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Fri 19th Aug 2022
Interview: Stuart Hayes
Posted by: Annie Emmerson
Posted on: Friday 6th November 2009

Tags  Greg Bennett  |  Javier Gomez  |  Matt Reed  |  Paul Amey  |  Stuart Hayes

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Stuart Hayes, is without a doubt, one of the most likeable guys on the triathlon circuit. He's been racing for what seems like a lifetime, which makes it hard to believe that he's still actually only thirty years-old. He's had his ups and downs, as all triathletes do, but year after year he brings home the results, whether on a national level, international level or in drafting or non-drafting races.

In just over a week's time, Stuart, who's known as a short course athlete, will up the distance when he competes at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater. It's a distance that he's only competed over once before, but having finished only ten seconds behind World #2, Javier Gomez, at the LA non-drafting race just last month, Stuart looks to be in the best shape of his life and ready to take on the world's best in Florida next weekend.

AE Stu, what a great year, there’s been a couple of hiccups, but you’ve had some fantastic results, so are you happy with your 2009 season?

AE For one reason or another things haven't gone totally according to plan, but overall I'm pretty happy.

AE You won the British Triathlon Super Series having taken victory at Blenheim and Windsor, and third in London. There's been some great races in the UK this year and it does seem as if the elite domestic racing scene is improving?

SH Yes the domestic scene is definitely improving! All the major elite series races are televised, which is great for our sport because it's creating more public awareness. And with Alistair Brownlee becoming World Champion this year triathlon just seems to be really booming in the UK. Most of our major races have closed roads, and good prize money, so this is a big attraction to the international athletes. I really enjoy racing in the UK and think the organizers of our races are doing a great job.

AE The Dextro Energy ITU World Championship Series has been quite disappointing for you this year, what went wrong?

SH Racing the French Grand Prix, British Elite series, USA non-drafting and World Cups was a bad move - unfortunately the World Cups took the biggest hit in bad performances. When I felt like I could have had one good ITU race (London), I punctured, so it was game over. I now know you can’t race every race, sometimes you have to be prepared to sit back and watch. The best way to a great season is train hard, rest and target the key races; not try and do every race on the planet.

AE As I've already mentioned though, although there were some hiccups, you've had some fantastic results especially in the States - in fact at the Lifetime Fitness series race in LA you finished just ten seconds behind Javier Gomez. Why do you think you always race so well in the States?

SH I love non-drafting because there is nowhere to hide. Now I know what age-groupers go though when they run off a non-drafting bike. When I first started racing in the States I thought I was a strong bike rider but lost minutes on the bike so over the winter I worked on my time trial position with Wiggle so that my Focus Chrono was as aerodynamic as possible. I also did lots of one hour time trials, which has paid off this year.

AE Maybe Gomez didn't realise how hard the non-drafting races were either?

SH I think he was a little shocked how his legs felt when he raced in LA.

AE You won the Malibu Triathlon for the second year in a row. It looks like a great event and always seems to attract attention from some of Americas biggest celebrities – is it as fun as it looks and did you get a chance to rub shoulders with the likes of JLO?.

SH The Malibu Triathlon is a great race. It's a sea swim, bike along the Pacific Coast Highway and run along the beach. Because it's in Malibu where all the LA celebrities live they all come down to watch or race, but you can’t get anywhere near them so there is no rubbing shoulders, although watching the paparazzi circus around them is entertaining.

AE With just under 1000 days to go before London 2012 what are you thoughts about racing at the Olympics on home soil and is it part of your plans to be there racing?

SH I would love to race at the Olympics in 2012, but I am no longer on any kind of funding or allowed to train with the high performance athletes in Loughborough, so I am sort of out of the loop. This means it will be difficult for me to qualify, but come the year of the Games I will do every thing I can to get a shot at being on the start line in London.

AE Next weekend you’re racing at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater. It’s a step up from your normal racing distance so how much have you changed your training to prepare for this race?

SH I have been living in Clermont, Florida for the last mouth to prepare for the heat. Michelle Dillon (coach and partner) and I used the National Training Centre in Clermont in 2002 to prepare for the World Championships in Cancun - we both had great races so it made sense to comeback. I've dropped my swimming and have been doing more bike sessions just to make sure I have fresh legs when I get off the bike and do the half-marathon. I have actually found this training very hard and can’t imagine what it's like to train for an Ironman.

AE Julie Dibens says it’s going to be quite hard for the good bikers to get away as the bike course is flat, so as someone that is considered a strong biker what’s going to be your game plan?

SH I don’t really have any race plans because I'm very inexperienced at this type of racing, so I'm going out there to learn and give it my best shot. My biggest worry is getting my nutrition wrong and having to walk on the run. But since I have been practicing that in training here I'm hoping I've got it right now.

AE Ironman 70.3 is getting ever more popular and this year’s World Championships looks set to be huge with all the best 70.3 guys there and a good handful of ITU guys too, but which athletes do you think stand out as the favourites?

SH Greg Bennett, Matt Reed, Richie Cunnigham and there are always a couple of dark horses like Paul Amey for example.

AE After a long year it's your last race of the season so what are your expectations going into the race?

SH I’m not saying anything because everytime I say I'm going to win, something goes wrong, and every time I go into a race with no expectations something special happens. The plan is to just go out there and enjoy myself and what will be will be.

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