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Meet the member – Hugh Byrne


Well Hugh, how’s the form? How’s everything going for you?

All good thanks. No different to anyone else there’s been ups and downs over the last 18 months, but I’ve been lucky that there has been no serious impact to me or my family.

Tell us about how you got interested in Triathlon and how you came to join Pulse?

Triathlon was always something I looked at from a distance, but I made a promise to myself I would complete an Olympic Distance Tri before my 40th, so in 2012 I planned my whole year around triathlon. I figured I could bike and run, but I knew I needed help with Swimming and found Pulse from a Google Search.

Tell us about your first race?

The goal was complete DCT in August 2012 as my Olympic distance, but I didn’t want to wait the whole year so I broke it down into a few parts. I started swimming with Pulse in January, Dazz was coaching sessions in Sportsco on a Saturday at the time. When I started I could barely swim 2 lengths, so I targeted St Patrick’s day to evaluate myself and see if I had made enough progress to sign up for a Sprint in June and if that went well I would sign up to DCT. Dazz worked his magic and when St Patrick’s day came, I signed up to Athy Sprint which was the June Bank Holiday. I didn’t really know many members at the time, but by chance bumped into a guy I used to work with down there and he talked me through the basics of what to expect when the race started. I got into the water with my wave, and even though I had done the exact swim the previous week (Swim Athy) had a complete panic attack in the first 100m!! I was contemplating putting my hand up to get out but convinced myself that I hadn’t trained for 6 months to give up in the first 5 minutes, so head down and get swimming. When I got out of the water after 750m, I was shaking but managed to get on the bike and get moving. The rest of the race is a blur but I finished and was delighted with myself. Drove home and booked 2 more sprints and DCT that day so I guess I was hooked.

What’s your favourite race/distance to race?

I’m not a fan of sprints at all as just not build for speed. I genuinely love the buzz of full IM training, but just not sustainable every year, so I would settle for Half Iron. You have that balance of a challenging race but the training is manageable with family and work commitments.

What’s your favourite Pulse memory so far?

I love Port Beach race day. Seeing nearly all the club coming together to put on a show for the triathlon community, and getting great feedback from the athletes who take part. Its class.

What’s the best thing about being in a Triathlon club?

Friendships, banter, advice, support, can’t choose.

When you’re not swimming or pedalling or running, what keeps you busy?

Well on paper the family comes first. My wife Emma is very understanding of how much I love to train and race, and gives me lots of space, as long we have a proper family holiday which is a very fair deal.  We have 2 boys Isaac is 11 and Eli is almost 9, who prefer Minecraft to Triathlon, but plenty of time to work on that. In work I manage a sales team for Mars Ireland so am surrounded by lots of chocolate all day 😊

Outside of Triathlon, what’s your favourite sporting memory or achievement? (Doesn’t have to be your own!)

We were very lucky growing up as we had a big back garden. One summer, I was about 10, my dad and me set up a tennis court. He got a proper net and the poles, and a line marker from somewhere. We looked up the dimensions of a tennis court in an encyclopedia and marked it out. My mum, dad and sisters spent the whole summer playing tennis. Long evenings after dinner until it was too dark to see the ball. All smiles and fun, no bad losers. Happy memories.

Obviously Kona is the dream for a lot of members, but are there any other bucket list, once-in-a-lifetime type races you’d love to experience?

My main goal is outside of triathlon if I can say that? Running is the discipline I do best at, and I’d really like to try and qualify for the Boston Marathon. I’d have to run about 3.17 for my age and my PB is 3.23 so that’s the main goal for next year.

What’s the next Triathlon goal you’d like to tick off?

Well no secret I have 2 IM medals but didn’t get a full swim in either, so that itch will have to be scratched at some stage.

What’s your favourite book/movie/tv show? What do you like about them?

I’m not a huge reader of books, but did read ‘Atomic Habits’ this year. I found it really interesting overview of how to build really good habits into your life, and how beneficial it could be. Especially for triathlon training which is so structured and repetitive.

For movies/TV shows, I’m a big fan of gangster movies, Goodfellas would be my favourite.

What are the go-to tunes/podcasts for a training session?

I like The Purple Patch with Matt Dixon (Thanks to Johnny and Joanna Butler). He gives great advice on how to structure training, but also very transferable into family and work life. I have a mixed taste in tunes for Zwift, Chilli Peppers, Kings of Leon, Coldplay, U2 would be on the playlist.

Who inspires you, be it in sports or in regular life?

Somebody asked me this the other day, so I’ve thought about it. My mum owned a small shop in Blackrock village for 30 years. She worked there 6 days a week, and still made dinner for 7 of us every evening. Our family revolved around that shop, from helping out, to the customers who became family friends to this day. We didn’t know it at the time, but mum was putting us through her own university teaching us some life skills.

What one nugget of advice would you give to a new member starting out on their Triathlon journey?

Enjoy the process of training, and don’t get fixated on races. Race days don’t always work out as planned despite our best efforts. If you get enjoyment from the training, the outcome of the race is less important which will often lead to a better performance.

Finally, can you tell us an interesting fact or story we don’t know about you?

So my mum’s shop sold a variety of things, from knitting wool, and sewing threads to ladies and childrens clothes. But she did a very nice business in knicker elastic for ladies of a certain generation. We sold it by the yard, in half or three quarter inch widths. When I worked there I used to measure it out. So I always tell people my education was paid for by knicker elastic 😊. Can’t wait to hear what Brian Power thinks of that.

Pulse Triathlon Club: swimming, cycling, running and socialising since 2003

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