In an illuminating interview, I sat down with Chrissie Wellington OBE, a four-time World Ironman Triathlon Champion and holder of three world ironman records. Chrissie had previously spoken at our Supporting Champions Conference, and her powerful words had left such an impact that I wanted to delve deeper into her story and ethos.
Chrissie traced her journey from her early athletic pursuits to becoming a professional triathlete. She talked candidly about her mindset at the starting line, during the races, and as she crossed the finish line as a World Champion. Beyond her sporting achievements, Chrissie also shared her drive to utilize her platform for the greater good, making her not just a remarkable athlete but also an inspirational individual.
Throughout the interview, Chrissie exuded an infectious enthusiasm balanced by a deeply thoughtful approach to life and her legacy. We covered various aspects of her career, including the challenges she faced, her strategic approach to goal setting, and how she dealt with setbacks like illness and accidents.
Key takeaways from our conversation include:
The importance of embracing your talents and taking calculated risks.
How drive, determination, and the right support network can fuel success.
The value of goal setting that focuses on process rather than victory.
Her belief in the transformative power of sports to effect change in the broader sense.
The ups and downs in her career, underscoring the fact that resilience and adaptability are crucial in any high-performance setting.
Chrissie also shared her future plans, which include public speaking, ambassadorial roles, ultra-running, and raising a child imbued with empathy and adventure.
The interview concluded with Chrissie’s advice to her 80-year-old self: to never underestimate one’s capabilities and to be kind to oneself while striving for more.
1:40 Supporting Champions Conference (March 19/20 2019) update
5:50 Early beginnings in sport, driven, determined a perfectionist but channelled.
9:35 Trying out triathlon
11:30 A dislike for mediocrity!
15:10 Be brave enough to explore your talents
17:50 Physical environment, financial support, medical support combined with drive and agency create what is needed to succeed
19:55 No expectation or pressure for the first World Ironman attempt
21:20 Late qualification, accommodation half way up the volcano, a broken pedal – not the perfect prep but racing with no expectation.
24:30 Goal setting focus on process rather than victory
26:33 “Chrissie you’re going to win this!”
29:50 A sense of euphoria
31:30 The process of an ironman equates to the rollercoaster of life: extreme highs and lows
32:45 The importance and the power of sport to create change
36:50 Rabbit in the headlights
38:40 Withdrawal from an Ironman due to illness
41:20 2011 bike accident led to ‘just a flesh wound’ and the freedom to race
46:00 Giving everything and being capable of overcoming more than Chrissie ever believed she could
48:06 Characteristics and traits
49:20 What’s next…family, Parkrun, public speaking and ambassador for a range of companies
52:20 Ultra running!
53: 20 Raising a passionate, effervescent, confident, empathetic and adventurous child
56:20 Making mistakes & being emotional showing our imperfect selves
57:30 80 year old self advice: you are capable of so much more than you think. To strive, to keep reaching and to be kind to your self
59:00 Find out more about Chrissie:
A Life Without Limits: A World Champion’s Journey
To The Finish Line: A World Champions Triathlete’s Guide To You Perfect Race