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Tue 16th Aug 2022
© TEAMChallenge GmbH
Chrissie Wellington interview
Posted by: John Levison
Posted on: Wednesday 21st July 2010

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Last year (full interview HERE), when I spoke the Chrissie Wellington after her record breaking performance at Challenge Roth 2009, Chrissie was sat in a doctors surgery in Germany, having won the event despite dealing with Shingles in the weeks before the race.

Thankfully, no such drama's this year, and Chrissie kindly gave me time to chat just before stepping onto the stage at the awards ceremony to receive the recognition that her performance deserves - and find out that part of the planned recovery involves cycling "some crazy miles" across America with James Cracknell!

The world record

Did you think she could produce that sort of time before the race? "Absolutely not. I had spoken to Belinda (Granger) before the race, and said that I thought if I could get the record, it would be by seconds or maybe a minute or so. I really didn't expect to be able to go that fast. I truly didn't know if I could swim or bike any faster than last year. I was confident of my running, as that is where I knew I had improved, but to put it all together on one was more than I could have hoped for."

Chrissie exits the Main Donau Kanal ©TEAMChallenge GmbHThe perfect day?

"To be honest, I'm not sure it was absolutely perfect conditions - there did seem to be a fair bit of wind on the bike course, and perhaps last year may have been slightly better conditions wise. I don't think you ever get a perfect race, that is one of the great things about this sport, but give or take a few small things, I think that was pretty close to perfect across the disciplines so I'm very happy and proud with that."

You swam exactly the same time (50:28) as last year; after missing out on pool time after the bike crash early in the season, that must be pleasing? "I was very pleased with that, yes. If you look, you'll see that the men actually swam slower than 2009, so that was a great swim for me to come out with Tereza (Macel), and really set me up for a good race."

I heard that you actually missed/forgot to pick up your change bag on exiting the swim, is that right? "Yes, I did! I got to the change tent, then had to turn back and get it - maybe 50 metres - so I guess that would have cost a few seconds too!"

Chrissie presenting medals at the finish ©TEAMChallenge GmbHRecovery (!)

"I feel pretty good from the race - actually it is the dancing till the early hours at the finish line that probably has the biggest impact, especially on the 'cankles'! I'll get back into light training pretty quickly, but really it is rest and recovery, and then get ready for Kona. I'm going to Chicago shortly for an engagement with Brooks (shoe sponsor), and then I've got two days doing some crazy miles challenge with James Cracknell (see James Cracknell takes on America).

The crash - a good thing?

Looking back now on the early season bike crash and the subsequent impact on training / missing your early season Ironman - do you think that was actually a blessing in disguise, and has helped in being able to produce the performance you have just done in Roth? "Without a doubt, it was probably the best thing that could have happened. It enforced a break, both mentally and physically. It forces you to put things into perspective, and also enabled me to focus on other areas of improvement - I got stronger for example, and I also properly resolved the hamstring issues I had, which is part of what has allowed me to run better - yes, it was the best start actually."

That run...

Chrissie on the run ©TEAMChallenge GmbHLooking at your performance against our predictions, it was clearly the run which was the standout performance of the day - were you ever concerned that in running that fast, you may not be able to keep going? "No, I wasn't worried about the pace, I just run based on how I feel, and although I was running fast - I went through halfway in 1:21 - I was confident with how I was feeling, and was pretty sure I would have enough energy to get to the end. Of course, the pace will fade a little, it is inevitable, everybody does - but I was just running by how my body was reacting, and that was telling me it was ok."

"The Roth experience is phenomenal. This really is the heart and soul of the sport, a truly fantastic event, and the changes to the run course (part of the run now includes the main streets of the town), just adds to that. The passion of the people and the support here is what helps us to these performances."

Roth embraces the event ©TEAMChallenge GmbH

Rest of the season

"I'll be doing a half distance race in August. Possibly a few others, maybe a 10km run or bike TT or something but we'll see, and then of course Kona in October. I could race more, and I would like to race more, but I have to weigh up the impacts of that racing against my performances and impacts on training. With the races now, there is so much that goes along with that beyond just the racing - sponsor commitments, media obligations, travel - all of that has an impact physically and mentally. As a professional athlete, I want to be the best that I can be and that means ensuring that I do the right level and consistency of training so that I can perform to my best, and so it is then a balancing act with how much racing you can actually do."

Changes for Roth?

Did you try any major changes, equipment wise, for Roth? "I wore red!! I don't think anyone has seen me in red before! I did try a few nutritional changes which worked really well. I have had some GI issues in the past, but none this time so I'm very happy with that - it is nice to know that works with Kona ahead. It was also my first chance to race in the TYR Hurricane wetsuit, and I swam well, so that was obviously great. Oh, and the Greeper laces! I really am so happy to be linked with Greeper - the guy is a 'one man band', the product is innovative, it works and it is fantastic that a portion of the sales go to charity."

Can you go faster...

"Of course, you can always go faster and find ways to improve. I think I can get stronger and fade less."

That is quite a prospect for the competition...

Chrissie celebrates ©TEAMChallenge GmbH

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