Soraya Merrylees

As a Coach

As an Athlete

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Q & A

When did you get into triathlon? 
July 2015. 

How did you first get involved in triathlon? 
In early 2015, I got challenged by my boss to partake in a sprint triathlon (I had made a naive and uninformed statement that triathlon was easy - ha ha ha). On race day, I was completely unpreprared: I was the only one without a wetsuit, I had forgotten my running shoes at home (yes, I had to run to Sports Direct to get a cheap pair last minute!), and I tried leaving transition through bike in... a typical underprepared beginner! Despite the messy start, I was hooked. Less than a month later, I bought a proper tri-bike, signed up for the 70.3 Aix en Provence (under 10 months away) and I have never looked back.

What is your favourite discipline? 
That's a really hard question. I love them all but maybe I love cycling just a little more because you get to see so much of the World.

Why did you choose to take up coaching?
I was in a meeting one day and my boss was telling me how great it would be to implement some feature in a system we had. I thought: "I just don't care". I realised I cared more about my friend's race the following weekend (I helped her prepare it) than any of the work I had done in the past 5 years. This made me realise that I wanted to care about my job, and what I care about is triathlon and feeling that sense of achievement when you have helped someone reach their goals. 

What is your greatest athletic achievement?
Completing 70.3 Aix en Provence 10 months after my first triathlon.

What is your greatest coaching achievement?
The first person I coached was a friend. She never went to the gym or partook in any sports, until one day she said: Soraya, you've inspired me to start running. Can you help me? So we started with very short and slow jogs and worked our way up to her first 10km race. When she crossed the finish line with a huge smile on her face, I felt so proud to have been part of her success. Of course, all the merit was hers, but I had a part to play in guiding her and keeping her motivated - I'll take that! 

What one piece of advice would you give someone new to triathlon?
Have fun and listen to your coach :)

Favourite quote:
"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone"