Sam Holness ticks off the first of a number of high-profile races in 2022 when he races at IRONMAN 70.3 Lanzarote this weekend.
He’s a triathlete with autism – and one with big ambitions, both on the racing front and also in showing just what is possible.
Sam’s disability “has become his superpower” and we’ll be following his journey throughout 2022.
First Ironman race beckons
We first caught up with him last year – and the recent film (below) from his sponsors HOKA brings everyone right up to date and is well worth a watch to learn more about his incredibly positive attitude and ability to inspire.
Those will be key themes in our pieces with him over the coming months – everything from the way father and coach Tony adapts his training, through to raising awareness, breaking down barriers and setting lofty goals.
In 2021 he became the first openly autistic triathlete to compete at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in St George.
One of the key targets this year will be his first Ironman race, the European Championships in Frankfurt in June but, before then, the half distance beckons in the Canary Islands on Saturday.
Unusually the weather has been less than settled this week, as Sam acknowledged when we caught up with him to find out how the build-up was going.
“I thought that I would arrive a week early to do a recce and get some warm-weather training in the bag. What I couldn’t plan for was the 40mph winds, the rain and a maximum day time temperature of 18-20 degrees.
“Oh, how I long for the warm weather of St George, Utah last year. Even though I haven’t been out on the bike yet, tapering is going well, and I have found a great running circuit of about 400m where I have been doing eight reps of three laps with a 90 second recovery.
“In addition, I am also trying out a new portable turbo trainer that I got to work with Zwift after a lot of trial and error and am putting in a 90-minute interval session every day.
“I went swimming today and the wind kept pushing me out to sea. So aside from recovering from a cold and the lousy weather, I am happy and can’t wait to race. The other great news is that the weather is predicted have settled by race day and it should be a great event.”