GCSEs not the only test in 2022 for Maddie Hughes


The British teenager competed in the 16-19 Female age group at the sprint championships, which saw her race across a 750m open water swim, a 20km bike leg and a 5km run, and admitted her success surpassed her own expectations.

Maddie Hughes was focusing on school exams for the first half of 2022, but that did not stop her surging to Age-Group victory at the European Championships in Munich at the beginning of August.

She crossed the finish line with a time of 01:11:19, 20 seconds ahead of Germany’s Lina Franczyk, who claimed silver.

“I was doing my GCSEs, so I didn’t do a lot of triathlon last season, therefore the gold medal was quite unexpected,” said Hughes. “I had been training for it and I just went out there and did my best.

“I didn’t do any other triathlon races in preparation for Munich but I had done lots of running, which fortunately paid off.”

Running is Hughes’ favoured element of triathlon and also her main strength. She trains with her running coach and her father, Nick, who himself has represented Great Britain in the 50-54 age group, and also represented her country as a runner in 2022.

“That was another highlight from 2022,” she said. “I ran for England in April in a four nations competition in Wales featuring the home nations.

“We do a 5km run in the sprint triathlon which is probably my best discipline and my best distance. In Munich, I was behind after the swim and bike. I think I was in fourth or fifth but then I managed to catch up on the run as that is my strongest part.”

Hughes’ success in 2022 has increased her anticipation for the upcoming year, with the ultimate goal being the World Championships at the end of the season.

“I’m doing Madrid at the beginning of June, which is the Euros competition,” she said.

“I’m aiming to do a couple of triathlons in preparation because last time it was very much just ‘go out and do it.’

“This year I’m also definitely going to do some more work on my transitions, just to fine tune them a bit.

“The Worlds at the end of the season is the ultimate aim as I haven’t done that competition before. If all goes well, I would like to podium at the World Championships. I will up the training before it and aim to be at my best for that race.”

Championship racing opportunities are available in triathlon (swim, bike, run), duathlon (run, bike, run), aquathlon (swim, run), aquabike (swim, bike), cross duathlon (cross country run, mountain bike, cross country run) and triathlon (swim, mountain bike, cross country run) and winter duathlon (cross country run, ski, cross country run) and triathlon (cross country ski, mountain bike, run).

Hughes’ triathlon journey started when she joined a local swimming club, which soon led to local triathlons and the London series before she progressed onto international competitions in 2021.

“In 2020, I qualified for Montreal, which was last year, but I couldn’t actually race it as it clashed with my GCSEs,” she said.

“The first international triathlon I did was in Valencia for the European Championships in September 2021.”

Hughes is currently juggling a busy training schedule with studying full time for her A-Levels, sometimes training twice a day, including before school.

“I’m considering taking triathlon full time after I’ve finished school and its definitely an option for me,” she added.

“However, I would like to see how things go. I’m going to keep competing and keep training because I enjoy it and see where it takes me.

“My dream would be to take part in the Olympics. I’m going to do my best and just see how it goes.”

Find out more about representing the Great Britain Age-Group Team and competing in British Age Group Championships on the link below: https://www.britishtriathlon.org/events/championships-and-qualifiers

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