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Interview with Irish star Eimear Mullan: My 9th at Ironman Austria 70.3
You’d have been forgiven for perhaps missing this race last weekend – such was the hype surrounding Ironman Lanzarote and the Ironman Florida/Lance 70.3 – but not us. The canny fan of long course racing know that the real action over the middle distance was to be found in Austria, at one of the bigger races on the European circuit.
Here, Eimear Mullan was looking to capitalise on her great start to the season (she won Tristar Mallorca again) against some of the best triathletes at the distance on the planet – including Julia Gajer, Natascha Badmann, Caroline Steffen and Gina Crawford.
Mullan finished in 9th position so I thought I’d catch up with her to find out how the race went and how her season is progressing.
Last year Mullan was involved in one of the most exciting 70.3 races I’ve had the pleasure of watching. It was a yo-yo race in the ladies that saw the lead go back and forth and Mullan just missed out – having overtaken on the run only to be overtaken again.
This performance, combined with others such as the Tristar Mallorca wins in 2011 and 2012 led to online triathlon commentators, including myself, to pick Mullan for top 5 and even a top 3 performance here. It wasn’t quite to be, mainly due to the strength and depth of the field at this event – but those views are perhaps reflective of just how far Mullan has come as a triathlete and how well respected she is. In 2012 she is targeting Ironman UK 70.3 and Ironman UK – so I caught up with her post-race to see how her plans are going.
Hi Eimear, happy birthday! How have you spent the time celebrating?
Thanks! I spent my birthday in Vienna chilling out after the race and doing a little bit of sightseeing.
You recently grabbed 9th at one of the strongest European 70.3 races out there – how did the race pan out for you?
Austria was a pretty solid performance for me and I felt quite strong throughout the race. It didn’t go brilliantly but there were no disasters. My season is just getting started so it was good to get out there in such a strong field to see where I am and what needs to be worked on.
You were heavily tipped by the media (I had you as an outside bet for a podium) to do well here. Do you like the added pressure? Do you take it as a compliment to your progress and the reputation you have developed as a triathlete?
It definitely is a compliment and a great confidence booster to think that someone believes in you. I’m not sure that anyone realistically thought I would be on the podium or anywhere near it but it is fun to read some of the race previews and to see what the predictions are.
I don’t let pressure get to me or at least I haven’t felt under pressure so far! I never over think things or read too much in to what people say. I just try to stay positive and get on with it.
Your performance at TriStar Mallorca and now Austria suggest training has gone well over the Winter. How do you feel compared to last year at this time and do you feel on track to meet your aims and targets for 2012?
It’s funny that you say that because it has been the total opposite. My winter has been one of illness and injury. I don’t feel like I am in the shape or form I was in this time last year however I do feel like a much stronger athlete and I think things are beginning to come together. I know that last year I was very fit in the early parts of the season, I had just started to race as a professional and I wanted to do everything. I raced a lot and by mid season I was very fatigued. This year things have progressed much more slowly and I think it could be a good thing, I believe it will leave me stronger towards the middle and end of the season.
You mentioned last time we spoke that you were still looking for financial sponsorship – is that still the case?
Yes, that certainly is still the case; I would love to secure some financial sponsorship in the near future to help cope with some of the costs involved with training and racing. I had been living off some money I had saved up when I was working full time but it has now run out so I am finding it very difficult to make ends meet which is quite stressful. I think it’s the same many pros especially those who are quite new to the sport.
I do have some great kit and equipment sponsors which make things a lot easier and I am very grateful for their support. (Fusion, Corley Cycles, Body Limits, Compressport, Runworx, Swans, Trisports Lanzarote)