Huge congratulations to Jane Hansom, Ironman Age-Group World Champion 2016.
Jane took some time out to chat to TriRadar about her achievement.
What inspired you to take up triathlon?
After 5 marathons and going sub 3hrs twice, my brother reminded me that I was a half decent swimmer and suggested I take up triathlon. The first time i got on a bike since my teens was at the age of 40; I’m now 47!
Qualifying for Kona is an incredible achievement in itself, but was the goal always to win your age-group in Hawaii
In 2015 I came 2nd in what was my 2nd ever Ironman race. So, yes! This year I secretly wanted to win.
What changes did you make to your training when the focus became Kona?
I went to train in Jeju, South Korea for 10 days before Kona. That was a huge part of the preparation for the race as heat acclimatisitaion is important.
What was your biggest fear about racing Kona and how did you overcome it?
My biggest fear was getting a puncture during the race. Luckily for me, it didn’t happen and the bike section went to plan.
As an iconic race in triathlon, did the event live up to your expectations?
Yes, it really did. I like the race, especially as it is a non-wetsuit sea swim and the bike course suits me. The run was my favourite section of the race though; it always has been.
Apart from crossing the finish line, we’ll come to that in a moment (!), what was the highlight of the race?
It was running into a friend with about 10k to go as we were both at an aid station. We then ran together, passing half of the field on the final straight. We were really motoring.
Conversely, what was the low point for you?
Being totally honest, I didn’t have one!
At what point in the race did you know the age-group win was yours?
It was about 10 minutes after I had finished the race. You never ever really know until you cross the finish line and check. I’m not one to assume and prematurely celebrate so I checked the times first, just to be sure.
Crossing the finish line as an age-group winner, can you put that feeling into words?!
It was relief. Relief that all the training and effort paid off and that I got the result I had hoped for.
Are you enjoying a rest now, or do you have any winter races lined up?
My bike is still in its box and I think I might have actually forgotten how to swim!
What are your goals for the 2017 season?
I honestly don’t know yet. I would like to do a few Challenge races in 2017 and perhaps Alp D’Huez. I don’t have to qualify for Kona so have huge flexibility on that front.
What one tip would you offer to aspiring triathletes who aim to qualify for Kona?
I have three tips!
- Don’t be intimidated.
- Relax and enjoy it.
- This is just another race.
Thank you, Jane!
Picture credit: Carel du Plessis