Kona Qualifiers: Team Young August 23, 2019 22:28 Updated Follow Not signed in? Log into your Purple Patch account for full access to your education program for coaches and athletes. You need to sign in to view this page. Claire and James Young met in their native England when Claire was just 10 years old and James was the 12-year-old 'boy next door'. Fast forward 25 years and the childhood sweethearts are married, living in British Columbia, Canada, and have both qualified for IRONMAN Hawaii multiple times. After plenty of IRONMAN success but several mediocre performances in Kona, the couple decided to revise their approach to training and signed on for the Purple Patch Fitness training plan immediately after Hawaii in 2015. Read on for more background on this couple's path to performance and some of their recent successes on the Purple Patch program. The couple discovered IRONMAN triathlon while visiting Penticton, Canada in 2008, becoming captivated by the incredible feats of the athletes tackling the 140.6-mile course of IRONMAN Canada. That single day of spectating was enough to inspire this couple to sign up for a triathlon, giving themselves a three-year time horizon to build up to an Iron distance race. Both Claire and James had been active as kids, with Claire involved in equestrian sports and James a successful squash player but they spent most of their twenties and thirties partying. As James describes it, "I was a county squash champion at the ripe old age of 13. Between then and the age of 37 is a dark void of athleticism but a shining beacon of clubbing." Claire corroborates the story, confessing that "once I was 16 and under the influence of James, I stopped competing in showjumping and we just partied." The couple stayed the course on their commitment and entered their first Ironman together in 2011. Claire completed IRONMAN Canada in a time of 12hrs 46 mins, while James had a DNF. Despite the mixed results, their experience at the distance was enough to get them hooked and they eagerly signed up for IRONMAN Canada the following year. This time James finished, sneaking across the line in just under 11 hours, and Claire lowered her time from the prior year by over an hour with a finish time of 11hrs 43mins. The pair returned to IRONMAN Canada in 2014 in the new location of Whistler and Claire surprised herself by finishing 3rd in her age-group and earning a slot to the IRONMAN World Championships in Hawaii. Claire had been focused on enjoying triathlon and improving year over year rather than on KQ'ing: "I had no idea about the [Kona] race. I'd never even watched it on TV!" She raced in Kona that year with no expectations other than to take in the experience. "The swim was very wavy and my time slow. The bike was a joke, it was like biking into a hurricane on the way out," says Claire. "I was not happy with my performance at all. I hated the race and vowed never to return." However, she quickly changed her tune and was soon thinking about how to qualify in future years and be better prepared for the conditions. The couple repeated IRONMAN Canada in 2015 and this time they both earned qualifying spots to Kona but a combination of accidents and injuries by the time they arrived on the Hawaii start line meant that the race did not meet their expectations. They finished hand in hand in 12+ hours, well below their goals for the race. While it was a sub-par race, James describes it as his most precious triathlon experience ever, though Claire's competitive instincts showed in the finish chute when James expressed how great it was to have the same finish time until Claire reminded him: "your wave went 5 minutes before mine!" In 2016, both athletes have been on the Purple Patch training program with the goal of qualifying for Kona and then racing well on the Big Island. Indeed, Claire has aspirations of achieving a top 10 finish in Kona in her age group. When asked how they find the training program, both admit it's a change from prior plans. "It's a very different way of training to what I'm used to," notes Claire. "I like the way it doesn't just build week after week and I love the education. I never realized there was so much to know about riding a bike. I thought you just pushed the pedals up and down!" James appreciates the recovery component to the program: "With Matt and Purple Patch I work as hard as I expect in order to make the gains I want but I also recover from that work as well. Sometimes I think coaches see those who want a high standard of performance, progressively drill them until they get injured and then start that process again." Nine months into the program and the couple have already seen tremendous success. In Claire's case, the 2016 season includes a PB at the IRONMAN 70.3 distance (4:45) and a second-place overall amateur finish and Kona qualification at IRONMAN Canada in a PB time of 10:38. James has also seen improvement in winning his age group in an IRONMAN 70.3 race for the first time and placing 3rd in his age-group at IRONMAN Canada and punching his ticket to Kona. We are looking forward to watching Claire and James toe the line at IRONMAN Hawaii on 8th October this year and we are wishing them all the best for the race. Do you hope to qualify for a World Championship event? If you are ready to take your performance to the next level sign up for purplepatch coaching. All of our plans are customized to your individual needs and are designed to integrate into your available training time.