TriRadar catch up with John Newsom and Bevan James Eyles, masterminds behind IMTalk and Legends of Triathlon podcasts.

IMTalk and Legends of Triathlon are two of the biggest triathlon podcasts in the world, but who are the men behind the microphones? TriRadar caught up with the shows’ protagonists, John Newsom and Bevan James Eyles, for an exclusive chat. Here’s what the Kiwi triathlon twosome had to say.

IMTalk - John Newsom Bevan James Eyles

IMTalk’s presenters John Newsom (Left) and Bevan James Eyles (Right)

Tell us a bit about how and why you both got into triathlon and how you met.

John: “I was a regional level swim kid and by the time I hit about 13, I felt I was hitting a plateau. Purely by being swim fit I did well at running as well so I gave tri a crack. I won my age division in my first race which got me a free trip to the National Champs and the rest is history.

“Many years later, after spending time overseas racing full time in France and Asia as well as working in the UK in Bristol, I returned home to set up a full time coaching business in 2004.

“Bevan approached me about coaching and given we were of somewhat similar abilities we ended up training together quite often with other visiting pro athletes like Gordo Byrn.”

Bevan: “I’d worked in a gym for years and was looking for a challenge outside of that environment. I tried some bike races and a marathon but while they were enjoyable, they didn’t kill me. My mate suggested I do an Ironman, he said, “that will kill you!” He was right, my first Ironman took me to a place I had never been to. I was hooked!”

IMTalk is now in its seventh year – what made you decide to start the podcast in the first place and what has kept you doing it week in week out all this time?

Bevan: “I always found long rides boring, so I would listen to the radio when I was out on the road. The problem was that once you got out of town you would lose the stations. Around this time I discovered some technology podcasts that I would listen to when I was riding. I remember thinking to myself, “I could do this”. The technology that went into creating a podcast was within my reach so I thought I’d give it a go.

“I approached John to see if he was keen and he was. When we first started, we thought we would get a few local athletes listening and that we’d probably only end up doing it for a few months. I remember after the second show we got an email from a listener in Mexico, it was at that moment I realised that we were onto something.”

John: “What motivates me to keep doing it is the passionate audience and we have so many great guests is helps me to continue to learn as a coach. It blows me away how much some people enjoy listening to the two of us ramble on for 1.5-2hrs every week.”

Who have been your favourite guests and what have you learned from your years on the show?

John: “I don’t want to name favourites but the two most downloaded shows were Brett Sutton and WTC CEO Andrew Messick.

“Brett polarises the tri audience and coaches in a very black and white way; it’s his way or the highway. Then Andrew Messick gave us a world exclusive when he announced the Ironman Legacy programme on our show – that was pretty big for us.”

Bevan: “I’m with John on not naming favourites, but I did love how frank about her opinion Erin Baker was!”

Your second show, Legends of Triathlon, focuses on the people who have been part of triathlon history – why is this important to you?

John: “There is very, very little written about the early years or those that have been most influential behind the scenes.

“This is highlighted when I do my research on the athletes from the 80’s and 90’s and it is very difficult to find results or anything written about pro’s outside the big four, Dave Scott, Mark Allen, Scott Molina and Scott Tinley.

“I also love the history of the sport and want to make sure that new athletes know what it was like in the good old days. Right now we have much more standardisation of events with administrators and athletes somewhat reluctant to take some risks or change formats. There are also a lot of administrators behind the scenes that need some accolades.

“Finally, the audio format allows the audience to get to know the personalities better and it’s all unedited.”

Bevan: “I love doing IMTalk. It’s like a weekly catch up with your mates talking about the thing you are passionate about. When I think about legends I feel we are doing important work. There’s something powerful about hearing the stories of our sport from the people who made it what it is today. The work we do on this show will live on forever and help to be a time capsule of where our sport came from.

You’ve got a loyal following all over the world – what’s the typical reaction when you meet fans of your shows?

John: “It varies a lot. We get kids coming up to us saying they listen to the show in the car with one of their parents, which we just find crazy. But in general athletes are just grateful to us for providing a weekly entertainment show that they can listen to when they train.

“Up until now there have been no request for signatures on certain parts of the body. The ultimate fan would surely get an IMTalk tattoo – there’s a challenge for someone!”

Bevan: “The nice thing about meeting the people who are a part of the show is that you already have a relationship with them. Sure you may have never met them before but because we share this passion and similar philosophy on life, we seem to connect straight away. Our listeners are the type of people who want to grow as people, can have a good time, and care deeply about triathlon. I can always hang around people like that.”

Who are the world’s greatest Ironmen and Women, past, present and future?

John: “I really struggle to go past Mark Allen – when he was on he just seemed unbeatable. If we are just talking Ironman then on the girls’ side you can’t look past Paula Newby-Fraiser and Chrissie. If we’re looking at most versatile athlete, then it’s Erin Baker from New Zealand.

“Future wise, as I say on the show, the ITU athletes are coming. Bevan Docherty and Ivan Rana are who we should be looking for in 2013 but Kona is no ordinary race. If the World Champs was held in a more moderate climate I would back the new guys even more.”

Bevan: “I’m with John on that. It’s hard to go past those legends. I will say that Crowie has been pretty amazing in the more recent times.”

What are your crowning achievements in the sport so far and what are your ultimate goals going forward?

John: “Beating Bevan in the 2012 Blue Seventy Wetsuit Aquathon Challenge. We swim from the Coffees of Hawaii boat to shore (about 400m) then run to Lava Java and back (about 3km) in wetsuits.

“Going forward I want to take the overall line honours in the Wetsuit Challenge next time we put it on!

“On a more serious note, I am looking to have a peak performance in Kona 2014 (providing I qualify). Readers can follow my progress including all my training files from every session I do at www.coachjohnproject2014.com.”

Bevan: “John may have beaten me in the last Wetsuit Challenge but he’s never won the title, unlike myself. That moment is one that all athletes aspire to.

“My focus nowadays is more about getting others into loving exercise. I’m fortunate that I get to travel the world with exercise, have a business that’s helping hundreds of non-exercisers find the passion for movement, and I have a fitness blog that seems to hit a note with my readers. You can check it out at www.bevanjameseyles.com.”

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