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Four-time Ironman World Champion Chrissie Wellington talks training, motherhood and much more


Spending time with Chrissie Wellington, you could be forgiven for forgetting you’re in the presence of sporting greatness. She’s just so… well, normal. Actually, this is doing her a disservice. She is engaging, open, determined, driven, positive and passionate – all the qualities you might expect from the four-time winner of the World Ironman Championships (widely considered the toughest oneday endurance event in sport, comprising as it does a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run). But she is also modest, spending the majority of our interview regaling me with colourful details of her life, rather than reeling off a list of (frankly amazing) achievements. What’s more, look beyond the world-record sporting ability and, these days at least, she is a woman juggling work, motherhood and an active lifestyle, something so many of us can relate to.


Sport has not always been Chrissie’s top priority. Rewind to her early years and, while she was an active child, sport wasn’t her focus.

“I did sport because I enjoyed it – I had no aspirations of being great at it,” she recalls. “I just had fun. While I’m driven, determined and incredibly competitive, at the time all of that was channelled into academia.”

Indeed, Chrissie excelled academically, going on to achieve a first-class geography degree at the University of Birmingham, where she was also captain of the University Swimming Team. “Or rather, I drank for the University Swimming Team!” she laughs. “If I trained once or twice a week, it was a miracle!”

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About Women’s Running

Get inspired with our November issue of Women’s Running. Read our exclusive interview with cover star Chrissie Wellington, who shares her journey from amateur athlete to becoming four-time World Ironman Champion. Turn to page 48 and you’ll discover how you too can take your running to the next level – find out how one woman approached her first ultra and get all the tips you’ll need to up your distance. Struggling to find time to run for half an hour a week, never mind train for an ultra? No problem. We’ve got some great time-efficient sessions for women with manic lives. If running is strictly off limits for you at the moment due to injury, try our three cross-training plans to keep you sane – and your fitness up – while you recover. And if speed is your focus this autumn, don’t miss our expert advice on getting faster, as we show you how to find your top gear. Enjoy all this, plus all of the usual kit picks, inspiration, recipes, workouts and more!