Triathlon Magazine Canada - - FEATURES - BY LUKE YATES

COM­PET­ING AS A pro­fes­sional triath­lete takes an in­cred­i­ble amount of ef­fort and ded­i­ca­tion. Try­ing to mas­ter three very dif­fer­ent sports, while also mak­ing time for re­cov­ery, is ba­si­cally a full-time job. For many pros that’s the re­al­ity, but there are still plenty of oth­ers who com­bine their ath­letic ca­reers with other oc­cu­pa­tions. Van­cou­ver’s El­liot Holtham and Nathan Kil­lam are per­fect ex­am­ples of this. They reg­u­larly com­pete across Canada, and in­ter­na­tion­ally, in elite fields, but also hold down de­mand­ing jobs out­side of triathlon. Holtham be­gan his triathlon ca­reer at Iron­man Canada in 2010, and he de­cided to turn pro shortly af­ter. He qual­i­fied for the Iron­man 70.3 World Cham­pi­onship in 2012, com­ing 34th, and then set his sights on win­ning a full Iron­man. He achieved this with vic­tory at Iron­man Aus­tralia in 2014. Later that year he com­peted at the Iron­man World Cham­pi­onship in Kona, fin­ish­ing 35th. Ear­lier this year, Holtham fin­ished fourth at Iron­man 70.3 Vic­to­ria and sixth at Iron­man Canada. Hav­ing com­pleted a doc­tor­ate in geo­physics, Holtham also works for sev­eral com­pa­nies, fo­cus­ing on min­eral, oil and gas ex­plo­ration. Kil­lam came to triathlon af­ter he started run­ning to im­prove his gen­eral fit­ness. Af­ter a se­ries of good age group re­sults, he de­cided to turn pro­fes­sional for the 2011 sea­son. His best re­sults have come in 2016, in­clud­ing a sixth-place in the long¬course event at the Wild­flower Triathlon in Cal­i­for­nia, fifth be­hind Holtham at Vic­to­ria 70.3 and sec­ond at Chal­lenge San Gil in Mex­ico. In ad­di­tion to his triathlon ex­ploits Kil­lam is a full-time fire­fighter. He works an eight-day sched­ule, with two day shifts, two night shifts and four days off. Both Kil­lam and Holtham have par­tic­u­larly tax­ing as­pects of their work, which add to the chal­lenge of build­ing a train­ing plan. They have had to get used to in­con­sis­tency and ac­cept that there will be times when things don’t work out. For Holtham, one chal­lenge of his job can be the pres­sure he is put un­der. “The worst thing for me is stress with work. If work is re­ally busy and stress­ful, it just de­stroys me.” says Holtham. “If I’ve had a bad day at work, I just kill that work­out and just do some­thing eas­ier.” He also has to travel all around the world and spend sig­nif­i­cant amounts of time in the field. One im­pact of this can be lim­ited re­cov­ery – a re­cent train­ing camp at Whistler in prepa­ra­tion for Iron­man Canada

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