Here’s an interview that we did with Mark Kleanthous – finisher of more than 400 triathlons and author of The Complete Book of Triathlon Training.
- 400+ Triathlon Finisher
- 74 xMarathonFinisher
- 33 x IronMan Finisher
- 2 x Double IronMan
- 1 X Triple IronMan
Mark has covered more than 6,000 miles swimming 170,000 cycling and 51,000 miles running so we guessed he had a few tips to share.
How did you get into triathlon?
I finished last in a school boy cross country race at age 10. I was gutted and then ran to school & back carrying my satchel every day and next time came 2nd! With improvement came confidence and so I just kept on running.
10 Years later I entered the very first London marathon and finished in 3 hours 1 minute and 19 seconds and definitely had the running bug. I wasn’t a natural runner; the motivation to start with was to keep my weight down and stay fit.
Then he heard about his new sport and an event being organised so he turned up at the UK’s first triathlon and came 8th.
30 Triathlon seasons later Mark has crossed the finish line more than 440 triathlons from Sprint to Triple Ironman (7.2 mile swim 336 mile cycle and triple marathon 78.6 mile run) in 45 hours 58 minutes and 29 gruelling seconds! The Triple Iron distance triathlon was without stopping for rest or sleep.
Lessons from 440 Triathlons
How do you do it?
I’m quietly confident – I train smart and to the best of my ability. I listen to my body and learn from errors and mistakes made by others. I am amazed that so many athletes make the same mistakes time and time again.
So how do you learn from others?
The internet has a lot of useful information. Unfortunately there is also a lot of confusing information by people who have done just a few running races marathons or a triathlon and feel they are the leading expert.
How to you manage pre-race nerves?
Doubts? I never have doubt about my up coming performance. Post race analysis, make adjustments and improve next time. For example in 2010 aged 50 I beat my Ironman triathlon time from 1988 aged 28 because what I have learnt
Most triathletes get injured quite regularly – have you had the same problem?
Injury – Most injuries keep re-occurring if you do not listen to your body to do something about them. Few injuries go away on their own. Not many athletes actually give the injury the respect and time to heal.
Is that how you’ve kept racing for so long?
I listen to my body never afraid to take time off or do very easy active training. Regular massage, great food specially prepared by my wife Clare. I also take Neovite Colostrum to build up my immune system and speed up my recovering from training. I’m also always looking for new ways to train and improve my current level of fitness.
So what do you eat?
Fresh or frozen and nothing from a tin unless it is Tuna or Baked Beans or sweet corn.
And have you had any disappointments?
I failed to run quick enough to represent Great Britain even though I improved my marathon time to 2 hours 24 minutes and 40 seconds. I then took up triathlon and soon became one of the leading triathletes in the UK triathlon in the 80’s was not an Olympic event until Sydney 2000 so never got to compete at the Olympics. I was nominated to carry the Olympic Torch but failed to be selected.
And any remaining triathlon dreams – I mean you must have completed more triathlons than are in the buckets of any ten other triathletes?
I would love to finally see Great Britain on the podium for the men and female at the Olympics
Let’s hope that dream comes true
Representing Great Britain as an elite triathlete and now as an age group triathlete.
3rd overall in the first ever London Triathlon, numerous National Triathlon medals Gold Silver and Bronze for Triathlon and Aquathlon.
Winner overall of the Trentham Gardens Triathlon and 2nd at the Nuneaton Triathlon on the same day!
Proudest Triathlon Moments
Crossing the finish line in 23 hours 51 minutes for the double Ironman Triathlon involving a 4.8 mile swim 224 mile bike 52.4 mile double marathon.
Finsihing 3rd in the very first London Triathlon. The only time my mother came to watch me at a Triathlon.
The Toughest Triathlon
I actually have 3 events
#1 The Triple Ironman ( Swim cycle run)
The Triple IronMan was hard enough without the atrocious weather conditions, it snowed within 2 hours of the bike (expecting 70 degree heat not snow in the middle of France in May) the snow & sleet then turned to rain and I ran the triple marathon in a Gortex running suit hat and ski gloves. Half the competitors failed to finish, the biggest number during the events 30 years history failed to cross the finish line. I finished in 45 hours 58 minutes and 29 gruelling seconds in 12th place.
#2 Ironman China
I competed in the Ironman marathon 43 degree (110) heat in the China Ironman and I had 3 flat tyres. I only carried 2 spares and not being allowed outside assistance apart from other competitors I had to wait in 100 degree for another competitor to give me a spare so I could continue.
#3 London to Paris Triathlon Relay
Team of 4 take sit in turns to run a total of swim the channel and cycle to Paris. Mark’s team finished in 3rd place but Mark was ill during the run section where he covered more than , but managed to continue