We are delighted to introduce to you Barclay Izzard, a Great British triathlete who has his sights set on competing at the Tokyo Olympics this year.
Hey Barclay! Great to meet you. Tell us a bit about yourself!
Hi, I am 22 and a GB triathlete from Derby originally, but currently based in Loughborough at the performance centre there, training full time, up to 25-30 hours a week.
What was it about triathlons that made you decide it was what you wanted to pursue?
As a kid I always had loads of energy, so my parents got me swimming and doing junior triathlon races as a way to burn some energy off and ever since I’ve been hooked. The variety of it and how different every race is always makes it exciting.
Do you have a particular element of triathlon that you think you’re best at?
I would probably say the run, I always feel most relaxed and confident getting on to the run leg. But I would also say that the transitions within a race, sometimes they can make or break your race so I always try to commit to them.
You’ve managed quite the rise through the age groups with consistent improvements, which race of yours do you consider to be your favourite?
Each race is so different but for experience wise it would have to be Glasgow European Championships. The home crowd was incredible and it was one of the first times that my whole family was able to watch me race in a major event, with family up in Scotland able to come as well as from Derby. And the BBC interview after was pretty cool too.
A top 10 finish on your senior debut at the European championships is mightily impressive. What were your thoughts heading into that day?
I was really nervous, I had some niggles on the run going into it so I didn’t really know what to expect. In a way it kind of helped as I didn’t have as much pressure, especially being quite young at the time as well. But once I got racing the nerves went away and I enjoyed every second.
How has your training been affected by all the lockdown breaks? Is there anything you’ve been doing from home that you never would have done before?
In the first lockdown I ended up doing all my cycling indoors on Zwift and on the turbo, only being allowed out once a day to exercise meant that was taken up by running and also to minimise the risk of crashing and needing to go to doctors/hospital etc. I like to brave the weather in the UK as much as safely possible as riding outdoors and exploring is something I love, so it was very different. Having pools closed meant that I had the longest time out of the water that I’ve had in years, so lots of at home band exercises and shoulder work to try maintain some muscular conditioning.
We have seen you have a photography Instagram page! Do you have any other hobbies?
As well as a bit of photography I really enjoy bike maintenance and mechanics. I have learnt a lot about bikes over the years and use this to make sure both mine and others in Loughborough bikes are running smoothly and fast. I find cleaning bikes quite therapeutic and satisfying.
There have been a lot of cutbacks in funding over the past year, how much of a challenge has it been for you to train all-year round?
It has been tough, with no races last year meant no prize money and that’s the major source of income for most athletes. I try to keep focused on the future and motivate myself to work on my own weaknesses, so when racing resumes hopefully I will be stronger than ever.
You’re still young and have a long career ahead of you… what is your number 1 goal coming out of lockdown?
The Tokyo Olympics is every athlete’s goal this year, so work as hard as I can for that. But long term I hope to keep progressing through the ranks of the World triathlon rankings, with World Cup podiums and regular starts in the World Triathlon Series. I got my first taste of the WTS in Hamburg last year for world championships and I can’t wait to get back for some more!
And finally, if you could have a 3 course cheat meal, what would it be?!
Starter would have to be garlic bread.
Main: McDonalds large Big Mac meal with a coke (definitely not diet), always my go to after a race.
Dessert would be chocolate chip cookie dough, as long as it’s cooked right and still really gooey!