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Chrissie Wellington - Four-Time Ironman World Champion

Chrissie Wellington - Four-Time Ironman World Champion

Episode 29 - Chrissie Wellington - Four-Time Ironman World Champion

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Show notes

In this episode of BE with Champions, Greg Bennett chats with Four-time Ironman World Champion and one of the greatest Ironman athletes in the history of the sport Chrissie Wellington.

Together Greg and Chrissie discuss Chrissie's journey into the world of endurance sport. Although she only started her professional Triathlete career at the age of 30 she had an incredible background in overcoming mental and physical struggles living and working in Nepal.

Chrissie describes using the sport as a great platform to have a voice and talk about things that were important to her. This was a driving force for her success. Her "Why" was bigger than herself.

The length of Chrissie's professional career was reasonably short, being only 5 years. But what she packed into those 5 years was incredible.

Chrissie goes into detail the emotions of winning the Ironman World Championships on debut. And just how underprepared she was.

The intensity in which Chrissie approached her career was the reason for her success and as she describes the likeliness of it being such a short career. Every time she raced she pushed herself to a place she'd never been before. But, it wasn't; just racing, she also pushed that hard in training. She trained mostly on her own to prepare herself physically and emotionally for racing. She describes racing almost as easy compared to the struggles of her training.

Chrissie goes into detail the importance of her mental strategies and relied heavily on her memory bank of difficult experiences that she had overcome in training and past races.

The story of her final race in 2011 at the Kona Ironman World Championships is truly inspiring. She described it as “It wasn’t my perfect race, it was that I overcame all the hurdles perfectly” and that is why it was her last race. It was perfect in the sense she got everything out of herself.

Check below for the timestamps and some great quotes.


5.30 – Introduction

7.30 – Travelling around the world & the East Coast of Australia

9.40 – 5-year impactful career

11.10 – Winding the clock back – finding endurance sport

13.00 – “Doing what was expecting of me”

14.00 – Finding running and the marathon in 2002

16.00 – Living, working and cycling in Nepal – building capacity for endurance

17.15 – Finding Triathlon

19.15 – Motivation – Using sport as a vehicle to stage for her voice

24.20 – Recognizing talent and strengths – Lausanne World Champs 2006

26.30 – Going all-in in the sport – “what would people think, scared of failure, scared of the unknown” – Joining Brett Sutton – finding some success

30.00 – Changing focus from short-course Olympic Distance to Ironman – Borrowing gear – not changing training volume

34.30 – The first-day training in Brett Sutton’s squad

39.15 – A hilarious story - the process of going into the first Kona Ironman in 2007 – No expectations – hoping for a top 10 – Bret said “Don’t defer to anybody” – Convention would say you don’t win on your first.

51.15 – Winning on debut – all of the emotions – “I thought people are booing me” – “I was very unprepared” - “I was left wondering how I managed to win?” - “That’s what struck me about being World Champion… what a phenomenal privilege it is, and what an opportunity it is to shout from the rooftops about the things that actually really matter”.

57.00 – Handling Pressure – “It was a privilege and opportunity”

1.01.20 – The suffering in training was far worse than the racing. “I just wanted to see how good I could be” – “Maybe the intensity in the way I raced was the reason I had such a short career”

1.06.50 – Why Chrissie retired? “I had the race that answered a lot of questions about myself… How deep can you dig when the shit hits the fan, how good can you be?” “It wasn’t my perfect race, it was that I overcame all the hurdles perfectly”

1.09.00 – 2011 – Records – Crashes – The perfect race to retire on (Chrissie was mentally and physically compromised but overcame adversity)

1.16.00 – Withdrawing from 2010 Ironman Kona – the impact that had on 2011

1.21.10 – Thoughts on Mirinda Carfrae as a friend and her chasing her down in Kona 2011 - “Every race I thought of quitting, every race was uncomfortable in its own way, but I drew on the bank of memories to help me through each moment”

1.27.50 – Mental Strategies – “Your brain can be trained” “learning to hurt” “You need to be able to endure boredom” “Visualizing me with a successful performance and also when things can go wrong” “Having a written plan helped with forgetting things”

1.37.00 – Team

1.44.30 – The struggles of change and transition


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