Vancouver’s Elliot Holtham chats with TMC on his win at the 2014 Ironman Australia in May.
TMC: Tell us about your first career Ironman victory and how you were able to pull it off.
Elliot Holtham: The win is just starting to set in; I’ve spent so many workouts and days dreaming about getting to that Ironman finishing banner first. I was dealing with some cramping in my legs for the second part of the run so was excited and relieved at the finish. The amount of support from the triathlon community and my team-mates has far exceeded my greatest expectations. I had a really consistent winter of training and managed to stay healthy and injury free. I knew my form was on going into Australia, but was a little unsure how my body was going to handle the travelling. Because I didn’t want to get too far behind with work, I only got to Australia Friday afternoon. Luckily for me my homestay Nashy was amazing and made me feel at home right away.
TMC: Why Ironman Australia?
EH: I went to Australia looking for KPR points. May is about as early in the season that I can race since I find it hard to consistently ride outdoors much before April in Vancouver. Coming from a cooler climate, Australia was also appealing because the average temperatures looked around 20C unlike many of the other early season races which can be quite hot.
TMC: What’s next? What is your focus for this season or even the following year?
EH: Winning an Ironman was one of my main career goals. Accomplishing this goal now allows me and my coach Bjoern Ossenbrink to step back and look at the big picture of what I need to do for my long term athlete development. For me I’d like to put together a good day in Kona. I will probably race a few 70.3’s to make sure I have enough KPR points, and then focus on preparing for Kona and getting experience for subsequent years.
TMC: How did you get your start in triathlon/Ironman? Why turn pro? You are also one of those pros that have to fit in a full time job with all the training, how are you able to fit it all in?
EH: Yes, I do have a full time job. I’ve got an undergraduate degree in Engineering, and a PhD in geophysics which is the field I currently work. I decided to turn pro because I wanted to race the best triathletes in the world. Doing an Ironman was always one of those things I wanted to do but was pretty intimidated by the distance. In 2010 my sister and I signed up for Ironman Canada and I’ve been racing long course triathlon ever since. Because of work commitments, I probably train less than most other pros. I try and use vacation time for training camps and managed to go to Maui for a week before Christmas and to Kona for a week in March. Because I don’t have the same amount of time for training as many other pros, my coach has me doing a lot of higher intensity workouts.
By Roger Hospedales