Amy Kilpin on making a name for herself in the world of triathlon

WE TALK to Amy Kilpin about life her journey from a triathlon beginner to competing in races around the world.

Amy Kilpin

Amy Kilpin started out in triathlon in 2012 having previously competed in a few marathons for fun.

AMY KILPIN had enjoyed running up until 2012 and had competed in a few marathons. However, her urge to find a new challenge saw her start competing in triathlon and pledge all her time to the popular sport. She had to work hard to get her bike and cycle up to competition standard but today competes in triathlon and Ironman events around the world.

Here she talks about some of her biggest successes in the sport and tells us all about her website www.amykilpin.co.uk where you can read her race reports and follow her triathlon journey.


What inspired you to start out in triathlon and how hard did you have to work to get up to competition standard?


It was 2012, and I had run a few marathons (non-competitively, just for ‘fun’). I guess I got a little bored of marathons and they didn’t excite me anymore. I needed a new challenge and decided to give a sprint triathlon a go. The only problem was that I couldn’t swim one length of front crawl, so in my first triathlon, I swam breast stroke. I didn’t even put my face in, the water looked disgusting! From there I had to take adult swim classes and work really, really hard to improve my swimming. In my first ‘season’ of triathlons, I came last out the water almost every single time.


My cycling wasn’t that much better to be honest, my times were atrocious. I knew I could hold my own when it came to the run but I wasn’t exactly speedy as I’d never done any competitive running – it had only been about box-ticking until recent years. It’s been one hell of a learning curve!


Amy Kilpin

Although she had a fair amount of running experience Amy had to work extremely hard at the swim and cycle sides of triathlon.

Who were your biggest supporters and mentors at the beginning?


My parents! Always unswervingly supportive, although to begin with they thought that all of this is “a bit silly” and I should just go back to being a normal human again (I wasn’t a sporty kid so it was all a bit new to us!). They were always there for me and listened to endless hours of me chatting about triathlon when they probably weren’t that interested in the sport itself. When I signed up to my first ironman in 2013 they were there to support me (even though they thought I was downright crazy!).


Amy Kilpin

Amy has had the unwavering support of her parents throughout her triathlon journey.

Tell us about your earliest achievements and to what places and areas has the sport taken you?


Well given that I started in 2012 from a non-sporty background my ‘earliest’ achievements have only been in the past few years! So after I entered my first Ironman, I qualified for the European Long Distance Championships in 2014 in the process, and I took a bronze medal in my age group. I also took a silver medal at the National Middle Distance Championships in 2015, and since then I have qualified to represent GBR in my age group at the Long Distance World Championships (where I came 11th in AG), and I’ve also qualified for the coveted Ironman 70.3 World Championships three years running.


Amy Kilpin

Amy in 2011 taking part in the London Duathlon (before she’d ever competed in a triathlon).

I’ve been lucky to race all over the world – I typically like racing in the heat so have had to travel in search of the sun, we don’t get that much here in the UK! In the past few years I’ve raced in Malaysia, Australia, Poland, Vietnam, USA, Dubai, Spain, Austria, South Africa, Croatia, Budapest and more. I’ve had some of the most amazing experiences of my life, thanks to triathlon, and I’ve met some incredible people along the way.


Amy Kilpin

Amy pictured during her first half Ironman in 2012.

In which discipline do you excel at and at which do you have to work the hardest?


I definitely don’t excel in a single discipline – in which case, my biggest strength is consistency. As my swim used to be markedly weaker than the other two disciplines, I have now built it up to around the same level as my bike and run, although I’m continually improving in all three so they seem to be progressing together. This is good for me in a way as it doesn’t put me in a niche of being a ‘swimmer’ or a ‘runner’ for example. Where athletes tend to succeed is where there is consistency across all three, so you are strong from start to finish and not having to make up places through the field across the course of a race.


I think I probably still have to work pretty hard at my swimming as it’s definitely had to come on further, but I am alwasys working so hard at all three disciplines so I wouldn’t say it is weighted towards any of them.


Amy Kilpin

Amy finishes another triathlon European event.

How hard are you currently training and what races do you have lined up for the rest of the year?


I am training pretty hard, but it’s all relative. What’s hard for me might be a recovery week for some! Since working with my current coach, Intelligent Triathlon Training, we have massively increased the intensity at which I train and I’ve seen a huge improvement over the last 18 months. I work as well (I run my own marketing consultancy business) and therefore I’m not training as hard as professional triathletes as I simply don’t have the time. But generally I train twice a day with longer sessions at the weekends.


My next race is very soon – Ironman Gdynia 70.3 in Poland, which I love – it’s my favourite race in the world! After that we have the key goal for the year, my ‘A-race’, at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Chattanooga. I’ve made some significant gains since last year so I’m really excited to see how I compare to the best in the world.


Amy Kilpin

Find out more about Amy’s triathlon story at www.amykilpin.co.uk.

Tell us about your website and what our readers can expect from it?


My website is essentially just an insight into my journey (as clichéd as that sounds), as I started out literally from nowhere and now I’m getting consistent results, although there’s still a lot of work to do! So I post my blogs, race reports, results and bits like that on there. Probably the most interesting bit is going back and reading my blogs from a few years ago when I was tragically slow and considered giving up! Nowadays it’s mostly race reports and updates.


What would your words of advice be to anyone inspired by your triathlon journey?


If you want something badly enough, then just keep going after it until you get there. If someone told me six or seven years ago that I’d become a half-decent sponsored triathlete competing at world championship events, I would have laughed in their face. It would have seemed like an absurd proposition. So many times, when I was being escorted by the safety kayak in the water or saw the organisers packing up the aid stations as I was the last person on the bike course, I felt humiliated and wanted to give up. But I didn’t. So you can do it, just believe in yourself and work really hard. The best thing is that you’ll never regret it, because no-one ever regrets achieving things they never thought were possible.

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