World Junior Duathlon Champion and Triathlete Sophie Coleman

Champion Sophie Coleman on family, art and why Sussex is a great place to train

Tell us about yourself

My name is Sophie Coleman, I’m 19 and have been competing in triathlon since I was 13. I grew up in Brighton and attended Brighton and Hove High School, and I was always encouraged by my family to do sport and owe my step into triathlon to my parents. 

I currently live and train in Eastbourne under the guidance of my coach Glenn Cook and with Bodyworks XTC where I train three to six hours a day, six days a week alongside studying part-time on an art course. In 2008 and 2009 I won the World Junior Duathlon Championships and have represented Great Britain since 2005.


What are your interests?

Obviously triathlon is pretty near the top of the list, but I am also passionate about art and I am interested in philosophy and psychology. I would like to study Fine Art at some point, but have decided to put this on a back seat for the next few years while I focus on triathlon.

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What are your ambitions for the future?

My ultimate sporting ambition is to be the best athlete I can be. However I have both short and long-term ambitions in mind to help me do that! For the past three years I have raced sprint distance triathlon as a junior athlete. This year I have moved into the U23 age category and will now be competing at Olympic Distance, where you swim 1500m, bike 40km and run 10km. It’s a challenging transition to makes as Sprint races are only half the distance, and I will be racing alongside senior athletes.

With this in mind my aim for 2010 is to gain as much experience as possible. My main goal is to qualify for the European and World Championships and I shall be travelling in and around Europe competing in European and World Cup competitions. In the long run I aim to be competitive at a senior level on the Elite circuit, and to compete at the Olympics. I also have ambitions to race long distance and Ironman (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26-mile run).

What do you do for fun?

Train! But outside of that I devote as much of my free time to painting.

I specialise in landscapes, figurative work mainly of the female nude and still life. I am currently in the middle of my final project at college, and my chosen subject matter is portraiture and identity. I also enjoy cooking, reading and when I get the chance catch up on some TV!

Who is your biggest inspiration?

Within triathlon there are two current British female long distance athletes I particularly admire – Julie Dibens and Chrissie Wellington. I admire their achievements and the mentality they go about their training with.

What was the last book you read?

I recently read a couple of books by Malcolm Gladwell, Tipping Point and the Outliers. I am currently reading Blink by the same author and Immortality by Milan Kundera as research for my current art project.

What’s the best thing about Sussex?

Without a doubt the South Downs and sea! I love to go exploring on the Downs when I run, and living next to the sea also provides great material for my art, as well as the opportunity to practice some open-water swimming!

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