Hailing from the UK, Chris Wallace has emerged as one of the premier talents in Triathlon over the last couple of years. Placing 2nd in the iconic Ironman Wales in the 25-29 AG, qualifying for the 2018 Ironman World Championships as well as the 2019 Ironman 70.3 World Championships his rise has been meteoric.
- IronMan Kona9:23:49, 35th place 25-29 Age Group
- Sydney Morning Herald
- Sunshine Coast 70.34:10:58 5th place 25-29 Age Group,
34th place overall
- Ironman Wales10:17:41, 2nd place 25-29 Age Group,
28th place overall
- London Marathon2:35:07
When did you start doing triathlon?
Before finishing university, my sporting pursuits were mainly limited to playing football and the occasional run. However, while travelling post-university in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, I'd really enjoyed exploring the three places through running, cycling and swimming and so on my return to the UK in January 2012, I decided to sign up for the London Triathlon. Not being a strong swimmer, I struggled through the swim, but enjoyed the bike (on my dad's borrowed road bike) and the run. While my result was nothing special, I really enjoyed my experience racing, and from there my love of triathlon grew.
What led you to take up Ironman?
As I got more into triathlon, I'd been impressed by tales from other triathletes of their experiences over the Ironman distance, and it sounded like the ultimate challenge of both my physical and mental capabilities. While the thought of tackling even one of the event discipline distances scared me, my approach had always been to sign up first and then work out the plan afterwards. So I nervously signed up for Ironman Wales in 2014, only realising after I 'd signed up that it has one of, if not the, most challenging course in the world. While working as a finance lawyer in London was tough, and knee tendinitis hampered my biking on race day, the elation at the finish line was fully worth the pain! While I vowed never again while painfully ambling along the day after the race, four more Ironmans later, it's safe to say I'm hooked.
Best result to date?
That definitely has to be Ironman Wales 2017, where I qualified for this year's Ironman World Championships in Kona. Having tried and failed to qualify at both Ironman UK and Ironman Wales 2016, I'd signed up at the last minute for Ironman Wales 2017 having decided to give it a crack after a good season running and triathloning at the shorter distances. I'd loved both my two previous races at Ironman Wales, with the fantastic crowds and stunning course. The build up to the race had been a bit of a nightmare, with a stomach bug playing havoc with my carb-loading the day before. However, I decided to take it a bit easier on the swim and the start of the bike to see if it settled, which it thankfully did! The conditions on the day were atrocious with gale force winds and rain for the majority of the bike. However, I gradually worked my way through the field, and couldn't believe it at the finish to find I'd come second in my Age Group in a time of 10hr17, a time over 2 hours quicker than I'd gone at Ironman Wales 2014!
Swim, bike or run and why?
While I've grown to really love the bike, this has to be the run which is my main strength. I just love the simplicity of running where you can just stick a pair of trainers on and explore a new place wherever you are and no matter the terrain! Whether running on the trails or along the coast, nothing comes close for me!
How do you find balancing full time work with training and competing?
Working as a finance lawyer means that I need to be flexible with my training schedule. I’ve learned the hard way that during busy times and late nights, I’m better off reducing training volume rather than sacrificing sleep! However, over the past few years I’ve become a bit of an early bird as I know I can guarantee an hour or two of good quality training before the emails start flying in! With limited training time, efficiency is key for me. I often squeeze in a run at lunchtime, and I’m very fortunate to have the Botanical Gardens right beside my workplace! I also tend to do most of my bike training during the week indoors as I find it's more time efficient and productive without the traffic lights, need for preparation, and other variable conditions.
What does a typical training week look like?
While I don’t have a fixed schedule, I generally try to get around 3 hours of swimming, 5 hours of running and 8 hours of cycling in, and more if I can! I try to squeeze as much as possible out my sessions during the working week with a lot of race pace and threshold work. I then use the weekends for the longer endurance rides, and runs and swims. I find this combination works well for me.
Do you follow any special diet?
Not really. I'm pescetarian and try to eat fairly healthily, avoiding processed foods and sugars, I really just try and make sure I get enough calories to fuel my training. Whether it's a Mars Bar before a lunch time run, or chocolate milk afterwards, I try and source fuel from wherever I can!
What's next after Kona?
I've managed to qualify for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Nice next September so that will be my big goal. With a very hilly bike course, it should suit my abilities, but I appreciate that over the middle distances the swim becomes even more important so there'll be a lot of work on that over the Winter. I've also signed up for the UTA 50k race in the Blue Mountains. I've always fancied testing myself in a trail ultra in the mountains, and so I'm excited to test myself in a new environment next May!