Callum has been training with GTC for four years and now races in the Youth 1 (age 15 to 16) age category.
A pupil at Boclair Academy, Bearsden, his progress to triathlon began with swimming. Callum says: “Until the age of around eight, I was purely a swimmer because many of my close friends had started competitive swimming and I liked the sound of it.
“I found it enjoyable at first, but as friends moved clubs and stopped training, I too began losing interest.
“Also, I found that staring at the bottom of a pool for eight hours a week was not too enthralling.”
A move to triathlon
Having become disenchanted with swimming, Callum took up archery for a few years until he joined a triathlon camp.
He says: “Since that Easter training camp four years ago, I have dropped archery and began to move forward with triathlon as my primary focus.”
Callum is once again enjoying the swimming, as well as training in cycling and running.
He says: “I like being in the pool again but also with the added diversity of having cycling and running as a sometimes more enjoyable alternative.
“Another advantage of triathlon as a sport is that I find the training exceptionally fun. Overall it’s the diversity of three different sports that means I really enjoy triathlon.”
Callum likes the three sports equally. He says: “I know that some people have a favourite discipline in triathlon, such as a sport that comes more naturally to them or a sport they excel in, but I honestly find all three equally enjoyable at times.
“If I am doing a nice cycle in the sun on smooth roads, then cycling is my favourite. If I am in a warm loch, then my favourite is swimming. If I have a rainy day, running is my favourite.
“I feel like all three disciplines are great – if not the best – sports. They all have their merits and, to be honest, they don’t have many flaws, apart from cycling in the rain!”
Callum has seen great improvements in all the disciplines, as well as in his transitions, since joining GTC, but especially so in running.
He says: “It took few sessions for the coaches to identify problems and suggest improvements in my running – and how I could develop a better technique.
“I saw improvements quickly due to the fact it is probably the easiest sport for me to really exert myself and therefore allowing greater fitness to develop faster.
“I have really valued the incredible technique coaching from GTC.”
Callum’s racing career
Callum began his triathlon racing career in the Tristar 2 age category. He says: “The race distances were perfect for me at the time and I then went through Tristar 3, continuing to pursue the standard age distances.
“Now, since entering the youth category, I have finished two sprint distance triathlons, both of which I felt much more comfortable doing.
“I think that I am going to continue to move up distances as my stamina allows, because ultimately I want to pursue Ironman distance racing.
“For now, sprint distance is long enough for me although I do hope to complete a standard distance triathlon soon.”
Callum has revealed two achievements he is most proud of: Last year, he was selected for the Scottish Academy and, this year, he finished in the top 10 in the British ETU Sprint Qualifier.
He says: “The Scottish Academy was my focus in 2018 and I worked exceptionally hard and tapered long for the trial.
“This year, finishing eighth in the sprint qualifier was great but I was more pleased with finishing my first sprint triathlon and achieving my goal time, by the skin of my teeth, of 1:05:00.”
This season, Callum’s goals are to to re-qualify for the Academy Squad and “to achieve a peak fitness level so I am ready to try and qualify for the ETU sprint next year”.
He says: “Having one of my great friends attending the sprint championships this season has really spurred me on to go for it again next year – and to keep trying.”
When the raining or racing gets tough, Callum has his methods for coping. He says: “To be honest, tough training sessions are hard to come by because I enjoy the sport so much, but the occasional one, or a hard race, sometimes can be really demoralising.
“The thought of a goal, long or short-term, pushes me on though. I tend to think of things like Kona and the Super Series.
“Sometimes that still isn’t enough and that is when I turn to friendships. GTC has allowed me to make amazing friends, who I trust and get along with incredibly well. Having friends like that in training can really help.”
Callum is still young but he has set himself an impressive goal to make it to Ironman Kona. He says: “I think it is the most inspiring event to watch and I really look up to the pros who can achieve such unbelievable things.
“Watching the eight-hour barrier being broken has really inspired me to do the same, and really go for the top at Ironman level.
“Another thing I want to achieve in triathlon is to continue having fun. Always enjoying what you do is very important, and I don’t see point in pursuing something that is not your passion.”
Callum’s triathlon tips
Have friends and role models: Having friends will allow a social aspect to open up out with your training life, and it will mean you have friends you look forwards to seeing, as well as people who can encourage and support you.
Having role models is good also as it allows you to really see how it is done. Regardless of whether they are pro or just the fastest in the club, having someone that inspires you will spur you on.
Enjoy it: Having fun in the sport is important because it will keep you motivated and determined, otherwise you won’t give your all. Make sure you love what you are doing and find purpose.
Join GTC: GTC is such a friendly club and always doing the best thing for their members. It is not exclusive, meaning you can go to pretty much any training session and work it around your life.
People in the club are always there to give advice and offer guidance to beginners, which is very helpful if you don’t quite know what to do. There are so many sessions to attend, and so many coaches, allowing you to improve quickly and properly.