Ashley Clifford
Sports - 04/02/2014

ECCO Ambassador Ashley Clifford – 2013 Catch-Up

At the start of the 2013 season, her first as a pro, Ashley’s goal was to earn enough points to qualify for the Ironman World Championship – and she did just that. Ranked among the top-30 in the world, and ready to compete against the best, the 26-year-old traveled across the Pacific to Kona, Hawaii. After finishing a respectable 23rd overall, the competitive fire was still burning – there was more to prove.

While many athletes take a break after the championship, Ashley packed her ECCO BIOM EVO RACER shoes and lined up at Ironman Florida. It was a dream weekend, the stars aligned and each piece of the triathlon puzzle came together. She finished second against a tough field with a time of 8:49:03, shattering her personal best and breaking nine hours for the first time.

We caught up with Ashley and asked her to reflect on this breakout season.

1. What has been the highlight of 2013?  
Florida Ironman, for sure! I not only placed 2nd overall but I dipped under the course record and set a huge personal best. I was a little disappointed after Kona; my performance didn’t reflect the kind of shape I was in. I knew I was ready for a top-20 finish but the pieces just didn’t come together. After speaking with my coach, we decided to change the race strategy for Florida and just stay focused throughout the entire race.

I have to say I surprised myself! My coach wasn’t surprised with the finish, but I was! It was so exciting and such a fun way to cap of an already incredible year of experiences.
2. Since going professional have you had to change your lifestyle? Have there been any sacrifices you have had to make?  
I’ve always been active and athletic, so in that sense I haven’t made any changes. But since going professional there has been a transition to thinking about training as my job. There is a lot more discipline, focus and hard work than simply competing for fun. But I also love every minute of my training. It’s such a social sport so I don’t feel like I’m sacrificing on that front.  
3. You have been competing in BIOM EVO RACER, how has this affected your running?  
I love the BIOM EVO RACER. It’s lightweight and I really believe it’s helped my form improve and allowed me to become a better athlete.
4. What is it about triathlon (and the Ironman) that sees you going back for more?
It’s so challenging. I love being able to push myself to the limit during the Ironman – you really learn about yourself when you do that. And it’s such a fun lifestyle, the people who are involved with the sport are so great and it makes traveling to races enjoyable.
5. What are your hopes for 2014?  
I want to be on the podium at the 2014 Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii!