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Fri 26th Apr 2019
Instant Interview: Dr Sarah Springman
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Friday 8th June 2007

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Welcome to our regular Friday lunchtime feature: the Instant Interview. A little something lighthearted to make the work week end just that little bit quicker.

Triathlon isn’t just about the triathletes. There’s a whole army of people in the background from volunteers, organisers, officials, shop owners, facility managers and the whole sports infrastructure as well. We thought it would be fun to mix them in with famous, and some not so famous, athletes and get them to answer our 21 Question Instant Interview.

This week’s interviewee is Dr Sarah Springman, President of the British Triathlon Federation and an accomplished multisport athlete in her own right with multiple appearances at international, elite and, in recent years, age group level. She has been to the Hawaii Ironman five times and has also competed internationally as a rower (single skulls) with considerable success. Her day job is as a Professor for Geotechnical Engineering, knowledge she exploited during the ITU Winter Triathlon Championships in Flassin, Italy last winter when the snow conditions were not of the best quality.


Sarah Springman

Do you have a nickname?

Many family ones – some others unknown and probably unrepeatable!

What’s your favourite/most enjoyable race?

  1. Euro Ironman in Sater, Sweden in 1986  - great countryside, spectators & weather! Under 10 hours for first time (9.59.49) and being the 4th woman ever to do so.
  2. Being in the zone, no pain, PB by nearly 10 minutes going under 2 hours for 50 miles (1988: before RTTC woke up to the reality of tri-bars)

What race/goal/personal achievement would you most like to win/attain?

Row across the Atlantic, ski to either pole before the ice melts…

What achievement would you most like to be remembered for?

Resting heart rate of 28 when I was really fit! More seriously, playing a small part in changing our sporting landscape for athletes (initiating and running country-wide low cost tri-training camps (1985-1992), triathlon becoming an Olympic sport, converting UK lottery funding across to support elite athletes, cold calling a princess in three languages (and other IOC members) while lobbying for London 2012….)

What’s your most embarrassing moment?

Being greeted by someone by name as a long lost friend and having no clue about which part of my life they came from, or their name…

Are you a member of any club?

A proud (founding) member of Cambridge Triathlon Club

What’s your favourite racing distance?

Formerly Ironman, now as age and admin dominates, the shorter the better… Big Cow Sprint this weekend!

Who is your sporting or cultural inspiration?

Steve Redgrave & Tanni Grey Thompson – they really knew how to be a (modest) winner in both the pre and post Lottery funding eras.

Within the sport, who would you most like to meet?

A British Olympic triathlon gold medallist, the sooner the better.

What book/magazine/comic are you reading at the moment?

The Skeptical Environmentalist, Bjørn Lømborg; The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership, Steven Sample; National Geographic, TriNews and 220. 

What’s currently playing most on your stereo/radio/iPod?

In the UK: Radio 4 or 5, Cecilia Bartoli

What is your favourite training session?

Used to be manic about oft repeated, measured 30 minute anaerobic threshold sessions in pool, on turbo, run or ergo...

What is your favourite food or drink?

Mushrooms, spinach, garlic and red wine, but not necessarily altogether.

What’s your favourite animal?

Would love to have a big dog, but lifestyle too peripatetic otherwise the big cats are great to watch as they run

Tyres or tubulars?

Tyres nowadays

Tattoos or transfers?

Transfers, if I must

Shave or wax?


Trisuit or two-piece?

Trisuit nowadays

Talc or Vaseline?

Ça depend

Shades or hat?



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