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Mike Found his Pursuit of Self Improvement in Triathlon

Mike Found his Pursuit of Self Improvement in Triathlon

Meet New Zealand's Mike Phillips, 33 years old and currently ranked world’s 29th by the Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO). Mike is the latest addition to the Purpose 2024 Pro Athlete lineup.  Like any triathlete, he thrives on chlorine, sweat, and the unwavering pursuit of self-improvement. As he gears up for his next challenge, Ironman New Zealand, we interviewed him to learn more about his journey, motivations, and why he believes anyone can conquer a triathlon. 

From Sprint Sensation to Long-Distance Legend

Mike’s aquatic affinity bloomed early, leading him to dominate the short course running scene. Then, a natural transition to cycling ignited his passion for triathlon. Turning pro, he seamlessly shifted gears, tackling longer distances with the same tenacity that defined his earlier years. Most notably, Mike turned heads as he broke the record during Ironman 2017 in Barcelona for the world’s fastest debut full Ironman with an astonishing timing of 7:52:50.

"How many races have I done? Too many to count!" said Mike. But he does recall his favourites. He cherishes the hometown roar of Taupo and the exotic allure of Bintan 70.3, both deeply etched into his memory. Yet, his journey isn't without its trials. He candidly recounts battles with illness and gruelling marathon walks, reminding us that even the best champions face adversity on and off the race course. 

Mike also battles the weather limitations of his training grounds in Christchurch with its scarce sunshine and limited good training weather. "We get good training weather three to four months a year, tops!" he said. 

He devotes a significant portion of the year, to travelling to pursue the most challenging conditions for training. But for Mike, home is where the heart (and training sessions) are.

The Triathletes Balancing Act

"Swimming? Not my favourite," Mike admits. "Staring at the pool bottom for hours isn't exactly thrilling." But cycling? That's where his passion ignites, fueled by the joy of exploring new landscapes on two wheels. 

For Mike, balancing his professional triathlon pursuits with work and family life comes down to meticulous planning. "Pros train around 30 hours a week," he clarifies, "leaving ample time for other commitments."

What keeps him going? It's nothing elaborate. For Mike, motivation is a constant quest for self-improvement. "Always wanting to be better," he states simply. Every race, every personal best, fuels his inner fire. 

His pre-race ritual? A strong coffee – simple, yet effective.

Dream Triathlon Team and Bucket List 

If Mike could assemble his dream relay team, who would join him? "Cyril Bedat, the 'Purpose' guy," Mike says without hesitation, admiring his mental fortitude. 

Beyond the triathlon arena, Mike’s adventurous spirit yearns to conquer Mount Everest, a testament to his never-ending desire for new challenges.

A Message to Newbie Triathletes

"Don't be intimidated by the whole event. it is just a swim, followed by a bike ride then a run!" exclaims Mike.

Mike’s message resonates with clarity and encouragement: "You can do this!” is what he wants everyone to know. Mike is a fervent advocate for the inclusivity of triathlon and suggests we should all ditch the image of spandex-clad superhumans. "Triathlon is for everyone, regardless of age or ability. An Ironman might seem daunting, but the community is incredibly supportive, and everyone can participate."

To get started, Mike recommends setting goals, pushing your limits, and enjoying the journey. “Leave your doubts behind, grab your gear, and remember, even Ironman champs started somewhere. Go out there, chase your dreams, and try your best! “, said Mike.

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