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Interview: Harry Wiltshire stamps his Kona 2016 card
Last time Harry Wiltshire chased Kona, it was a truly epic effort taking in a global race series of Ironman events spanning loads of events and event broken bones sustained at Nice.
Now with a somewhat calmer build up, Wiltshire officially had his card stamped and will be going to the big one in Hawaii. We caught up with him to find out how his season has been going and what he hopes to achieve in Kona 2016.
Hi Harry, congratulations on Kona – tell us how it feels to be returning to Hawaii?
Last time I was chasing to get to Kona, after a big crash in Nice I had to race two Ironmans in a week to qualify. I was really happy to be there, but I had done lots of racing and lots of travelling, I was smashed. This time I have had a much better prep, I’m really excited to be going to Kona for a race.
Talk us through your season and the results that got you there.
Wales and Malaysia were my scoring events from the back end of last year. I had hoped Mallorca, Barcelona or Taiwan would have been my third result, but that didn’t work out. I went to Texas early this season after a really good winter, but a combination of heat, sickness and a niggle got in the way. That left me on the back foot, but 2nd at 70.3 Stafford, 5th at Ironman Bolton and 2nd at 70.3 Dublin got me in.
That might sound like a lot of racing, but the way I see it I’ve only been to work for 35 hours in the last 12 months.
What do you need to do now between now and then to best prepare for the big race?
Nothing silly, I’ve had a great block in Switzerland and am in good shape; the only problem is my training partners are pretty much done for the season, so there will need to be a bit more of the solo miles. I will go out to the States three weeks before Kona to get used to the heat, I’d better get booking some flights!
Mens long course triathlon seems to be booming at the moment, with a new generation pushing each other, with arguably Joe Skipper, Tim Don, Will Clarke and David McNamee having realistic podium ambitions and winning international races. Where do you see yourself in this landscape and whats your view on the strength of the UK landscape at the moment?
Yes, the Brits are doing well and that is great to see. When I went to Kona in 2014 it was just me and Daniel Hawksworth. Tim Don was finishing top 10 at the Olympics before I had done my first draft legal race, its still cool to be racing him.
The beauty of Ironman and particularly Kona is that getting the build up right and performing on the day is critical.
I stopped doing ITU racing because I simply wasn’t talented enough to run for race wins against the best in the world, no matter how well I had prepared. I am quick enough to put together a top 10 result in Kona, the guys you mention all are as well, but can they do it on the day? That’s the fun of long course racing.