As Claire Hann would admit herself, the career path from biochemistry degree to chartered accountant to professional triathlete isn’t one which is well travelled.
It was a career progression which Hann says she is very proud of, having turned away from a stable office job and a financially sensible career in search of her true passion.
The move paid off in stunning fashion in 2019 when she claimed her first IRONMAN 70.3 victory in Jonkoping, seeing off defending champion and Olympic medallist Lisa Norden in the process.
70.3 events in Gydnia (fourth), Weymouth (runner-up) and Bahrain (third) following that breakthrough performance in Sweden in 2019 proved her ability, and are the reason she jumped into the PTO World Rankings.
Claire only started competing in triathlons in her late twenties but had some experience as a national-level swimmer in her youth. Growing up, she looked up to the all-time swimming greats including the likes of Ian Thorpe.
Hann then started running at university but at that point didn’t even own a bike, only learning how to ride in her mid-twenties. Success soon followed, and although it took a while to adapt to the professional circuit, Hann was rewarded with that success in Jonkoping.
As a former swimmer, the water is her favourite triathlon discipline but she admits to also loving the simplicity of running.
When speaking about the move from the desk to the triathlon course, Hann said: “I have the rest of my life to sit behind a desk, but I only have a limited window to be the best athlete that I can be.
“I am proud that I followed my passion to see what I could achieve as a professional triathlete rather than potentially looking back in 20 years and thinking 'what if?'”
And if she had one piece of racing advice to give to prospective triathletes, it would be to focus on the process and not the outcome.
“My coach has helped me immensely with respect to dealing with my anxiety, especially pre-race. You can’t control how your competitors perform, just as you can’t influence the weather. But you can try to control the controllables, and for me that means creating a race plan focused on my performance.”