The gritty top triathlete, George Goodwin talks training, brutal winters, supportive sponsors and ambitions
George Goodwin is a full-time professional triathlete. Having graduated from the University of Stirling with a degree in sports and exercise sciences he’s embracing the challenges of life as a pro – last year was his first – and relishes the gruelling training regime as well as competing.
With new sponsors on board in the form of Kuche and Bagno headed by keen triathlete Lisa Melvin, as well as his long-term relationship with Zoot who have supplied George’s kit since he was 15-years-old, he’s ready.
As a junior, George raced at Elite level for GB British Triathlon in world and European championships winning national champs, European duathlon championships and placing 20th at the world junior triathlon championships in 2015. He credits his parents with giving him the opportunity to try lots of different activities as a child which allowed him to find what he was good at.
George remembers: “I was running and cycling a lot. I joined an athletics club as well as swimming club although I found my physiology wasn’t quite up there for swimming.” Rugby junior triathlon club launched just at the right time for George 12 years ago and he’s never looked back.
School was always really supportive, “particularly Mr Price” says George. George recalls being able to leave sixth form early one day a week to train, but recognises that it would have been a different story if he wasn’t a diligent student when he was in the classroom. University was obviously more flexible and training ploughed on despite the harsh character-building climate in Stirling at times. George says: “It’s a beautiful place but there were some brutal winters! My last winter there was a particularly bad one. Looking back I’m not sure how I did it.” George enjoys the training element though. He says: “I like being outside for four or five hours a day and I like getting better and seeing improvements from hard work.”
Since 2017, George has been competing in the longer 70.3 distance races as opposed to the Olympic distance you might be used to seeing the Brownlee brothers compete in. The 70.3 refers to the distance in miles covered which consists of a gruelling 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride and a 13.1-mile run and is also known as a half Ironman. It proved a good move. In his first year at this distance George won the Castle Triathlon Series breaking long held records at events in Cheshire, France and Kent.
In the same year, he also won the British middle distance championship, breaking a course record that had stood for seven years and in addition to the longer distances George also won the BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) standard distance triathlon, came third at BUCS sprint triathlon and sixth at the British elite championship. At the Vitruvian triathlon at Rutland Water last autumn George dominated the race and won with a whopping 13-minute margin.
FOCUS AND FUEL
When we caught up with George he was about to launch into racing season having been training hard since November, kicking off with the 70.3 Barcelona event in mid-May. Consistency and focus are key, which George has in spades. Fuelling the body can be a challenge though. George says: “We burn so many calories per day I have to shovel the food in!”
While George finds the Brownlee brothers inspiring, he says he wouldn’t call them heroes. “I’m not sure sports people should be looked up to like that. Sport is a selfish past-time most of the time. Having said that I’m inspired by Jonathan and Alistair and they’ve definitely raised the profile of the sport. After all there aren’t many triathletes doing Aldi ads!”
In terms of ambition, George has his sight set on getting to the 70.3 world championships and in the longer term would like to podium at Ironman.