• Mathias Roche - Athlete Ambassador

    Shop Sundried's Cycling Collection

    Have you always been into sport?

    I've always been a sporty child and loved the satisfaction of being finished with a hard training session. During my years of travelling I practised plenty of different sports such as swimming, badminton, basketball, running and now triathlon.

    How did you first get into triathlon?

    Even though I did my first triathlon when I was approximately 10 years old, which was organized by the school, it never stuck to me because I wasn't a good runner and I preferred swimming back then. But then one year later I had a knee accident and therefore I had to stay in a wheelchair for three months which was quite hard as someone who is quite active. And therefore I'm extremely proud and happy that I can run again so I cherish every second of it. But I actually started running seriously due to this pandemic in order to just expend some energy and then discovered a passion for it , which made me set some goals such as a sub 1h45 half marathon and to one day beat my dad PR which is 1h20. But one day, while I was watching YouTube, I fell across a Lionel Sanders video about training for a Ironman 70.3, and since then I've been training for this.

    If you are interested in getting into Triathlon, Sundried's kit is suitable for beginners as well as seasoned athletes. We have both men's and women's options available. 

    What has been your favourite race to date and why?

    Currently I haven't had the chance to participate at any races due to Covid-19 but I'm considering participating at the sprint distance Challenge Lisboa.

    What is your proudest achievement?

    To this date my proudest achievement would be the sub 1h35 half marathon which I completed on a sort of hilly course.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    I've sometimes pushed myself too far and had to suffer several setbacks due to my knee injuries. But in this I just take a break from sports and spend more time with family and friends in order to recover as much as possible, and when you start practising again, you should resume as if you just started out and forget about your previous paces, power outputs or time.

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

    Don't increase your volume suddenly, being good at endurance sport is something which you'll get better at over time.

    What are your goals?

    As I mentioned before, one of my goals would be to finish a sub 5 hour 15 Ironman 70.3, and maybe one day go to the world championships.

    Why work with Sundried?

    Working with Sundried is a huge opportunity for athletes to acknowledge the environmental issues and help them get as comfortable as possible while training and still providing 100% recycled materials which makes them not only eco-responsible but cool.

    To hear more from our ambassadors and get free tips on workout plans and more, connect with the Sundried Personal Trainers on our app.

    Posted by Aimee Garnett
  • Sophie Hudson - Athlete Ambassador

    Shop Sundried's Cycling Collection

    Have you always been into sport?

    I have! Growing up I enjoyed lots of different sports and tried everything out. I swam competitively from a young age until 15. I have also played rugby to county level from 13-16. From 16 to present I have been rowing competitively until I had a back injury which took 11 months to recover from. After my back injury recovered I decided to challenge myself in sports that I considered “not my thing” or “my weakness” which was mainly running. So I decided to run a half marathon. I completed that and loved running so much and missed cycling so I decided to complete a dualthon (10k fun, 40km cycle, 5k run) for fun and because I physically could. Most recently I have taken part in cycling the North Coast 500 in Scotland with my best friend (Georgina Noel, also a Sundried ambassador). It was a new type of challenge that I loved. It was so, incredibly tough, but so rewarding and my first taste of ultra-endurance - something I want to do more of.

    How did you first get into triathlon?

    I haven’t completed one yet but would love to!

    If you are interested in getting into Triathlon, Sundried's kit is suitable for beginners as well as seasoned athletes. We have both men's and women's options available. 

    What has been your favourite race to date and why?

    My favourite race was a rowing race in July 2019 (pre back injury). It was my first win the the WJ18x and I was lucky enough to have my mum watch (usually busy travelling for work). It meant a lot because of all the dedication I had put in to train and all the extra support from my coach, and then to come out with a win with my mum there was the cherry on top.

    What is your proudest achievement?

    A tie between cycling the North Coast 500 which was challenging in every way possible and challenging myself enough to run a half marathon after my back injury which proved I can do anything I set my mind to. The recovery process was slow and painful. I told myself that when I could move properly I wanted to do everything I could before.

    Have you ever had any racing disasters?

    Not that I can think of.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    I have kind of answered this in a previous question in April 2020 I was hit in my lower back and had a trapped nerve for four weeks and then another three weeks. I wasn’t able to move properly, I was either standing up or lying down for the first four months. The pain was incredibly high and could barely get sit down for long periods of time. The recovery process took 11 months, the first 5 being horrible especially when combined with trying to sit my A-levels. My rowing at the time had to stop and I lost the chance to compete at trials and race for the rest of the year. This impacted university applications for sport. A very tough time physically and mentally. I learnt a lot about myself through the rehabilitation time and have fortunately been able to start rowing again and can not wait to race.

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

    To not focus on results as much as the daily process of getting better. It’s very easy to focus on the results because they show you how good you are from the get go. However the process of building systems and habits that make you better, I think, is more valuable because of the compounding effect it will have in the future. Results are tangible and not always reliable, for example, some days it might not be your day and you get a bad result. Oppositely, if you put your effort into building habits trying to do something better everyday then it is a more consistent and accurate way of judging progress consistently.

    What are your goals?

    To be the best at whatever I choose to do. To set myself outrageously big goals that I have to step far out of my comfort zone in order to achieve.

    Who inspires you?

    My godmother, Pauline Sanderson. She cycled from the last point to Mount top of Mount Everest and was the first British couple to do so. Since then she is always doing crazy, adventurous things that just proves that you can if you want to.

    Why work with Sundried?

    I really like their environmental vision and making clothing sustainable which is really good for the environment, this is important for me and for future generations. I also really like that they make good quality clothing for a reasonable price which allows sport to be accessible to more people. My friend is an ambassador and she has said amazing things about the community, this is something I really want to be a part of.

    To hear more from our ambassadors and get free tips on workout plans and more, connect with the Sundried Personal Trainers on our app.

    Posted by Aimee Garnett
  • Francesca Smith - Athlete Ambassador

    Shop Sundried's Active Life Collection

    Have you always been into sport?

    Yes! I’ve always been an avid sportsperson. I spent most of my childhood surrounded by horses, participating in tetrathlons and eventing but was never far away from a swimming pool, hockey pitch, netball or tennis court either. I captained the 1st team netball and equestrian teams at school and was part of the Exeter University High Performance Netball squad where I captained the 2nd team. I’m one of four sisters who are all incredibly active so our house has always been sports mad!

    How did you first get into triathlon?

    In 2018, I set myself a New Years resolution to complete a triathlon and did my first one at Blenheim Palace. I absolutely loved it and managed a respectable time so thought I’d try out for the GB Age Group teams. It’s really snowballed since then and while the GB Age-Group events have been my focus over the past couple of years, I have big ambitions to go on and do so much more!

    If you are interested in getting into Triathlon, Sundried's kit is suitable for beginners as well as seasoned athletes. We have both men's and women's options available. 

    What has been your favourite race to date and why?

    My favourite race would have to be my most recent, the Eastbourne Standard Triathlon. I managed to win my age-group and was placed 4th female overall but most importantly, I absolutely loved every minute of it. It was a tough course with a hilly bike route but I felt strong and was thrilled with my final result.

    What is your proudest achievement?

    Winning my age-group at Eastbourne where I also managed to qualify for next year’s European championships. It was a first age-group win for me and everything just came together on the day – the elation I felt afterwards made all those long hours of training so worth it.

    Have you ever had any racing disasters?

    Fortunately no “disasters” as such but I did manage to fall off my bike coming into T2 at Eton Dorney earlier this year – I made a quick, scrambling recovery so it probably didn’t cost me too much time but it definitely wasn’t part of the plan!

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and that there is no success without failure. It’s all about the way you frame “setbacks” in your own mind. If you approach them as opportunities for learning and development, then you’ll ultimately emerge stronger.

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

    Trust the process and enjoy it. Prior to one of my races this year, my sister gave me the best piece of advice I could have received which was simply: “remember to enjoy it”. She is so right, what’s the point in doing all of this if we don’t enjoy it? That small comment helped relieve a lot of the pressure I’d put on myself, I kept a smile on my face the entire race and ended up with one of my best results.

    What are your goals?

    My goal is to race a full Ironman – I’m planning on completing a number of 70.3 events next year with the aim of doing a full Ironman the year after (wish me luck)!

    Who inspires you?

    There are elite athletes who inspire me every day including Lucy Charles-Barclay and Kat Matthews who are simply incredible, but when it comes to the way I want to conduct myself in life (whether that’s with my sport or at work) and the kind of person I want to be, it’s got to be my father. I have never met such a hard-working, dedicated, generous and loving person in my life and the work ethic and ambition he has instilled in me has helped me to be where I am today. If I can be half the person that he has been then I’ll view that as a success.

    Why work with Sundried?

    Despite such an increase in awareness around ESG issues, there are still very few businesses where ethics and sustainability are at the core of what they do. Sundried is one example of where this certainly is the case so I’m really proud to be working alongside, and representing, the brand. I’m a firm believer in high quality kit that lasts, and I love the collection of items made from recycled coffee grounds and recycled plastic – as a serious coffee addict this helps my ethical conscience!

    To hear more from our ambassadors and get free tips on workout plans and more, connect with the Sundried Personal Trainers on our app.

    Posted by Aimee Garnett
  • Denise Yeats - Athlete Ambassador

    Shop Sundried's Cycling Collection

    Have you always been into sport?

    Interestingly no, as I was badly asthmatic as a child, and it made exercise quite a struggle for me. Then, aged about 18 I heard that swimming could help asthma and I got involved in doing some swimathon events. Well if you are going to swim, why not start with 2.5k!

    How did you first get into triathlon?

    Throughout my twenties I was really into swimming and participated in Masters competitions. I always preferred the outdoors element of the sport though and branched into doing open water competitions, anything from 1 – 10 miles. Those were the days before OW swimming was really popular and it was also in icy Scottish lochs! A bit of a dare with a friend then had us running the London Marathon in 2000, and a few marathons later it seemed a natural progression to introduce cycling.

    If you are interested in getting into Triathlon, Sundried's kit is suitable for beginners as well as seasoned athletes. We have both men's and women's options available. 

    What has been your favourite race to date and why?

    I think it would be the ‘Swashbuckler’ Middle Distance Triathlon in 2018. It was my first attempt at this distance and I really didn’t know what to expect. It was such a beautiful course though, from the eery twilight swim start, through the beautiful New Forest bike route, and even the slightly hilly run. I was amazed and delighted to place second in my age group with a time of 5:44 too! It inspired me to go on and do the Mallorca 70.3 event the following year - now there are some hills…

    What is your proudest achievement?

    It would have to be my bike ride between Argentina and Chile over the Andes in 2017. This was an 800 mile self-supported bike ride, carrying approximately 35kg of kit on the bike. All sorts of self-doubt crept in, to the point that I almost turned down this amazing opportunity. Our small group were hit with challenges on all sides and endlessly rerouted along scary roads. It turned out the thought of getting altitude sickness was the least of my worries! I was immensely proud of what I had achieved at the end of it, to be one of just four out of seven who completed the challenge. It gave me the confidence to tackle longer distance triathlon races.

    Have you ever had any racing disasters?

    Probably more of a near disaster. At my very first triathlon in Edinburgh I didn’t realise why wetsuits were compulsory and left it until the last minute to borrow one from someone. Rookie error, I also didn’t practice wearing it and it didn’t fit properly. Not only did it fill with water immediately, but when I pulled myself waterlogged out of the swim I couldn’t get the zip undone. Lots of shouting ensued and a moment where I considered cycling 20km wearing it! Thankfully I did finally manage to get it off, but it was a lesson learned, and as someone whose business is primarily about planning events, I was embarrassed at how underprepared I was.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    I am very much of the belief that setbacks are something to learn from. Being in my fifties now, I am aware of the effects that unpredictable hormonal changes are having on my body, which has in turn affected my training, and particularly my running. I have used this as a real opportunity to learn more about this area and it has inspired me to undertake a course on ‘Menopause for Athletes’ in the hope that not only do I learn something about myself, but I can also pass it onto my coaching clients.

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

    To find your lane – initially for me that was swimming. To focus on what you can do, and not obsess about what you think you can’t do. Confidence breeds confidence, and once you achieve one small thing, it gives you the belief that you can go on and try others. I didn’t really take up swimming until I was in my late teens, and wish I had embraced it earlier. However, that said, it is never too late to learn, as I didn’t start cycling any distance over 40km until around 2016 and it was just one year later that I undertook my mammoth Andes cycling challenge.

    What are your goals?

    Basically to keep developing and challenging myself in new ways. This year for example, with the world of events still being uncertain, I have tasked myself with travelling the equivalent length of South America (9,000km) by swimming, cycling, running, paddleboarding and kayaking. Also, having completed the Mallorca 70.3, it is definitely in my plan to undertake a full Ironman in the next few years.

    Who inspires you?

    I am in awe of many elite athletes, but the people who constantly inspire me are the ‘everyday heroes’. Ordinary people who challenge themselves to whatever degree pushes them out of their own comfort zone. Whether that is to swim their first length of a pool, or run 1k, I understand the mental challenges that people face, often more so than the physical ones. To overcome your own personal demons, lack of confidence and so on is a huge thing to do. It is what makes me want to continue working with people to coach and develop them to achieve their own dreams. 

    Why work with Sundried?

    Well firstly I love the way the kit looks and feels, it has obviously been developed by a triathlete! The trisuit has been my best friend over the past year as I have continued to swim throughout the seasons in open water in this alone (i.e no wetsuit). The fit is fantastic, and the attention to details like the stitching and zip are really well considered.

    As someone who works primarily in the charity sector, from a corporate responsibility angle I am very impressed with what Sundried are doing. Their values are very aligned with my own, and their partnerships with charities such as Surfers Against Sewage really resonate with me as someone who cares passionately about the quality of our oceans.

    To hear more from our ambassadors and get free tips on workout plans and more, connect with the Sundried Personal Trainers on our app.

    Posted by Aimee Garnett
  • Polly Burns - Athlete Ambassador

    Shop Sundried's Swim Collection

    Have you always been into sport?

    Yes - though it's not been consistently one thing! I did gymnastics as a child, and combined this with swimming to become an artistic swimmer. As I got older and went to university, 'normal' swimming was more accessible so I really got into that though never with a club. The turning point was doing my masters at the University of York, where the club really pushed me into club standard training and I started getting more involved with long distance swimming, resulting in a pool 28.5km, open water 10kms and a relay crossing of the channel last year. I'm now a year round open water skins (no wetsuit) swimmer, which used to be incomprehensible to me! Similarly, running was never 'my thing' but I joined a running club in York to meet new people, and somehow doing a chatty 5km every Monday turned into me doing my first marathon in 2019! Cycling is the odd one out - we've not always been friends but I am gradually getting more confident!

    How did you first get into triathlon?

    I joined a friendly triathlon club in Edinburgh in 2018, who gave me a lot of confidence and made me realise it wasn't as inaccessible a sport as I thought. They introduced me to the friendly events that I could do to get started and I signed up to the Peebles Sprint Triathlon in late 2019. My running and swimming I felt OK about - the cycling was a different story! I didn't even own a bike for my first triathlon, but I rented one on the day and after loving it committed to doing more (and buying a bike!). Unfortunately the pandemic put a pause on entering more races but that will hopefully begin to change again!

    If you are interested in getting into Triathlon, Sundried's kit is suitable for beginners as well as seasoned athletes. We have both men's and women's options available. 

    What has been your favourite race to date and why?

    Well given I have only actually done one triathlon then it would have to be that one! I just felt such a sense of achievement, and at no point did anyone make me feel like I wasn't professional enough. The Edinburgh marathon was great when I finished...

    What is your proudest achievement?

    Probably swimming the channel in a relay in 2020. It was such a tough year of not being able to swim and train properly for such a massive undertaking. We didn't even expect to make it to the start line in 2020. However we all worked really hard to do what we could, and when we got the chance to go in September we were all raring to go. I'd never been to Dover before arriving there for the big day; all of the training weekends and boat practice was cancelled. I'd never even swam next to a boat before, so setting off from that beach in the middle of the night and swimming alongside it took some getting used to! We hit a terrible patch of weather about 1.5 miles from French shore, and swimming through that was the hardest swim I have ever done. I motivated myself with what I was going to eat when I got out! When that final swimmer hit land it was an incredible feeling. I'd also raised a huge amount of money for the charity Aspire who support those who have had spinal cord injuries which meant a huge amount.

    Have you ever had any racing disasters?

    I don't think I have done enough to have had one! The closest disaster was breaking my leg about 6 months before the marathon - big shout out to the physio who managed to get me rehabbed and marathon ready in that time!!

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    I think I have learnt to focus on what I can control. With the channel last year, I had no control over the pandemic, or breaks in the weather. But I could focus on making sure I was putting in the work so I was ready to go whenever we got that call. Similarly with the broken leg, I couldn't un-break it, but I could focus on how hard I worked at physio and ensuring I was doing everything possible to be fit again. I still get frustrated with setbacks, don't get me wrong, but I try to channel that into positive progress now.

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

    I think I was very lucky to have had excellent advice when I started from the tri club I joined, who were all incredibly experienced and encouraging. Things like 'just try it' and 'you don't need to be the best to take part' really helped me to just go for it. You don't need the best bike, or the best trisuit - just turn up with what you can within the budget you have and go from there! Practically, being told to leave everything ready to go next to your bike in that first transition was key.

    What are your goals?

    I think ultimately a solo of the English Channel is my goal. I'd like to get up to Olympic Sprint distance for triathlons, and get my bike confidence and skills up. Staying fit and healthy is an ongoing goal, as is enjoying what I do! At the end of the day none of this is going to happen if I am not having fun.

    Who inspires you?

    Lewis Pugh is a massive inspiration - I am a marine scientist so the idea of combining endurance swimming and raising awareness for our oceans is very appealing. And every time he sets out to do something it is always one step harder than before. Claire Danson is also a massive inspiration; she is a world-class triathlete who was in a bike accident around 18 months ago, which resulted in her being paralysed after a spinal cord injury. Her Instagram is so full of honesty but also utter determination to make the most of the circumstance she has found herself in. She's already returned to racing! My Dad was my inspiration for doing the marathon - he always wanted to do one, but kept getting injured or ill just before. The 2019 one was his last chance to achieve his goal before he turned 60 and he smashed it. I signed up because I thought it would be good to motivate each other! He beat my time by about half an hour - what an incredible achievement.

    Why work with Sundried?

    I'm constantly on the lookout for brands which are putting thought into what they're doing. As consumers, we hold a lot of the power to make changes in the world. If we ask for a better way of doing things, supply chains have to react. As a marine scientist, I am well aware of the threat that is facing our planet at the moment. Sundried's policies around producing environmentally friendly collections, as well as the ethics around staff working are both great initiatives which I want to support whilst offering friends and family the chance to purchase good quality sportswear for whatever they're doing.

    To hear more from our ambassadors and get free tips on workout plans and more, connect with the Sundried Personal Trainers on our app.

    Posted by Aimee Garnett
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