Friday, January 11, 2019

Legend Has It: Interview with Andrew Hall

Andrew Hall is a local legend, and almost undoubtedly our state's fastest triathlete at the Ironman 70.3 distance. Among other things, here he talks about his 2018 season, local rivalries, and the decision of whether or not to go pro.

Thanks for the time, Andrew!

Standard question – what’s your athletic background and how did you get into triathlon?

I grew up spending a lot of time at the pool and swam competitively in middle school and high school. After high school, I got into extreme sports which introduced me to mountain biking. Finally, I ran to stay in shape to look good for the ladies in my single days. So I figured I could put all three together and try a triathlon.

Where are you from originally, and what/when brought you to Utah?

I'm originally from Detroit - 14 mile, not 8 mile. I moved to Utah for snowboarding but also enrolled at Utah State so my parents would be on board with the move. I fell in love with the outdoors.

On the local scene in 2018 you easily won the Utah Lake Olympic, took 3rd at Daybreak behind Nick [Dorsett] and Jorge [De Amorim Filho], and had a great Xterra championships race. What other racing did you do out of state, and what do you feel was your best performance?

I had some great races this year. I competed in my first Xterra at Rocky Mountain Regionals in Beaver Creek, CO, placing first in my age group. Next, I went to US Nationals in Cleveland and raced the Olympic and Sprint races, placing fourth and first, respectively. My highlight of the year was the Arizona 70.3. It was the only 70.3 I did this year and I earned a spot at the 2019 world championship in Nice, France.

Nick Dorsett

What are your race plans and/or goals for 2019? Is Kona ultimately a goal, or not really?

My main focus for 2019 is the 70.3 world championship in Nice, France. I’ve been waiting for this race since it was announced. I think the tough bike course will suit me and it’s a stunning location. Kona seems like a special place and I would like to experience it, but it’s not my top priority right now.

dude lookin at Andrew like "who is this cat??"

You’ve historically been a terror at local sprint and olympic distance races, yet lately you’ve been dominating 70.3’s as well. What do you feel is your best distance? Could it be Ironman?

I really like the short distance racing, but I think I have more potential in the long course racing. Generally, the harder the bike course and the longer the run, the better I perform. I think I would do well at the full Ironman distance, but it's a more complicated race with demanding nutrition requirements and risk of overuse injury in training. I think those would be my greatest challenges at the full distance.

How many times now have you been 1st age grouper overall at a 70.3? You certainly are fast enough to join the professional ranks if you wanted to… there are pros and cons to leaving the amateur ranks, but have you given it much thought?

I believe I’ve placed first overall amateur in four 70.3 races, but Ironman doesn’t really celebrate that accomplishment in the US. I decided to stay in the amateurs as I like the aspect of balancing a normal life and an obsession. Also, with some self-reflection and listening to my body, I knew trying to make that jump to being a top pro would be a stretch and not a healthy endeavor for me.

How has the local scene (SLTC, etc) helped with your development in the sport? Also, do you have a formal coach or self-coached?

The local scene has a lot of talented and dedicated athletes which motivates and pushes me for races. I was really fortunate to meet Rory Duckworth and learn about SLTC. I have made great friends and training buddies. I have advisers and have worked with Matt Bachman the last two years to help set up training plans. I read an article he wrote in Triathlete Magazine and recognized I had many of the same challenges that he had experienced, so I turned to him for guidance.

What’s your podium for top 3 favorite local races and why?

  • 3rd Daybreak - It brings out the kid in me. The venue makes you feel like you are playing sports in your neighborhood.
  • 2nd IronCowboy Utah’s Toughest- This course includes some of the most outstanding locations Utah has to offer. When I’m training, I’m always thinking more local races should take advantage of Utah’s unique landscape.
  • 1st Ironman St. George 70.3 world class event and snow canyon.

At each distance, who gives you the biggest run for your money on the local scene? Do you have any friendly rivalries?

The local scene has so much talent! I have never beat Jorge or Nick at an Olympic race. I love competing against them and it’s more fun to race when you know you have good competition. When I do a 70.3 with Rory it’s always a competition in the bike and I try hard not to let him catch me. Jacob Barnes just missed Kona last year; I believe he will qualify this year. He has the potential to beat me at the 70.3 distance.

Jorge can be elusive


Below are links to all the races in the 2019 Championship Series:

Below are links to all Challenger Races:

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