Meet a triathlete friend – Gary Painting

I’ve not really had time to post much in the last 10 days so am going to post my next ‘meet a triathlete friend’.

Many of you will know Gary Painting as the Event Director of Southampton parkrun. However, Gary is also a triathlete! I’ve known Gary for several year’s now since meeting at parkrun.

Here’s some info on his life as a triathlete so far…

What do you do when you’re not competing or training?
Well unfortunately I have to work (which really interrupts my training!) but far more interesting is that I’m lucky enough to be the Event Director of Southampton parkrun, it keeps me pretty busy but I take great pride in being a part of such a great event that brings so many people together. I can also be found playing darts, playing guitar or singing along to Meat Loaf.
How long have you been a triathlete?
I guess since I got into the pool of my first Tri at last years May Day Tri (not really having a clue what I was doing at that point). Thoroughly enjoyed it and opened my eyes as to how different a challenge it was to just running.
What got you hooked on triathlons?
That has to be watching the 2012 Olympic men’s race, was the first time I’d actually watched a triathlon. Just looked like so much fun and felt like something I had to try, then after that first event I was totally hooked.
Who are your triathlon inspirations?
Liz Carter, I’ve only met her a few times but she always seems to be having the most amazing time!
What have you been particularly proud of achieving in triathlon?
I feel I’m only just getting started in triathlon so nothing too major yet but was really chuffed with completing my first Olympic distance with the run split not being far off my 10K PB.
What does your typical training week consist of?
I’m really bad at making a plan and sticking to it, I just try to do a lot and work on my weaknesses. I cycle to work and back every day, do a turbo session and a long ride every week, swim a couple of lunchtimes and run when my hip co-operates. (I have bursitis in my hip at the moment so my running has pretty much ground to a halt, which is really annoying as I mainly run to stay sane).
What’s your favourite triathlon discipline and why?
That has be the run. I’ve been running for 5 years or so it’s by far my strongest discipline, (so I’m glad it comes at the end!) I’m not a great runner but do ok, so it’s nice to chase some people down who have overtaken me on the bike!
What’s your least favourite triathlon discipline and why?
I guess that would have it be the swim, I really enjoy swimming but it’s that threat of drowning, being set upon by sea creatures or taking a kick to the face that gets me nervous more than the bike and run. These are all the stupid things that are going through my head whilst on the outside trying to keep a smooth and relaxed stroke!
What triathlon targets do you have in your sights?
I’m doing Challenge Weymouth half iron distance in September, that will do for now. I will have to do a full ironman in the next few years though… half anything just isn’t job done!
What’s your favourite triathlon event (e.g. sprint, Olympic, Half or Full)?
Having only done a few sprints and one Olympic distance I’d have to say Olympic. I’m hoping come September I’ll be able to say half!
What’s your favourite triathlon event so far?
Has to be the mass race in Hyde Park last year as part of the ITU grand final. It was my first Olympic distance so was a big deal at the time, running on the famous blue carpet was pretty cool and the fact I won my place there through parkrun made it even better!
If you could share one triathlon tip or secret to success, what would it be?
Do loads of brick sessions! Running off the bike was the biggest thing for me to get used to, and of course make sure you find a way to enjoy it.
What’s your favourite triathlon related gadget, piece of equipment or web site?
I haven’t gone crazy on gadgets just yet, not as much as I’d like too anyway. At the moment it has it be my aero bars, makes me feel like a pro.
What’s your next triathlon and what are your goals for that event?
Next up is Worthing Olympic distance next Sunday (6th July). Target is to survive my first sea swim, get through the run without annoying my hip too much, and beat last years time from Hyde Park.

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