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Meet the Cowman: Tom Sturdy, British Middle Distance Champion
There were a ton of races and results to catch up on last weekend – from Roth to Racine, there was British success everywhere! But closer to home a domestic title was settled. The 2012 edition of Cowman was the scene of a right old dust up for the British Middle Distance Championship – and it was won by Tom Sturdy.
I caught up with Tom to find out how the race went and his plans for the future.
There was some serious domestic competition for this title – which was again held at the Cowman Middle in Milton Keynes. Previous to the race starting I had noted several men who were capable of taking the overall title, including Tom Sturdy, Liam Dolan, Mark Whittaker, Robert Brundish and Colin Hill. It was Sturdy however who came away with the win in a time of 4:07:07 – edging the others out by 2:32 to take the win. It was done in classic fashion – a strong performance across the three disciplines that led to the overall win.
In the ladies race I had earmarked former Outlaw winner, Catherine Faux, to take the title here but she was edged out by Manuella Maxwell in a time of 4:39:26.
Here is an interview with the overall winner and new British Middle Distance Champion, Tom Sturdy:
Hi Tom – congratulations on winning the title at the weekend! How did the race pan out for you?
Thanks very much!
I’m really happy to come away with the overall win. After a bit of a mad rush getting everything sorted in the extremely boggy transition I got off to a pretty poor start in the swim and was well down the pack at the first buoy. It all took a little longer to thin out than i had expected but i managed to work my way back up to exit the water in the top few.
Conditions on the bike were a bit slower than I would have liked, but after some messing around trying to clear the inside of my visor I got settled on the pacing that David (my coach from physfarm) and I had decided on. There were a few hold ups with all the Grand Prix bound traffic on the roads but nothing too serious and I got to T2 with the leader.
Somehow I managed to stay upright through the ankle deep mud in transition and headed out on the run in first place. The last minute changes to the run course meant I had regular updates on my lead which was a mixed blessing; as useful as it was i did not feel like I was moving very well and was really cramping up on the first climb. I had to stop a couple of times to try and stretch my legs out which, combined with a healthy helping of the trusty Cliff Bar Shot Bloks, thankfully kept it at bay enough to keep up a reasonable pace. The last lap was pretty emotional to be honest!
Where does this rank amongst your previous wins and performances?
This is without doubt my most satisfying win to date. Its not the fastest I’ve gone in any of the three disciplines but what I have learned over the last few years of competition is how to best deal with what you get on the day.
I’ve had alot going on besides triathlon recently, including moving house on the day of the race, which has all had a pretty big impact on my preparation for the event.
I had to draw on quite a few more resources than just fitness on Sunday and to do it all at a national championship event makes it that much sweeter.
Before the race, you were one of the favourites on paper. Did you feel like that going into the race? Were you confident of a good performance and were you looking out for anyone else beforehand?
I’ve been competeing at a good level for a few years now but to be honest I’ve never really thought of myself as a ‘favourite’.
I’m not much of a student of start lists or past results. Triathlon is such an individual sport that I prefer to focus on what I can do rather than potentially working myself up about what I would have to do to beat whomever it may be. That’s not to say that i don’t play of other athletes on the day though, I had a great duel with Rob Brundish at the Swashbuckler a few weeks ago.
I know quite a few faces by now and have a good idea of when I might need to keep a closer eye on them! If i was too worried about what they are capable of though i think i’d overlook how to use them to push my own ability, if that makes sense?
What’s next for you this season and what are your targets?
Having just moved house and started a new job among other things I’m not yet 100% sure of my plans for the rest of the season. I’d love to do some more racing on the European circuit but it can be a tricky commitment to meet if I really wanted to do myself justice so I’ll have to see how feasible that turns out to be.
You can definitely expect to see me about on the domestic middle distance scene though. I’ve also got some unfinshed business with x-tri after having a miserable time with some fairly debilitating cramp/neural issues in my last attempt at one!
What are your ambitions within sport and triathlon and what does the future hold?
Over the years I’ve been involved in quite a few sports and have a fair few achievements to my name in each of them. I’ve always taken the attitude that its about being as good as I can be and when the time comes that I can’t see or feel that progression I’ll call it a day.
Fortunately triathlon is pretty much the ideal sport for that ethos. I continue to make significant improvements with the support I am lucky enough to receive from those close to me as well as my sponsors; Physfarm, Bespoke Cycling and Clif Bar.
At 25 I’m still a long way from my ceiling in this sport so for now its onwards and upwards!
Thanks Tom and good luck for the future.
The podiums looked like this:
|1.||Tom Sturdy (25-29)||4:07:07|
|2.||Steve Yates (45-49)||4:09:39|
|3.||Mark Whittaker (40-44)||4:11:30|
|1.||Manuela Maxwell (30-34)||4:39:26|
|2.||Catherine Faux (25-29)||4:40:17|
|3.||Tracy Cook (40-44)||4:40:05|