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© Darren Wheeler Photography
Alice Hector talks ISRAMAN and more
Posted by: John Levison
Posted on: Tuesday 2nd February 2016


Tags  Alice Hector  |  ISRAMAN  |  Israman


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ISRAMAN Winner Alice Hector looks ahead to 2016

(And how a toad rescued her smile in 2015 from a "crap" season...)

The life of a Pro triathlete is rarely a smooth one. By winning the ISRAMAN Half last Friday, Alice Hector (www.alicetri.com) has gone full circle in order to find the positive 'vibes' to start 2016 on the right foot, returning to the venue where she won two years ago.

After a strong 2014 season - her first back racing in the professional ranks after time out of the sport, and then winning the World Age Group Sprint Championship in Hyde Park in 2013 - Alice ended her final big race of 2015, Challenge Weymouth, on the side of the road. Midway through the bike leg she pulled over in tears, broken and withdrawing from the race. The TV cameras were there to capture her misery for you all to see. Who knew then that a toad(man) would in some way rescue her sanity...?!

(Photo credits - all ISRAMAN pictures are ©Darren Wheeler Photography)

Alice Hector ©Darren Wheeler PhotographyBack to Eilat...

The return to Israel proved to be a smart choice, "It's always good for sponsors to see a win", and on her return to the UK I spoke to Alice about the event, her plans for the year and why she already has her post-triathlon sporting activities planned.

Of her second visit to the race, based in Eilat she told me, "It's such a good event and has a real family feel. I've got so many good memories from (winning) two years ago. It was my first Pro race for the best part of a decade and the organiser helped me (with costs), at a time when I had no results to speak of - other than the Age-Group World's result - but he believed in me, took a chance and you remember things like that, don't you? My 2015 season, as you know, was a bit crap and so I suppose I wanted to try and target some of those 'vibes' from last time and it worked out well - it sort of feels like home there!"

The course in Israel is a tough one. Temperatures can vary wildly plus there are significantly challenging hills, both up and down. Did she remember the severity of the course from two years ago?

"It's funny, but when you win I think you do foget the difficulty! Two years ago it was about 23°c and was really calm - this time it was pretty cold at the top of the mountain. We had sunshine, but the course... it's pretty relentless, proper climbs and we had lots of headwind. Even the downhill starting the run from T2 (which is about 12km in total), is really tough. You think you are going ok because you don't 'feel' tired as it is downhill, and then you get to the flat bit and your legs are gone from being trashed... but I think it's the same for everyone.

2015 - not really to plan...

Having had a strong year in 2014 (wins at Israman, Lisbon, The Bastion plus third at 70.3 Luxembourg), 2015 was intended to be a step up but didn't really go to plan...

"Yes, last year I linked up with a well respected coach in Europe, but that was pretty much all online and I found that I really needed to have someone that I could see or talk to in person on a regular basis. I did some of the bigger races early on in the year, Challenge Dubai (13th), 70.3 New Orleans (6th) and 70.3 Texas (9th). There was only a week between New Orleans and Texas and I did take a while to recover from that. After that I managed to get injured and when I recovered... I trained too much and got overtrained. I tried to cram in the training for Challenge Weymouth, the training felt good I thought... but I ended up on the side of the road in tears during the bike and a DNF!"

Was that really difficult to recover from; mentally as much as physically?

"It did leave me with a lot of questions, yes, and I certainly wasn't enjoying it - it's difficult when you don't get returns for the efforts you put in. At the same time, there were a lot of positives too. I was building a 'business' around the sport, getting interest from sponsors and so it wasn't all doom. When I stopped doing triathlon the first time, I was becoming really bogged down with it and it wasn't positive or healthy at all. This time, it was more a case of 'how do I make this work?'"

Alice Hector ©Darren Wheeler Photography

The recovery toad(man)...

There was an interesting and amusing recovery 'strategy' from the pain of Challenge Weymouth.

"After the Challenge Weymouth disaster, my boyfriend said 'you need to go and do something else next week to get over it. It doesn't matter what it is, how stupid it is, what distance it is, just go and have some fun'. And that's where the Toadman World Champs came to the rescue! Completely bonkers but great fun with no pressure - and with Lucy Gossage there supporting while dressed as a hot dog...well, you had to smile really!"

Toadman World Champs...

2016 plans - races, coaching

With a much more positive start to 2016 already, Alice has some race plans in process for the rest of the year. "I'd like to do one big race this year and I've tentatively got Frankfurt planned. It's potentially a fast course and I've never had a chance to do a fast Ironman time, so I'd like to try that. I also saw the new Challenge Iceland race announced - that looks amazing! Staffordshire 70.3 looks like it will fit well and is local too.

"Next up though is some duathlons, something very different. I'm going to do the British Elite Sprint Duathlon Championships at the Windsor Duathlon. I've no idea how I'll do in that sort of format, but it's right on the doorstep so I'll give it a go. I'm also going to do the Scottish Duathlon Champs and one of the F3 Events races at Dorney Lake."

2016 is also 'new' in the sense of a new coach, Hywel Davies (www.tri-becoaching.co.uk), who also raced in Eilat and finished third in the iron-distance race. "I'd met him a few times over the years and I knew that he was a PE teacher who was soon to be going into full-time coaching. Finding a coach that 'gets' you is hard - initially I was maybe a bit cynical, but the amount of research he does, his knowledge and just what he's done himself in many sports over the years is inspiring. He's such a nice guy and really goes out of his way to help. I think he will go on to be a great coach and make a real impact in the sport... but maybe we should not tell him that for now!"

Going long(er)

When Alice took her 'sabbatical' from triathlon, she got into ultra-running from 2010 to 2012, winning several events from 50km up to 100miles, including the North Downs Way 100. Is a return to that arena something she plans at some point?

"Absolutely, 100% yes! I'm 33 now and I think I've got a few years left in triathlon to perform, providing I can support that financially, but after that I can't wait to go back to the ultra running. I feel like I've got a window of opportunity for triathlon in a performance sense, but ultra (running) for me is more about exploration, challenge and less about pure performance. It has a real simplicity about it."

Alice Hector ©Darren Wheeler Photography


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