Photo by Jason Dodd Photography
About Yiannis Christodoulou
2016 Triathlon England National Aquathlon Championships Bronze medallist
2016 ITU European Aquathlon Championships Bronze medallist
Canterbury Harrier Runner & Running coach Level 2
Adalta CC British Triathlon Member
Tell us your story.
I am no spring chicken and nearly 33; I only started running in 2012. I was inspired by the London 2012 Olympics to do something, which ended up me joining my local running club, the Canterbury Harriers. I didn’t train that regularly until the following year so progress wasn’t quick. I knew if I practised I could be a lot better and ended up doing just that. I knew I was never going to be the fastest in my area or club but I could get close. In 2013, I competed in local triathlons but ended up injuring my calf where I struggled for 7 months on and off so I became a coach for my club. The following year I competing again in triathlons but injured my achilles and thought I wouldn’t be able to run again.
I managed to overcome this and came back slowly which enabled an improvement of my personal best in every running race I participated in for the rest of the year. I think there were eighteen personal bests and a course record, which I am very proud of. I like to help others and whenever I train and see people doing what I love I help them.
How did you get into Aquathlons?
I first started running in 2012 and after watching the Olympics, this inspired me to try a triathlon, as running was no longer challenging enough. Last year I was in the process of getting married but didn’t have the time to train for the triathlons so I decided to go into aquathlons, as I was quite a strong swimmer and runner.
How long have you been doing Aquathlons?
I have been doing aquathlons for just over a year now. I competed in my first race in July 2015.
How many long races have you done?
My longest race was a marathon I competed in this year at Manchester. It was a disaster as so many things went wrong on the day. My longest aquathlon was a 1000m swim followed by a 10k run. I have competed in quite a few half marathons.
Which is your favourite discipline (swimming, biking or running) and why?
With the aquathlon I actually like both disciplines. My running is a lot stronger, but I see the swimming as damage limitation. When I run, it is when I am able to really push myself and push other athletes to their limit. I enjoy the feeling that I get when I am running, knowing I am going to catch people.
What is the greatest challenge you have overcome or been faced with during your training/racing?
The greatest challenge I have encountered so far was this year when I competed in both the National and European Championships, both in the same month. I came third in both the National Aquathlon Championships and European Aquathlon Championships. However after a great month it became difficult to get motivated in local races. My form had dipped a bit and I had changed my training as a result. However I am competing in the World Championships in Mexico this September so that has motivated me to keep pushing.
A few years back I injured my achilles which ended up being a serious injury and I thought that I would never be able to run again. I was out for nearly 4 months, but in that time I kept positive and therefore was able to come back stronger. I kept saying in my head I will be back and I think that helped.
What is your greatest accomplishment in Aquathlons?
This year has been amazing – coming 3rd in the European Championships has to be my greatest accomplishment. I never expected it and I had to run very hard. I had to sprint the last 400m to go past two people and discovered something new. It was an amazing experience and I will never forget it. I would tell people to keep pushing until they finish.
What keeps you motivated when training/racing gets tough?
Looking back at what I have achieved I just want to try my best and keep improving. Improvement helps me get motivated and I change my training each week.
Who, in the triathlon community, inspires you?
It has to be Gwen Jorgensen, watching her this year has really inspired me. I like the way she attacks the run and destroys the field to win. This inspires me in my races.
What is a piece of advice you’d give to a new triathlete?
My advice would be to keep training, don’t over train and make sure you get your rest days in each week. Always believe in yourself and put the work in training and you will be rewarded and can achieve great things.
Twitter: @yiannis_83 https://twitter.com/yiannis_83