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Sat 22nd Sep 2018
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Tri247's Athlete of the Month supported by Gatorade

Welcome to our monthly feature on Tri247, supported by Gatorade (www.gatorade.co.uk). We know (because we have the statistics…), that races and race results are one of the most popular and well used resources on the site, which thousands of you rely upon. In association with Gatorade, we'll be profiling our Athlete of the Month from that information.

Our choice may be based on one, or perhaps a combination of factors including:

  • Outstanding performance at one race,
  • Consistent performances over a number of events,
  • Recognition of an athletes efforts over many months, years…or even decades in some cases!
  • Overcoming setbacks, challenges or obstacles.

Or indeed, any other reason we can think of. We will also be asking you for your nominations.

As well as the recognition, each monthly winner will receive:

  • Six month's supply of Gatorade
  • A limited edition Gatorade bike top
  • Six Gatorade bike bottles
  • Two Gatorade gym bottles
  • A Gatorade towel
  • A personalised engraved plaque

At the end of the year, one athlete out of the twelve will be selected as the overall Athlete of the Year.


August 2008: Hywel Davies

Double Iron BikeFor August we've chosen our Athlete of the Month as someone who has combined incredible versatility with consistently high-level performance.

It's doubtful there was anything longer during the month than The Enduroman Double Iron UK. Yet it took Hywel Davies just 21 and a half hours to complete the 4.8 miles swim, 224 miles bike and 52 miles run - that's sub-11 hour Ironman pace, back-to-back. Not content with that, he proved he could still 'sprint', by rounding off the month and winning the Rugby Sprint Triathlon. The rest of his year has been pretty successful too...


We called Hywel to give him the good news, and find out more about him.

"Thanks - that's an honour!" said Hywel on hearing the news. Many people will know the name Hywel Davies from his dominance of Ultra-Fit, and similar cross-training events from years past, so how did he end up doing ultra-distance triathlons? "Even when I was doing those events, I was never solely focused exclusively on them - I was also mountain bike racing, indoor rowing, adventure racing, weight-lifting and much more. It was 'pure' cross-training, doing everything if you like, so even then I was doing distance."

Hywel's first triathlon was a Thames Turbo race around August 1999 - and his second was Almere (iron-distance), the following year. "Swimming was hard - I took my wetsuit on holiday, and was swimming in warm water in St Lucia, and then I arrived back and swam in a cold, murky Dyke in Holland. Once I finished the swim, I knew I'd finish the race."

Double Iron FinishSo how did he end up attempting the 'double'. "It was two reasons really. Firstly, I wanted to get a sense of achievement back, get that feeling of 'can I finish it'? Secondly, I wanted to see if I could be successful at it. I've been on the fringes (top 10/20), of Ironman races, but in order to win, with the training time I've got available, I needed to go longer." And the biggest learning points? "A lot of it was mental, getting your head around 'what do I need to do?'. I had to be able to run 40-miles and not worry, go to the pool and do 10km sessions like it was normal, or see it was a sunny day, and just go out and do 200-miles without planning it all in advance...". I also learned a lot about pacing. I was as strong after 224 miles of biking as I was at the start. You realise that if you go too hard - and I've blown a few times at 80/100 miles in an Ironman - you can't eat and drink enough, and that slows you on the run."

Hywel has a full-time, very busy job, as Head of P.E. at Harris School, a specialist sports college in Rugby, "there are lots of after hours events to cover - at the moment it is a seven-till-seven job, really busy, but you get used to putting on a head torch and doing a two hour run afterwards. For the double, I did a lot of commuting on foot - even if it was 45 miles to the in-laws!" The school are very supportive of his sport, and while he doesn't get time off for training, they are flexible with his racing. His other main sponsor is Planet X bikes (www.planet-x-warehouse.co.uk), "they have been very supportive, really helpful and look after their team."

Double Iron FinishThis year Hywel raced at the Beaulieu Middle Distance, winning in a sprint finish over James Gilfillan, "my fault - I thought I had more of a gap and relaxed a bit - he made me work for it!". He then recorded his first sub-nine hour Ironman finish (8:52) in Austria, before winning the Double Iron, Rugby Sprint and just recently the Roade Sprint.

He won't be doing the Double Iron next year, "I sacrificed a lot of other racing for it. Even though I achieved a lifetime ambition of sub-nine in Austria, I felt flat and tired. I want to race more next year". His main event of the year will Quelle Challenge Roth. "I still want to do a perfect race, which would include a sub hour swim, sub five hour bike and sub three hour run. I've done them all, but not all in the same race. If I can do that, then perhaps getting into the 8:30's is possible."

It's been a great year for Hywel, but we're looking forward to even more from him in 2009.


Honourable mentions this month go to:

  • Dion Harrison (Thames Turbo/Sigma Sport). Dion is used to performing at a high level: he was voted 220 Magazine Age Group triathlete of the year for 2007. At the end of August he took gold in the 25-29 category at the World Long Distance Champs, as well as winning the sub-2:30 category at The London Triathlon. He's now off to Kona!
  • Tracy Cook (Tri UK / North Devon Tri Club). Tracy has been cleaning up in the south of the country. In August she won the Swanage Classic, the Southampton Fast Twitch and then continued in September with the Weymouth Classic.
  • Hilary Webber. London Marathon, 3-day Tour of Wessex, Race across America, Ironman Switzerland (age group win!)...not bad at 60: after surviving cancer. Wow. She is "always up for a challenge and inspires us all" say your friends. Not surprising really!

Do you know anyone who deserves this award? If so, tell us! Get in touch with us on aotm@tri247.com and tell us who you would like us to recognise and why.

Supported by Gatorade