Lauren, we’ve just experienced the Olympics in Brasil. What’s this we hear about you going to Mexico?
It’s the Amateur World Championships of standard distance triathlons, and I’ve qualified to represent Team GB. All the big names will be there. The likes of Alistair Brownlee will all be there too.
What does it take to qualify?
The qualification procedure allows you 3 chances over the year. You have to come in 115% and the winner of your age group, or the fastest 3 of your age cut-off time. As you have 3 chances, you can race more than 1 race. In my case, I went to Dambuster in Leicestershire – after that, I knew I qualified, so I didn’t need the other 2.
You mentioned you’d be part of Team GB?
Yes, I will be representing my country for my age group amongst 14 nations competing. There are 12 of us Brits; loads of Mexicans, and Americans.
So, if you win, you get to be the world champion?
It’s not that simple. I’ll be competing against 79 people in my age group, but yes, if I win, I would become world champion.
The age groups vary from 16-20, right up to 70-80 years. Each group has the best the world can offer. So it really is the best of world championships.
What got you started?
You’re minding your own business, then someone mentions tris, and you get interested. Then you do well at it, and someone recommends the opportunity of wearing the GB kit. This motivates you to qualify and go beyond what you’ve ever imagined. And before I knew it, I was getting my GB kit and racing internationally.
Getting to win individually starts with team work
What keeps you going?
I coach at my tri club. What gives me great satisfaction is when people realise that they’re not a million miles from where you are. They can do it too. They might not be quick enough on the bike yet, but they can get all back in the run. There’s something very rewarding when seeing people strive for that goal and achieving it. I’m learning a lot from everyone I train and even race with.
What’s the best thing about your new GB kit?
Getting your name on the suit and seeing GB on the same space is quite something. Once you’ve got your qualification, you can buy your kit. It’s always exciting and good fun. During the build up toward the week, people often strut their stuff and show-off their new kit, but seriously, after a week, you’re thinking – you really need to wash it, guys.
What’s it taken to prepare for this championship?
I’ve had my mind on it since they announced it last year. I had my eyes on where to do the qualifiers, and simply joined all the dots. All the training has been right through the winter. Once I got the Iron-Man out of the way, I focus on my speed work. With the runs, I was hitting the kilometre track and 800 metre repeats slightly over threshold; on the bike, I’d be hitting the hill-repeats and laps with the LBCC. Then, there’d be other things: race specific stuff, like open-water training. This would be followed by a load of turbo bricks in the front room.
Once that’s done – doing it again, doing again, and doing it again. And work. Thankfully, I have a good boss. They can hear me leaving the building, excitedly declaring “Get out of my way, I need to go for a run!”
For name and Country
What’s been driving force for you this year?
It’s good motivation meeting people. The same can be said with the club swims; it may be cold, but it’s always fun when you eventually get out there. I’m fortunate that I can shift my work around my training schedule; work is flexible – so I can get up early to do bricks, go to work, then head for a swim.
What are you expecting when you get out there to Mexico?
It will start with team meetings, followed by recces to all the events. It’s good to be prepared early, so you can figure out what you need to do. I then check out the sighting-points for the swim and make sure I’m familiar with the route.
After that, I don’t do much at all. There is the temptation to see all the elite races, but to be on your feet for hours in the heat isn’t good for you. I get to Mexico late Thursday evening. So, by Friday I’ll do a bike recce – find the turnaround point – pick up my pack – then, swim the course. On Saturday we’ll hold a team briefing. It’s the usual menu of hazard points and rules, but again because of the heat getting you down, I won’t be watching the women’s race in 30+ degrees. I can always watch it on the tele after I’ve won mine!
I have an early start of 0645 with my race. It’s a good thing, so that it won’t be horrendously hot. Immediately after mine is the elite mens race.
Our Baroudeur in Mexico
Having a goal to keep you motivated. It’s a long season. It’s always so much fun – you get to go places you’ve never been to. I’ve done a 3 standard distance Euro, a half standard and an Iron Man Euro. This is only my second World. The Euros are good but have less variety. The world-champs has more nations.
It all sounds very familiar. Just like the Olympics.
Yes it is. We have a big opening ceremony followed by a pasta-party, but the only party I’ll be going to is the one after my race!
The LBCC wish Lauren every success in her Mexican adventure. Arriba, Arriba!
We’ll be talking to Lauren when she returns to find out what happens next…