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Why do you even Tri? – Shining a spotlight on Kieran Batty

When Kieran joined CFMS 4 years ago he had just finished his Mechanical Engineering degree at Loughborough University. Starting a career as Graduate Systems Engineer in a new city without any familiar faces was no doubt a challenge on its own but certainly one conquered with the right discipline and ambition to succeed.

His competitive spirit and engineering mindset have pushed him to face yet another challenge – IronMan70.3 World Championship held in St George, Utah, where he ranked 181 out of 4341. Fantastic results for someone who only started doing such challenges 3 years ago.

Fast forward 4 years and Kieran is an integral part of the CFMS team, he is a Systems Engineer managing a team of three. Led by Kieran, his team work across a variety of projects, from creating digital twins for systems to investigating the efficiency of systems through optimisation, using data analysis methods to gain insight from datasets, and using simulation to look at improving the through-life repair and maintenance of components.

How did you get into Triathlons and Ironman?

When I moved to Bristol in 2018 to work for CFMS I wanted to try doing a new sport. Since I was new to the area and knew almost nobody I wanted to get out and meet people. I had done a bit of running and enjoyed cycling so I thought starting with the local well regarded triathlon club would be great, and it was! I did my first Ironman 70.3 in 2019. I remember speaking to a personal trainer at the gym I went to, I was wondering how to improve my fitness for triathlon. He said to give myself a goal, something to aim for. A friend recommended I enter an Ironman 70.3 in Weymouth in 2019, so I did!

Why do you even Tri?

I like the variation across the three sports, the different techniques you have to learn and hone, the different kit you need, and the challenges that come with each discipline. There’s always more to learn, and you can always improve your training.

What inspired you to do it?

Seeing my younger brother doing triathlons and enjoying it. I always saw it as something that was a tough endurance challenge and wanted to push myself to see what I could do. Also, I’m competitive so I wanted to beat my brother.

Describe some of the challenges you faced when training. How did you overcome them?

The biggest challenge was dedicating myself to a routine of working and training, ensuring I was eating enough and getting enough sleep. The part I found the hardest was being strict about going to bed on time!

With so much exercise required, how do you balance work-life?

It’s something I’ve struggled a little with over the few years I’ve been doing triathlon, and I’ve definitely got it wrong before! As I don’t have a strict training regime, I just try to train as much as I can with the time I have. At CFMS we have a good team routine on Mondays where a few of us cycle to Bath and back, whilst Wednesday’s we have our running sessions so being able to support one another by sharing tips and just doing the sessions together makes the exercise even more enjoyable and easier to manage.

How does being an engineer help with preparation for such a large competition?

I think the engineering mindset really helps with all elements of the competition. The attention to detail when preparing the kit (especially the bike), the pragmatic approach to breaking down the training, and the breakdown of the race on the day to know what to aim for at each point require a lot of detailed thought.

You are involved in social activities at your workplace, how do you keep yourself motivated and motivate others?

Everyone at work has been amazing! It makes it a lot more fun doing activities and chatting about them in the office as a group. I think the easiest way to stay motivated is to do the training and racing alongside other people. There’s some solidarity in the suffering.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to enter a similar activity?

Enter it! I’ve learnt so much about myself and met so many amazing people through sport, and I think it’s an incredibly rewarding thing. Give yourself a goal, ask for advice, do your own research and do the best you can.

What’s one thing that stands out to you when you are out there competing?

The amount of dedicated and great people out there. Whilst you’re all competing, the races feel more of a shared challenge everyone is going through. So no matter how you do, it’s always a success!

Tell me something about you that most people don’t know.

I’m half Czech. I was born in Edinburgh. I once ate 18 jaffa cakes in 90 seconds.

What’s the next thing on your bucket list?

Most of my goals are based on getting fitter and faster! Next year I’d like to run a marathon in under 2hrs 40, and cycle a 10 mile time trial in under 20 minutes.

More info:
An Ironman 70.3 is also known as a Half Ironman. The “70.3” refers to the total distance in miles (113.0 km) covered in the race, consisting of a 1.2-mile (1.9 km) swim, a 56-mile (90 km) bike ride, and a 13.1-mile (21.1 km) run. More information on IronMan70.3 North America results you can find HERE.

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