through the motions of helmet, shoes, bike etc until I was ready to run out of transition and jump on my bike.

    Out into the forest roads we went. Along the coast and then more forests. The course is one of the flattest, which also makes it one of the fastest. There’s no respite here. You go on full power for 90km. Drink stations came and went but I stuck to my own fluid and nutrition regime, eating and drinking every 10km. I couldn’t quite believe that I was hopping back off the bike after 2 hours 30 mins.

    The Run

    Off the bike, the heat hit hard. It was now 34-35 degrees and with very little breeze. The run was on the coastal road and footpath and the sun radiated off the tarmac. You could see that everyone was struggling. Every aid station became a game of ice down the front, ice down the back, water on the head and water in the mouth! Local families stood in their font gardens with their hoses cooling us down. I kept hoping that my body would suddenly get used to it and give me some more energy, but alas it didn’t and I had to simply push on to the end.

    Run Ironman 70.3 Half Ironman Running Australia

    The Finish

    The support was amazing. Family, friends and club members all out to support each other. The noise down the finishing shoot was amazing and I was delighted to cross the finish line and be able to make the most of the free ice-cream in the recovery tent! With such a poor run, I didn’t even bother to look at my result until I was on my way home. To my utter astonishment I had come second in my age group and 14th female! We headed straight back to the awards ceremony and I excitedly accepted my place at the Ironman 70.3 championships in South Africa next year! No rest for me!

    Natasha Pertwee is a Sundried ambassador and competes as part of the Team GB Age Group team in triathlon.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
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