“My dad wrote me off. He said I was never going to amount to anything, that I needed a real job. So it was a question of survival. I either had to do it or I had nothing. I had to excel. I had to become better and make it.”
Carving a successful career in multisport is no easy task and for Peter Reid, fresh out of university, and being “smoked” by 12-year-olds in his regular swim sessions, the temptation to quit was palpable.
Yet the Canadian long distance triathlete persevered and was rewarded with three Ironman world titles and attained such consistency that from 1998 through to 2005 just once did he fail to make the top three in Hawaii.
Only Dave Scott and Mark Allen have taken the tape on Ali'i Drive more times than Reid in the men’s race, and when the high-flyer retired to pursue a second career as a bush pilot in northern Canada, he had few regrets.
As the latest subject of the Thanyapura Legends of Triathlon podcast, which seeks to document the rich history of the sport, Reid gives a rare interview, affording listeners a glimpse of the challenges and motivations it took for him to become a world-beater.
Now 44, he explains how he only chanced upon triathlon from an elite ski background as a teenager in Quebec where he would train with Crazy Canucks – a group of fearless alpine chargers, who rose to prominence on the world stage in the Eighties.
Bike racing was adopted in the summer months to improve aerobic fitness and while Reid took to it seamlessly, his multisport bow in 1989 was a humbling contrast that resulted in enforced breaststroke 100m into his debut sprint race.
Inspired to improve, Reid stuck at it, gave himself a year after completing his studies to prove his worth as a fledgling pro and eventually came good in 1993 – with a notable victory in a typhoon-affected Astroman race in Japan that turned into an excruciating 8.5km run, 180km bike, 42km run duathlon.
Two years later a breakthrough in Nice, where he was third to Simon Lessing, gave him the springboard to a first Ironman win in Australia the following summer, before the real assault on the Big Island commenced.
In an hour-long interview, listeners can gain an insight into the varied training and unique pre-race strategies of one of triathlon’s deepest thinkers, whose emphasis on efficiency and technique, with train soft, race hard principals motivated by a desire to prove others wrong, led to some of the finest performances in history.
On the turbo or on the training run, download and listen to the full Thanyapura Legends of Triathlon interview by visiting www.legendsoftriathlon.com or download the podcast via I-Tunes
Victories fade, legends don’t. The Thanyapura Legends of Triathlon is a monthly podcast brought to triathlon fans by John Newsom and Bevan James Eyles. Legends already interviewed include Mark Allen, Greg Welch, Mike Pigg, Scott Tinley, Erin Baker, Karen Smyers, Scott Molina, Simon Whitfield and Spencer Smith.