In the past year Lee Thompson has represented Great Britain, in his age-group, at the 2019 Pontevedra ITU Duathlon World Championships, 2018 Ibiza ETU Duathlon European Championships, 2018 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Gold Coast, 2018 Glasgow ETU Triathlon European Championships and 2018 Fyn ITU Duathlon World Championships. Thompson will once again line up, to test his best in his age-group, at the 2019 ITU World Championships in Lausanne.
Lee has had a fantastic season with wins in his age-groups at various races on the circuit. Lausanne will be a special race for the age-group triathlete from Great Britain as his entire family will be travelling to Switzerland to support his ongoing quest to become a world champion and enjoy the experience on the sidelines.
How has your preparation been leading into Lausanne?
“2019 has actually been a pretty awesome season! I managed to take home the overall win in the Sprint Distance at the ITU race in Leeds earlier this Summer and also won my Age Group last weekend at the English national sprint championships! Of course, I’ll always sit here and say “I wish I could have done more” or “I wish I could have squeezed in another session here and there” but overall, I’m really happy with how this year’s season has gone domestically. I didn’t have the best race at the Duathlon World Championships earlier this year after an unfortunate incident which saw me being pushed off my bike, so I’m looking forward to getting to Lausanne and having a great race!”
How do you balance full time work, life and training a top age-group triathlete?
“Honestly? It’s really tough and something, I know, many age-group athletes struggle with. I run the communications and marketing team at CNBC, the world’s number one business and financial network and have a team in Singapore and London. Weirdly, me getting up at 5am to train really helps me get ahead with my team in Singapore and ensure I’m getting back to them quicker than I would be if I was just getting into the office at 9am! Ultimately, I think trying to find a balance as much as possible is key! I’m really lucky that my work place are super supportive of my triathlon endeavors but juggling everything is something I struggle with on a regular basis!”
You’ve raced at the World Championship level before, what is the most special part of the experience and who will be supporting you on race day in 2019?
“The atmosphere at the Grand Final is always awesome! Lausanne has big shoes to fill, the Gold Coast put on an awesome show last year but I have no doubt they’ll rise to the occasion! For me, I think running through the streets of a city and hearing a total stranger shout “Go GB!” or “Go Thompson!” is such a boost and never really gets old. Prior to taking up triathlon in 2013, I never really excelled in sports and I often find myself thinking “how did this all happen?” So the support from the crowds on race days is always something quite special! Given it’s only a short flight from London, my family are all coming out to support this year! So there will be full Team Thompson representation, which will be great.”
What does it mean to you to be a World Triathlete and represent GBR?
“Whenever I pull on the GB tri-suit, I have to pinch myself. I still find it hard to comprehend that I get the opportunity to represent my country in a sport that I love! As I said earlier, I never really excelled in sport when I was a kid. So having the opportunity now, later in life, to compete at an international level is really something quite special! The GB cohort always send a good crowd too, so it’s awesome to be part of such a great team and to fly the flag.”
What are you most looking forward to about Lausanne?
“Can I say the post-race celebrations?! I’m kidding! Well, I am looking forward to the post-race madness, but most of all, getting out there, having the opportunity to represent for my country and doing what I love most, racing!”
Take us through race morning?
“Generally, I’m pretty chilled out pre-race! I also see my age group aren’t going off until 11am which, in the multi-sport world, is a real luxury! A race morning lie in? Unheard of! I personally like to eat about three hours before the start of the race, so a coffee, porridge and maybe some toast. After some stretching and activations, I like to head down to the race start nice and early. No one needs any last minute sprints to the start line!”
Why triathlon Lee?
“I initially got into triathlon as I was inspired to take up sport after the 2012 Olympics here in London. I’d watched Jonny and Alistair (Brownlee) in Hyde Park and thought, I could give that a go. I’m still not quite sure how I managed to go from “I’m going to do one triathlon” to representing GB, but It’s been an awesome journey! I love the challenge of triathlon. It’s a real balancing act of getting all the three disciplines right and knowing how far you can push your body.”
Best advice you’ve been given and why?
“I remember when I reached my first World Championships in Chicago, I got to the Team GBR briefing and I was sat there thinking “What am I doing here? I’m a complete imposter! This isn’t me!” And the person next to me turned to me and said “It’s your first time, right? You need to realize you have as much right to be here as everyone else!” I think coming in, especially if it’s your first time, coming to a World Championships can be quite daunting, and at times overwhelming! But I take heed of that advice I was given in Chicago and remember how important it is to enjoy the experience and take it all in! The hard part was qualifying for the championships right, really the pressure now is totally off! Just go out and enjoy it!”
What motivates you the most about triathlon and multisport?
“Of course, I love pushing my body and seeing how much faster I can get. But a huge motivation I’ve found through the sport is the people you meet and the sense of community! Over the last four years I’ve met some amazing people through racing in triathlon and duathlon, people who I now would call some of my closest friends! Seeing others around me succeed in the sport is a huge motivation for me and really inspirational!”
Best wishes to Lee Thompson as he continues his aspirations as a top age-group triathlete.
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