Tell us your story.
I am no spring chicken and nearly 34; I only started running in 2012. I was inspired by the London 2012 Olympics to do something, which ended up me joining my local running club, the Canterbury Harriers. I didn’t train that regularly until the following year so progress wasn’t quick. I knew if I practised I could be a lot better and ended up doing that. I knew I was never going to be the fastest in my area or club but I could get close. In 2013, I competed in local triathlons but ended up injuring my calf where I struggled for 7 months on and off so I became a coach for my club. The following year I was competing again in triathlons but injured my achilles and thought I wouldn’t be able to run again.
I managed to overcome this and came back slowly which saw me PB in every running race I took part in for a year; I think there were 18 PB’s and a course record, which I am very proud of. I like to help others and whenever I train and see people doing what I love I help them. I am an amateur athlete who enjoys competing at Age Group level.
How did you get into Aquathlons?
I first started running in 2012 and after watching the Olympics, I was inspired to try a triathlon, after running was no longer challenging enough. Last year I was in the process of getting married but didn’t have the time to train for the triathlons so I decided to go into aquathlons, as i was quite a strong swimmer and runner.
How long have you been doing Aquathlons?
I have been doing aquathlons for just over a year now; I competed in my first race in July 2015.
How many long races have you done?
My longest race is a marathon, which I competed in this year at Manchester. It was a disaster as so many things went wrong on the day. My longest aquathlon was a 1000m swim followed by a 10k run, so not that far. I have competed in quite a few half marathons.
Which is your favourite discipline (swimming, biking or running) and why?
With the aquathlon I actually like both disciplines. My running is a lot stronger, but I see the swimming as damage limitation and when I am on the run it is when I am able to really push it and push other athletes to their limit. I enjoy the feeling that I get on the run, knowing I am going to catch people.
What is the greatest challenge you have overcome or been faced with during your training/racing?
The greatest challenge I have encountered so far was this year when I competed in both the National and European Championships both in the same month; I was 3rd in the National Aquathlon Championships (Age Group) and 3rd in the European Aquathlon Championships (Age Group). However after a great month it was difficult to get motivated in local races. My form had dipped a bit and I had changed my training as a result. However I am competing in the World Championships in Mexico this September so that has motivated me to keep pushing.
A few years back I injured my achilles which ended up being a serious injury and I thought that I would never be able to run again. I was out for nearly 4 months, but in that time I kept positive and therefore was able to come back stronger. I kept saying in my head I will be back and I think that helped.
What is your greatest accomplishment in Aquathlons?
This year has been amazing – 3rd in the European Championships (Age Group) has to be my best accomplishment. I never expected it and I had to run very hard. I had to sprint the last 400m to go past two people. I found something that day I never had before. It was an amazing experience and I will never forget it. I would tell people to keep pushing until they finish.
What keeps you motivated when training/racing gets tough?
Looking back at what I have achieved I just want to try my best and keep improving. Improvement helps me get motivated and I change my training each week.
Who, in the triathlon community, inspires you?
It has to be Gwen Jorgensen, watching her this year has really inspired me. I like the way she attacks the run and destroys the field to win. This inspires me in my races.
What is a piece of advice you’d give to a new triathlete?
My advice would be to keep training, don’t over train and make sure you get your rest days in each week. Always believe in yourself and put the work in training and you will be rewarded and can achieve great things.
If anyone wants help or a chat please contact me on Twitter Yiannis_83. I am always willing to help others.
Photo By Jason Dodd Photography