An Interview with Ben
After running the hottest London Marathon ever we spoke with Ben about his objectives and goals for the year, enjoy!
Tell us a little bit about yourself…
I’m 38, and live in E17 with a rescued cat and six rescue chickens. Aside from ELT I race for the Les Stables team and I’m an ambassador for Jam Cycling. My wife works in animal welfare and we’re both Triathletes and vegans, which has been a massive boost for my racing.
I joined ELT a couple of years ago when the swim coach at Les Stables told me how good the swim sessions were, and the fact they’re 500m from my house. I was incredibly proud to be awarded the Athlete Of The Year last year. I think probably because I had a slightly crazy year, not only competing at Challenge Roth, but blogging about it for Tri247 and then a week later taking on the inaugural London Triathlon Weekend Warrior. I just missed out on the win after a huge bonk at the end of the first day left me on the floor at Excel eating pizza to recover. Here’s to 2018!
What motivated you to sign up for your first triathlon and how did it go?
I was injured from running so I swam and cycled a lot. Seemed like a good idea to do a triathlon. I forgot to take a spare pair of shoes and spent all day in my socks until the race. It went OK, but I was terrible in the swim. No change there.
What’s your favourite discipline (swim, bike, run) to train for and why? Least favourite?
I’m best at running, and I like getting there as there’s no more chance of a mechanical screw-up, but these days I love the swim. I’m a real fan of having a good race in a fast pack and trying to hold peoples feet.
How do you balance training and what tips do you have for others?
I set my alarm early. Most of my training is done on the way to or from work. A ride or run of the same distance every day can be easy, hard, intervals… Whatever you want. Weekends are for racing. Get involved and push yourself. It’s not just for fun, it really can be social too.
What is the best triathlon experience you have had?
2012 Escape from Alcatraz. It’s an epic race on every level. Jumping into the freezing bay at 7am, swimming past the Golden Gate bridge. Riding the hills of San Francisco, and then running back under the bridge alongside the fast-moving pro field. I’ve never been so broken by a race, but it was worth every moment of the pain.
What was your worst race and why?
The Thames Turbo Sprint in 2017. I turned up at 5:30am for a 6am briefing and I raced at 8:45am. I smashed the swim, then went the wrong way on the bike and ended up back at the start 8 minutes after I started the bike leg. I DNF’d at that point and went home. After 7 hours out of the house, I’d raced a grand total of 16 minutes.
What is the next big race you’re training for?
Challenge Roth. I broke my chain last year and that cost me a sub 10-hour race. I have a score to settle with this course!
What are your goals for the year?
Sub 10 hours at Roth. Or at least not to detonate on the run again.
What’s your favourite part of the triathlon lifestyle?
Swimmers think we’re odd. Cyclists think we can’t ride, and runners think we’re slow. None of us care.
What advice would you offer first-timers based on your experience?
Enjoy it. It’s inherently a mad, ludicrous sport, and everyone thinks you’re bonkers. It’s perhaps the only sport where very good admin skills will significantly improve your race performance. It’s not a sport if you value simplicity.