Continuing our series profiling each one of our age group team members racing in this year's Ironman World Championships, we are thrilled to chat with Jane Wiley. Team SFQ'er Jane earned her Hawaii Ironman qualification by winning the 55-59 age group at Ironman Wales last fall.
Jane, you've been here before, in 2013. Can you tell us about the journey to return to Kona and what that looked like for you--including your triumphant and epic day at Ironman Wales last fall?
I absolutely loved my Kona 13 experience - and thought I could never repeat that; both the awesome experience of my 1st time in Kona and my performance in a year that will go down in Kona history as Madam Pele being very benevolent to all participants, with both winds and humidity being less hostile than normal. I did think that if I was to hanker a return I would plan to do it in my 60th year. There is no doubt about it, but it is relatively easier to qualify as a women in the older age groups - and I do like a challenge, so set Wales (1st official qualifying race for the next year) as my race to qualify in my 59th year to race when I was 60.
You will be smashing it on the course in Kona this year a few months after your 60th birthday, which we think is pretty awesome. Can you tell us about how and when you got started with triathlon and ironman?
I did my 1st triathlon in Kingston, Ontario in 1986 - and I can still remember a very muscular man saying 'are YOU' doing this?' I passed him on the run :). I later moved to the UK, had a fun and busy career in Marketing, a family and put triathlon on hold for a while and I picked it up again 12 yrs ago. My favourite distance is 70.3 (disproportionate short swim!) of which I have done many and this will be my 5th Ironman - small fry compared to some of you!
You raced incredibly well in your last visit to Kona and won your age group in the notoriously difficult course at Ironman Wales on a tough day there. These results have mental fortitude written all over them. What are some of your favorite strategies for persevering under tough conditions?
Tough conditions are a reality of racing - particularly IM - and the perfect race is the rarity. I think a key strategy is to believe that mental strength can win over physical strength - if you want something enough, you will persevere.
What are the biggest lessons you learned during your first Hawaii Ironman that you will bring with you into the race this time?
In true British style - 'keep calm and carry on'. I have a plan - will try and keep 'cool' (?!) - and acknowledge that things will get ugly - but keep smiling... and carry on.
What are you most looking forward to about race week?
Easy question - I just loved swimming in what is like a giant fish tank underneath me - out to the coffee boat. My biggest discovery at Kona 13 was Smashfestqueen - I was so thrilled with my 1st SFQ purchase of a 2 piece Carbon Flyer tri suit and have followed everything you did ever since. Being part of the team this year has been a real honour - its a privilege to be part of such an open, sharing and caring team of ambitious, hard working women. I am so looking forward to meeting up with you and the many SFQ ladies there.
What are your goals for the race?
On the one hand, to have a safe and complete journey. On the other hand - while I acknowledge there are less older women seeking q spots at IM races - there is still the same number of very talented ladies in every age group - mine is certainly no exception. In fact many of you will be familiar with Julie Moss, who famously crawled to 3rd when she was 23. She has won many times since - and she too is 60 this year. I was 7th in 2013 - it would be a dream to improve on that.
My time in 2013 was 11:25 - not the rolling time on the clock!