Interview: Ruth Astle on St George hopes and her role in Sub8

British triathlete Ruth Astle made a statement when she won the age-group race at the Ironman World Championship in 2019, turning pro just one year on.

Now, she’s lining up for the Ironman World Championship again, only this time Astle, who’s sponsored by INCUS Performance, is doing so as a pro. What’s more, she’s doing so with two Ironman wins under her belt from Mallorca and South Africa in 2021.

Here, she chats to 220 on her expectations for the upcoming Ironman World Championship in St George and what her role as pacer for Kat Matthew’s Sub8 challenge will end.

How do you feel going into the Ironman World Championship this weekend, are you in it to win it?

I feel really good going into Ironman Worlds – it has been a great block of training over the winter and if I can race anywhere near how I’ve been training, then I am excited to see how it goes!

I’m not necessarily aiming to win it yet – if I compare myself to the main contenders, I think I still have some way to go – but it’s an Ironman and anything can happen.

Saying that, I do think I can be competitive and if I have a good race, I would hope to be in the top five or on the podium.

What did your training look like leading up to St George?

Ruth’s spent months training for St George (Credit: INCUS Performance)

I started training again in January, so spent a month getting fit, then a month in Spain in February getting used to my new bike and getting a good block of base miles in.

After that, I spent a month in March doing some more Ironman-specific blocks of long intervals, then raced Oceanside 70.3 beginning of April for some race experience.

Then it was a month in Flagstaff at altitude getting some hill prep in for St George and generally sharpening up. I also did some heat prep.

Who will you have your eye on during the race?

I am mainly going to be focusingsing on my race and being patient and going at the kind of pace I think I can sustain.

However, the key players in the race I think will be Kat Matthews, Daniela RyfLisa Norden, Anne HaugSkye Moench and Heather Jackson.

I am likely to come out of the water with Heather, so hopefully it’ll be easy to keep an eye on her, and then I’ll see how small the gap is to the front.

There are then certain people on the run who will likely be coming from behind like Gurutze Frades Larralde. I’ll be keeping an eye on the gap back to her because she’s a super strong runner.

220: You’re set to be a pacer for Kat Matthew’s Sub8 attempt, how did that partnership come about?

Ruth’s a powerhouse over Iron-distance, here she wins IM Mallorca 2021

I’ve been great friends with Kat since we first properly spent time together in Florida in 2020, and she is someone I have been hugely inspired by watching her rapid progress as a professional.

I was also down to be one of Lucy’s pacers on the bike before she Unfortunately got injuredso it made sense to move across and be a pacer for Kat.

220: What will your role as a pacer involve?

My main role will be as the link between Kat and the other pacers on the TT bikes to help bridge across when they’re swapping at the front and provide a steady wheel for her to follow.

I may also jump in for a bit of the run just to keep Kat entertained, but it depends how wrecked my legs are from the bike!

220: Your first pro year was only in 2020. What do you hope to achieve over the next few years of racing?

I just want to keep improving and be able to be competitive as a pro, winning races and being able to be mix it up with the best in the world.

220: How did you get into triathlon and long-course racing?

Ruth has only been pro since 2020 but is already making strides (Credit: INUCS Performance)

I did my first triathlon through a charity place for the London Tri with work. I was training for the Berlin marathon at the time and it seemed like something fun to do, which it was!

I then joined my local tri club, Ful-on Tri, started doing all the local London league races and then started hearing about representing GB, which became my aim.

It soon became obvious my swim and run weren’t quick enough to be competitive at the Olympic distance, so I then started doing some longer races.

I had heard about Kona from lots of my friends at the club so that seemed like the next logical step, and I did my first Ironman in 2017.

220: What motivates you?

Simply put, I am motivated by new challenges and by continuously improving to be the best I can be.

220: We know you recently got into gravel riding and are part of Zwift Academy, but what’s something our readers won’t know about you?

People might not know that I still work two days a week for Lloyds Banking Group in their inclusion and diversity team, focusing on agility.

To keep up to date with Ruth, check out her website or Instagram.

Top image credit: INUCS Performance

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