Supporting Josie’s Ironman journey

Twenty-three-year-old Josie Smailes is a force to be reckoned with….not only does she compete internationally at 4* level in Eventing but is now taking on the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii in October.

Josie, who graduated in Biochemistry from Bristol University last year, approached Fortius Clinic for help towards her Ironman endeavours and we will be covering her coaching fees over the next nine months.

She said: “I thought that Fortius would be the ideal partner in terms of its care of elite athletes and injury prevention management. My first experience of Fortius was when I was 16 years old and was diagnosed with Osgood-Schlatter disease in my knee. At the time I was training with the England Academy for lacrosse as well as competing in modern pentathlon, both of which I had to compromise to manage my symptoms. The Fortius consultant I saw was phenomenal and enabled me to make a full return to competitive sport. I have subsequently worn orthotics in my training shoes and ensured that the recommended prehab exercises are incorporated into my regular strength and conditioning work. I have since also experienced two nasty ankle injuries, for which I saw James Calder who is an outstanding Foot and Ankle Surgeon at Fortius.”

Josie started doing triathlon training during lockdown and raced her first Ironman in Barcelona in October 2022. Josie came third in her age category having completed a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile run. She deferred her start date for her new job at Boston Consulting Group until November 2023 so that she can train properly for the World Championships.

At the peak of her Ironman training Josie completes 5-6 hours of training five days a week. A typical week involves three runs of between 10-15km, three bike sessions totalling approximately 200 km and two swim sessions. Over the winter months she is doing longer, lower impact sessions and will gradually increase the volume and intensity of her training until about six weeks before the competition, at which time she will begin a taper period.

Until recently Josie was learning Ironman techniques from books and videos. She now has a cycling coach and a professional athlete as a mentor.  Josie will be competing in the under 25s age category at the World Championships against a field of around 50.

She said: “I would love to finish in the top 10. I completed the course in 12 hours 48 minutes in Barcelona so if I could take an hour off my time, I would be one of the top 10 U25 Ironman competitors in the world. It would also be really special as I’m doing this in memory of my friend Allegra and for her charity Allegra’s Ambition. Allegra and I did a lot of sport together at school and we had always eyed up the seemingly impossible Ironman challenge.”

Look out for updates on Josie’s journey to the World Championships on our social channels.


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