Triathlon isn’t really a sport of self-expression.
You don’t see many triathletes running out of T2 in fancy dress* or brightly coloured charity t-shirts (*see below for embarrassing exception..!). In fact, you could argue the sport’s selection of tri suits is pretty dull.
One triathlete who’s blazing a trail in her own eye-catching custom kit is Hollie Cradduck. Otherwise known as Hollie 4 Kona! She’s set herself the very personal and very tough challenge of conquering Kona in memory of her niece and to help her cause, she’s invested in a custom tri suit to remind her and any spectators what she’s training and racing for…
TriReview: A custom tri suit is quite unusual to see on an individual – what made you want to get one?
Hollie: “The main reason was to raise awareness for my mission – Hollie4Kona as well as raise awareness for my charity hence why I have included my blog and justgiving site on the back of the kit. I also did it to get some attention when racing – doing Ironman it is well received!
TriReview: It looks like a great idea – how did you do it?
Hollie: “I got the custom kit done by a company called VO2 Sportswear. I had a feeling it had to be able to be done somewhere as triathlon clubs get kit custom made and only seemed right that they can offer that service to people on a personal basis.
Their prices were the best (around £80) as many charge a lot if there is just one item and expect a minimum order.
They were also the most friendly upon enquiring and the designers had some amazing patience with me as I kept coming back and forth with new ideas to which they happily helped with! A very talented bunch too – my original design was just awful!
TriReview: You’re yet to race in it but you’ve worn eye-catching kit before. Does it help?
Hollie: Categorically yes! As a woman I tend to get more support anyway and when I appear in as bright an outfit as this one then yes the crowd quite literally goes wild.
It’s amazing and as I mentioned before so well received during an Ironman when you’re inevitably struggling during the marathon.
TriReview: Tell us about your overall challenge?
Hollie: My challenge is to qualify and complete the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. These slots are not awarded easily with an average of 40 being given out after an Ironman. It is the pinnacle of triathlons and as a self confessed ‘Irongeek’ an impossible dream.
I decided to embark on this challenge to honour my niece and best friend Rosie. Rosie passed away at the tender age of 19 in her sleep the day I became an Ironman in Wales last September. After achieving my lifetime goal of becoming an Ironman I discovered her death and instantly my euphoria was swept with grief. What I had achieved felt insignificant. I was only three when Rosie was born and this formed a formidable closeness – we were more like sisters however I was severely protective of her as her auntie.
Rose would tell me on a regular basis how proud she was of me for doing Ironman and although I never got to see her when I finished I decided to continue my journey with her as my inspiration. During the sleepless night I had after crossing the line last September I made a promise to Rosie to get to Kona in her memory. I qualified almost exactly one year later. I faced all the emotions of the previous year and raced and qualified for Kona in Wales.
TriReview: Would you like to see more people racing with their charity/ cause on show?
Hollie: Yes definitely. Triathlon is a sport full of so much camaraderie and from being around Ironman I know that everyone has a story or a source of inspiration that has made them sacrifice their early mornings for training and everything else that comes with training for an event that covers 140.6 miles and can take 17 hours!
To be able to see these reasons would be brilliant and it really does brighten up the standard black tri suits!”
Hollie got her kit done by VO2 Sportswear. Click here for their website.
To find out more about Hollie’s incredible journey so far in triathlon follow her here.
*we warned you. all we can say is it was editor Joe’s first triathlon…