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‘Happy, healthy and winning medals’ – Hannah Moore bids to crown comeback in Paris

After a fantastic 2023, Hannah Moore starts her 2024 campaign this week with all eyes on the Paralympics in Paris this summer.

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After a fantastic comeback year in 2023, Hannah Moore opens her 2024 campaign this weekend in Turkey.

And we’ve caught up with her to discuss what was a transformative 12 months before looking ahead to her ambitions at the Paralympics in Paris later this year.

Moore, who competes in the PTS4 category, had been very open about the struggles and mental health challenges she’d faced leading into 2023, which saw her take a year out from University and temporarily lose her funding.

In her own words it was then “all about rebuilding – myself, my life, my relationships and my future.”

She added: “Just 12 months ago, I was in hospital, unable to train and lost all my funding and coaching support which made me think that maybe it was all over and I’d never make it.

“But then I picked myself up and realised, I still believed in ME and those people close to me still believed I could do it too and that’s what’s most important.

“I am beyond proud of what I have managed to achieve. After over three years of illness/injury, to be back racing on an international stage, being happy, healthy and winning medals means the absolute world.️”

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‘A few tears were shed’

So that has to be the start point when we sit down to talk about how she managed to achieve that.

She explained: “It was obviously difficult [to get back to that position]. I think ultimately my family, my friends, and even some of my sponsors and supporters, they played vital parts in getting me back to being able to race and be in a really good and happy and healthy place to race and go to races and do my best, which turned out pretty well for me.”

Hannah hadn’t raced internationally for nearly four years since being crowned World Champion for the second time at the ITU World Triathlon Para Championships in Lausanne.

Hannah Moore crowned world champion in Lausanne 2019
Hannah Moore is crowned world champion in Lausanne 2019 [Photo credit: World Triathlon]

So no wonder her comeback at the European Championships last June was an emotional day – and one which saw her back on the podium in third.

She told us: “It was a pretty crazy day. Even from finding out that I was selected to go to the Europeans – for me that was a massive achievement because obviously I’d not gone to an international event for four years or whatever.

“And I just have such fond memories of that race. I’d only had six months of training going into it, but actually I was just so happy to be there. I was so happy to finish the race and, yeah, it was definitely very emotional crossing the finish line, I think definitely a few tears were shed and I was just really delighted to have made it back onto the podium at that race.”

On top of the world

And less than a month later, Hannah was on the top step of the podium at the World Triathlon Para Cup A Coruna.

“Yeah, that was amazing,” she recalls. “It was also the very first race of the Paralympics qualification window, so to go to that race and win, it was just fantastic. And it was really nice to kind of go there and be like, wow, I actually am making progress.

For me, last year was all about just building on race by race by race and making progress with my times and things like that.

“And the positions were all kind of secondary to that. I thought maybe I’d get on the podium, but I didn’t go there thinking I would win. So to be able to be on the top step of the podium, I felt really proud to be there.”

And the rest of the season saw plenty more podium places as well as another national title – the only time she was out of the top three was a fourth place at the Worlds in Pontevedra.

Hannah Moore Swansea 2023
Hannah Moore in Swansea last year [Photo credit: World Triathlon]

Expect the unexpected

That was despite some unlucky breaks too – Swansea didn’t have the bike element and then when it was a triathlon at the Para Cup in Alhandra she had gear shifting issues but still managed to salvage a bronze medal.

And that adaptability could well be crucial heading towards and into Paris this summer: “Whatever you face, you’ve just got to deal with. I think adaptability is a massively important part of life in general, let alone triathlon. People have plans of things they want to happen, but that doesn’t always happen.

“So in a triathlon context, I would go to these races expecting the unexpected.”

And away from sport that’s been an attitude that’s served her well over the last 12 months and more. She’s resumed her studies at University and passed her driving test for added independence.

She explained: “I think my driving licence has been my freedom in terms of being able to go places and race and go to different venues, go to the velodrome for the cycling stuff and all of that. And I’m back studying at Loughborough University in my final year now, which is really exciting.

“There’s a lot of other exciting things going on and I think for me, it’s all about balance and having different things in my life which keep me happy and healthy.”

New experiences

She’s also branched out from triathlon, competing in the UCI World Cycling Championships in Glasgow last summer, both on the track and in the individual time trial on the road.

“The UCI Worlds was an incredible experience,” she said. “I’m not sure I’ve witnessed anything quite like it. In the velodrome with thousands and thousands of people, and as soon as they see you in a GB skinsuit, you’re amazing and they start screaming for you. And I’d not had a lot of experience. I think I’d maybe done four or five track sessions before I got to the Worlds, so it’s very much a learning process and I went there with kind of zero expectations. It was more just to kind of see where I was, put a line in the sand and just have all that great experience going forwards.

“And obviously the time trialling helps support triathlon and it’s something that I enjoy doing as well.

I think it’s important to do things that you love doing.

“And I think there are some great examples, George Peasgood being one of them, triathletes being very successful in the cycling world. So I’d love to kind of almost follow in his footsteps a little bit with that.”

All eyes on Paris

But the focus in 2024 is very much on Paris and the Paralympics and while she didn’t get to take part in the Test Event, she did get chance to experience the course.

She told us: “Unfortunately I didn’t manage to get on the start list but I did head out to Paris for a week or so, got to do all of the swim, bike and run recces of the course. It was an amazing opportunity to be able to kind of test things out, test out what it’s going to be like to be racing on that course, hopefully this year. So I was really excited to be out there and I think it was just a bit of a kind of surreal moment at one point when we were riding in the bike recce along the Champs Elysees.

“It was really cool and obviously just gave us a lot of awareness of what the course is going to be like, different things to look out for and maybe train a bit for as well. Around knowing the different surfaces, the different technical corners and especially how the course is set out. Particularly for myself with prosthetics, knowing about layouts of transitions and pre transitions and just the logistics, I suppose, as much as the racing itself.”

Hannah Moore at World Triathlon Para Series Swansea 2023
[Photo Credit: Ben Lumley / World Triathlon]

So having made incredible progress in 2023 it’s hopefully onwards and upwards in 2024: “I think everything that happened last year, it’s just made me even stronger, even more resilient and kind of given me even more belief in myself that actually this is something I can do and I can make a really good go of. So it’s given me a lot of excitement for this year.

“Obviously, we’re still within our qualification window, so we’ve got that kind of process to finish then. But, yeah, hopefully all eyes are on Paris this year, I suppose so that’s really exciting opportunity.

“I had a really good winter of training, I’ve got a new coach and we’ve been trying some different things, which has been really exciting. It’s almost just about getting the work done behind closed doors but it gives me a lot of excitement knowing the progress that I’m making and hopefully I’m going to show that when I get to race.”

That first opportunity comes this Sunday in Yenisehir, Turkey as the road to Paris moves up a gear.

Jonathan Turner
Written by
Jonathan Turner
Jonathan Turner is News Director for both TRI247 and RUN247, and is accustomed to big-name interviews, breaking news stories and providing unrivalled coverage for endurance sports.  

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