Jack Schofield: from a fundraiser Ironman to World Championship podiums

WE TALK about to Jack Schofield about how a fundraiser Ironman in Nice led him to dedicating a large part of his life to the sport of triathlon.

Jack Schofield

A fundraiser Ironman sparked Jack Schofield’s passion for the sport of triathlon

JACK SCHOFIELD had no serious intentions of competing in a triathlon again while training for Ironman Nice which was an event he’d entered with a friend to raise money for charity. However, as well as help raise a hefty £6,000 for several worthy causes, Jack found himself competing in a similar event in Wales shortly and it was at this stage he realised there was every chance the sport of triathlon would grow to become a large part of his life.


Today Jack sees no limit to what he can achieve in the sport and among his many triumphs winning an Age Group silver medal at the ITU Long Distance World Championships is what he sees as his biggest success to date.


He’s been working hard on his run for the coming season and is looking to make it onto World Championship podiums once again this summer. Read on to find out about his long-term ambition to gain his pro card and how he intends to do it.



When did you first get into triathlon and who inspired you to give the sport a go?


I did a sprint tri at 16/17 years old for charity, but hated it so said I’d never do it again. Swimming wasn’t for me but I loved cycling and running. I was a rower while I was at uni down in Bath. It was pretty intense trying to fit in squad sessions with an architecture degree, so after three years of that out one of my mates decided he was gonna throw in the towel with rowing but do an Ironman for charity. His own training on his own terms, no politics of crews or people letting you down. So I was in. Six months later we bumbled round our first triathlon, Ironman Nice and raised, just over £6,000 for charity. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind from there.


Jack Schofield

Shortly after Ironman Nice Jack competed in Ironman Wales.

When was it you realised you had a real talent for the sport and what led you to start competing in Ironman races?


I’m not sure if I have talent or just a real love for pushing my body to the limits, but I’ve definitely not even come close to finding them yet. Coming from a rowing background I’m no stranger to the hard work. Shortly after Ironman Nice I did Ironman Wales  cause I knew I was capable of a better time. I may have nearly drowned on the swim, but I managed a bike time within the top 35 splits on the day. I was riding a six-year-old road bike that I’d never had fitted – so knew I was going okay.


Then the second time I ever sat on a time trial bike I did a 49:34 25 mile time trial but I still can’t swim. This means I’d never be able to keep up over the shorter stuff, so turn to long distance where the swim is balanced out, for now. This year will be my fourth season in the sport, and I’ve spent 40 per cent of my time in it injured, so I’m by no means a seasoned veteran.


Jack Schofield

Jack fulfilled an ambition of being able to race at Kona this year and although it was not his finest race he saw it as a great learning curve.

Tell us about Kona and your experiences of that competition?


Kona was incredible. I was lucky enough to race there this year for the first time. It didn’t quite go to plan for me – I had the worst race of my life and just got everything wrong from start to finish – but it was a great learning curve and I plan to be back in the near future. I had a bit of a crash early on in the bike and got my nutrition wrong. This made me very ill on the run, so only managed to walk the marathon as I couldn’t hold any food or fluids down.


It every bit lived up to expectations though, a magical place, shoulder to shoulder with so many idols in the sport and by far the most vicious venue around – not to be taken lightly. It’s not surprising that qualifying is a mammoth task in itself!


Jack Schofield

In 2016 Jack won age group medals at both the Long Course World and European Championships.


What have been some of your other career highlights to date?


There have been a few. In 2016 I won age group medals at both the Long Course World and European Championships although I feel both results were fairly lucky. Then 2017 was a very bumpy year for me as I had quite a bad knee injury for the majority of the season. I won my Age Group at Ironman New Zealand with no specific training, just a good winter base and this showed some promising early season form.


But then the injury hit and I couldn’t pick training up again until August. Winning an Age Group silver medal at the ITU Long Distance World Championships in Canada was probably the race of my life. I’d quite badly damaged the tendon in my knee again the week of the race but decided to battle through & managed to just get everything right from start to finish. I still don’t quite know how I managed it, I’d only just got back to training too.


Jack Schofield

Jack has been well supported by family and friends throughout his triathlon journey.

Who have been your biggest mentors and supporters along the way?


My family have been there from start to finish, I’m really lucky with all the support they give me. As well as a pair of really close family friends that come out to a lot of my races, it’s very genuine when I say I actually couldn’t do it without them.


My friends always check up to see how I’m getting on and two of them surprised me by coming to watch me race in Kona. This made it a great trip regardless of the result. I used to row with a lot of them as athletes down in Bath. Some still row at the top level, but lots of them have gone on to do different things but seeing them all excel always helps to drive me on. They’re all always there to pick me up after a bad week or just completely take my mind away from triathlon, which keeps everything in perspective. 


Jack Schofield

Jack has been working hard on his run and is looking forward to seeing if the work pays off when he starts to compete in the summer this year.

At which discipline in the sport do you excel and at which do you have to work the hardest at?


Cycling is definitely my best discipline, although I wouldn’t say I work any less on it. I’m fully aware it’s my strength so I keep it up as much as I can. There have been a lot of races where my bike leg has completely transformed the outcome – in fact most of them! Comparatively I swim like a brick, but it’s something I’m really working on. I’d like to be able to come out of the water in a competitive place and I think it’s slowly coming. Though nothing happens overnight!


My run has come on a lot in the last year as well, so that’s something I’m really looking forward to testing out through the summer. I think despite taking to the bike well, triathlon isn’t a cycling event, so I’m looking forward to being a much more solid athlete all round. Not having a weakness is important for me this year, but keeping my strengths is just as valuable.


Jack Schofield

Jack has a long-term ambition of gaining his pro card and hopes to make it back onto a World Championship podium this year. 

What are your aims and targets for the months and years ahead?


Long term I’d love to get a pro card, but I’m just taking it one step at a time. That might not happen in the next few years, but if I can just keep ticking the boxes, hopefully I’ll get there. This year I’d quite like to make the World Championship podium again but I’m not focusing on it too much.


I’ve just moved up an age group so holding my own would give me some confidence, but the reality is this year I don’t really care where in the field I finish. I’m really just focussing on myself & getting from start to finish of each race as fast as I possibly can. I’d like some new personal bests on the bike, maybe break the 300mile marker for a 12 hour time trial, or manage a sub 2:40 100 miles. As well as a nice new Marathon time running in Manchester. At the end of the year I’d like to come in below the 9 hour marker at Ironman Barcelona and maybe get another Kona spot.


It’s all if’s & but’s though. It’s all very reachable if I can stay consistent, but so much can happen between now & all of these things. Nobody can predict what’s going to happen so I’ll just adapt and react as things pop up. Keep the training up, injury down and a smile on my face – then we’ll see where I end up!

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