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Two-time IMUK winner, Dan Halksworth, chats to TriRadar about Kona, training and how he nearly didn’t go to the Commonwealths

Dan Halksworth (James Mitchell/Ironman)

Dan had back to back wins at Ironman UK in 2012 and 2013 (Photo: James Mitchell/Ironman)

Two-time Ironman UK winner, Dan Halksworth has recently been selected to represent Jersey at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this summer. We caught up with him between time trials and speedy runs to find out how his preparation is going and what selection will mean for his 2014 Ironman World Championship goals.

Hi Dan, congratulations on being selected for the Commonwealths!

Thanks!

How did you train for selection?

I didn’t really train for Olympic distance last year – just my normal Ironman training and a couple of races for a bit of fun. I used to race ITU so I knew I could get the times.

Going back to Olympic distance was good fun. Since leaving ITU I’ve done a few bike races so I’m still used to racing in packs and there wasn’t much of a change other than surging in the bike section. In an Ironman you’re normally at a constant speed so that was a bit of a strange feeling but to be honest it was just nice to be back out there racing people I used to race against and even beating some that used to beat me!

Is there anyone you’re looking forward to racing at the Commonwealths?

Obviously Alistair and Jonny. They were just coming in as I left so I never really got to race them. When you do tri though you meet a lot of people throughout the world and I’ve got friends all over the place so it’ll be nice to just catch up with them again. It’s going to be a really good experience and we’ll hopefully get a good crowd up supporting from Jersey.

Main goal: Commonwealths or Ironman World Championships at Kona?

My main goal is Hawaii so I’m trying to qualify and to get those points before the Commonwealths.

I’ve got three 70.3’s (Majorca, Austria and Wimbleball) coming up and Ironman Austria in June so we’ll see how they go, if I don’t have the points then I’ll be flying somewhere straight after the Commonwealths. We race on a Wednesday and Ironman Zurich, the final cut-off, is on the following Sunday (27 July).

I was hoping to have the points already but the system’s changed so it’s top heavy. I came sixth at IM New Zealand and got 540 points but I need 3000. I’m currently on 1,575. It’s a lot harder and unfortunately means I’m going to have to race more.

I’ve got a new coach though and my training’s different and more cycling based. I like racing at the end of the day and you get your best training and race results that way.

How is training in Jersey?

I’ve added a lot run races, road racing and time trials to my training – just to go out there and smash myself to bits on the bike! I’m enjoying it and starting to see good gains and, you know, trying to beat those local cyclists is always good fun.

It’s not easy though, it’s a very small island, only 9 miles by 5 so it can get tedious but in some senses I think it makes you stronger mentally. Being an island, we’re quite open to the wind and rain, which can be brutal, but we’ve got good swimming, cycling and running scenes so I just try to train with the best of the best.

You’re working with a new coach now, Steve Benton, how do his methods vary from Brett Sutton’s?

I’m one of those guys who like to go out there and be told what to do and Brett used to just smash me to bits, which was great. Now we’re cutting back in some areas but working harder in others. We’re also working a lot with power now. It’s been a nice healthy change and something that I’m looking forward to seeing more results from.

Are a bit gutted about not being able to defend your title at Ironman UK?

Yeah totally! In all honesty I nearly didn’t go to the Commonwealths. Ironman’s my job and that’s how I make money. I won’t make any money from the Commonwealths but I’m 28 and might not get another opportunity to represent Jersey. I’ll certainly, hopefully, be back next year to try and take the win again.

Who do you rate to take the win in your absence?

I know Harry Wiltshire’s racing and he’s really improved over the last year. If he goes out there, swims hard, bikes hard and holds on in the run then he’ll have a really good chance.

I’ll be watching it for sure and cheering on everyone that I know and hoping they all have a good day.

What are your goals for Kona this year?

I’m still young in Ironman terms so I’m not thinking about getting a top five position. I just want to get there, get the best place I can and gain as much experience as possible so I can put that to good use in a couple of years.

It’s a juggling act having that and the Commonwealths, but it’s a good one and I’m happy with where I’m at. It’s going in the right direction.

We’re confident that we’ll continue to see great results and continued improvement from Daniel this year and are prepared to see him do dome serious podium-bothering on the Ironman world stage. Good luck Dan!