Wales

Non Stanford: Who's who in Olympic triathlete's team

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Media captionNon Stanford's support team

How many people does it take to make a triathlete?

It might sound like the start of a joke, but Bridgend-born triathlete Non Stanford, who hopes to win a medal at the Rio Olympics, believes her support team are vital.

"Any medal is not an individual victory, it is definitely a team medal," said Stanford, 27.

Among them is a dietician, physiologist, doctor, running partner, coaches, and logistical support.

The former world triathlon champion said: "I cannot stress how important my support team are. You are the person who has to go out and deliver the performance, but there is a whole team behind you that make it happen, from coaching and cooking to being there and being great friends.

"The hard work of a lot of people is transferred into my performance on the day."

Image caption Training group Rhys Davey, Heather Sellars, Jess Learmonth, Non, Vicky Holland and Calum Johnson in San Moritz

Stanford, who was born in Bridgend, lived in Swansea and went to university in Birmingham. She was World Triathlon champion in 2013, is now based in Leeds as part of British Triathlon squad, including the Brownlee brothers.

She said: "I am very fortunate that all the people I work with are not just staff, they are very good friends and the atmosphere is great."

But who are the 20 people working behind the scenes to get Stanford to the start line?

Image caption Non and her training partners' luggage, waiting to return home after their four-week altitude camp

The logistics - getting her there on the day

Behind the scenes Stanford needs to be entered into races, have accommodation and transport booked, and have everything put in place to ensure she is safe at competitions.

Performance director of British Triathlon Brendan Purcell looks after everything related to competitions.

"A lot of things go on behind the scenes that we don't know about which he takes care of," said Stanford. "He was involved in organising, planning and putting in place important aspects of our build up and time in Rio; he has to do a lot of the things we don't even know about."

The logistics of getting Stanford and her kit there on the day falls to Laura Macey.

"We call Laura the 'Loracle' because she absolutely does everything for us," said Stanford. "From booking all our flights and accommodation, to organising our camps, getting our kit to where it needs to be, to knowing about our races.

"She is the busiest lady I know."

Image caption Non and running coach Malcolm Brown after a track session in St Moritz

Running, swimming and cycling - working on technique

Stanford's team of coaches work on different areas of the triathlon.

Giving Stanford tips on the running track is Malcolm Brown, who has been involved with the Brownlee brothers from an early age.

"Malcolm is the calming voice in the setup," said Stanford. "He knows what to say, and if he says something that is what goes. He is great to have around. His expertise in running is evident.

Jack Maitland focuses on the swimming programme, while head coach Ben Bright takes more of an overview.

"Ben oversees all my training," said Stanford. "He makes sure it is all fitting together. His opinion is very important to me. He is someone I feel very fortunate to have on my coaching team. He has helped me to come that extra step in the last couple of years."

Team coach Glenn Cook will also be in Rio.

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Image caption Stanford in the transition area when she won the World Triathalon at Hyde Park in 2013

Kit and management - keeping her on the road

Making sure Stanford has all the kit she needs is agent Richard Downey, who liaises with her sponsors.

"Richard makes sure I have everything I need from running suits to bikes," said Stanford. "When it comes to race day and training he works with my sponsors to make sure I have all the kit.

"He also deals with the media and that side of things.

"He makes my life very easy in many regards and is more than just my agent too."

Keeping Stanford on the road in the cycling section of the triathlon is bike mechanic Glenn Coltman.

"Glenn travels to all the major races with us," said Stanford. "He looks after all our bikes. He is very good about helping out around races and camps too.

"He is great to have around at races. Sometimes I like to just go and sit in the bike room with him as he is a good person to talk to and is very funny."

Image caption Team dinner (from bottom left going clockwise) nutritionist Lucy Wainright, Heather Sellars, Jess Learmonth, Rhys Davey, Vicky Holland, physiologist Andy Shaw and Calum Johnson

Wellbeing - keeping her fuelled and ready for anything

With the temperature in Rio ranging from 14C to 35C, triathletes have had to prepare for the heat as well as training to race at altitude.

"Andy set up altitude tents for us at home which we used before going to the altitude camp in San Mortiz," said Stanford. "He has also coordinated our heat acclimatisation ahead of Rio.

"We have been running in a lot of layers and he changed one of the bathrooms at our training camp in San Moritz into a heat chamber by putting the shower on to create steam and put the heaters on.

"We then did sessions on bikes in there."

Stanford's food intake is carefully monitored by her dietician, who cooks for her with a team of nutritionists when on training camps.

She said: "With Lucy cooking for us we know we are getting the appropriate fuel and having this is so important when you are training for 35 hours a week."

Image caption Stanford, physio Emma Deakin, performance director Brendan Purcell, strength and conditioning coach Ian Pyper, team coach Glenn Cooke

The body - preventing injury

Stanford's personal physiotherapist Alison Rose was recommended by Kelly Holmes, who was her mentor, and worked with her in the build up to the Olympics in Athens 2004.

"Alison has also worked with Jessica Ennis," said Stanford. "She is one of the most experienced and dedicated physiotherapists I know. I am very fortunate to have her as part of the team."

She also works alongside Emma Deakin, head physiotherapist at British Triathlon, who she sees every week.

Stanford has a massage from sports masseur Ian Mitchell once a week, while strength and conditioning coach Ian "Pypes" Pyper focuses on her core strength.

Image caption At the running track with running partner Calum Johnson

She said: "'Pypes' does a lot of data collection, and monitors all our training, reporting back to us."

Dr James Brown works alongside the physiotherapists and coaches to ensure Stanford is fighting fit.

"I was badly injured in 2014 and he was a key player in getting me back running," said the triathlete.

Image caption Training partners Heather Sellars, Non, Vicky Holland and Rhys Davey

Training partners and morale boosts

Helping Stanford better her times on the track has been accountancy student Calum Johnson.

"He is very good with me and picks me up on the running track, and acts as my Mr Motivator when it is tough," said Stanford.

She also trains with fellow Olympic triathlete Vicky Holland and her boyfriend Rhys Davey, who are her housemates.

"We have great fun training and living together," said Stanford. "I also train with Jess Learmonth who is an absolute demon on the bike, she puts me through my paces every week in the bike sessions. Her attitude and approach to training inspires me on a daily basis.

"Heather Sellars is my best friend, and is fantastic at keeping morale up in the group and making everybody laugh. Everyone is happy and enjoys themselves, which is very important."

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