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Tue 16th Aug 2022
Bella Bayliss part 1 of 3: Career
Posted by: John Levison
Posted on: Wednesday 26th March 2014

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"You've got no talent, and the only way you are going to succeed is to work, very very hard and be fitter than everyone else"

Such brutal honesty from a coach might send many an athlete off to find another career, sporting dreams in tatters. Fortunately for the history of British triathlon, Bella Bayliss is made of Scottish granite, physically and mentally one of the toughest triathletes we've ever seen - and a legend among a long list of exceptional British triathletes over the past three decades.

Since winning her first iron-distance race - appropriately, one of the toughest on the circuit at Embrunman - Bella went on to capture a staggering 16 full distance victories over the next 13 seasons (ending with a fairytale win at Challenge Henley), an ITU World Championship title, two British Ironman records and a bucket load of international podium finishes and race victories. Bella Bayliss is a role model for what can be achieved through sheer hard work an a refusal to give in.

Last week I took the opportunity to sit down and talk at length with Bella at Sands Beach Resort in Lanzarote, where she is now based, and it was one of the most enjoyable and fascinating interviews I've ever done... and at times quite emotional. In three parts, in this first piece we talk about how she went from considering retiring in 2002, to finding huge success at long distance racing, her mental approach to Ironman racing, her incredible 2008 season and how becoming a 'desperate' athlete made her successful.

Bella Bayliss Interview, Part 1 of 3: Career Highlights

Bella's 16 career iron-distance victories:

Winner Ironman Florida (5 times) – 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008
Winner Ironman UK (3 times) – 2007, 2008, 2009
Winner Ironman Lanzarote (2 times) – 2008, 2009
Winner Ironman Austria – 2009
Winner Ironman South Africa – 2008
Winner Embrunman (3 times) – 2002, 2008, 2009
Winner Challenge Henley - 2013

Other significant achievements:

ITU World Long Distance Triathlon Champion 2006 (Canberra, Australia)
ETU European Long Distance Triathlon Silver medal 2005 (Sater, Sweden)
Fastest Ironman - 8:50:13, Ironman Austria 2009 (British record at the time)
Winner Ironman UK 70.3 (2 times) - 2008, 2010

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