Interview to Denis Sketako, European Champion of Long Distance Triathlon

Interview to Denis Sketako, European Champion of Long Distance Triathlon

Denis Sketako (1988) was born in Hrastnik, a town located in the center of Slovenia and the birthplace of mining since the last century. Far from engaging in the charcoal business, this light-eyed blonde fully entered the world of basketball, setting him aside in 2009 to devote himself fully to triathlon. Last summer he touched the sky after being proclaimed European Champion of Long Distance Triathlon in Poznan and on May 20 will be one of the heads of the international poster of the Bilbao Triathlon.

How and why did you start in Triathlon?

In my job as a rescuer I swam a lot and I was thinking about running and cycling too. Therefore about triathlon! The Ironman word echoed in my head all the time. And in June 2011, I really heard it when I crossed the finish line in Klagenfurth with time 10h 22min. At the same time I become the FIRST ZASAVJE IRONMAN.
– What is your best skill? Bike, run, swim ..
From beginning  swimming was my  hardest discipline. In the past two years I improve very much in swimming.  I feel stronger on run.

In Bilbao, triathletes say that the most decisive part of the race is the bike because you have to climb a lot. Do you like to ride or climb more?

Where I live we have a lot of hills and most of training I do here. So I can say that I am better on climb.

– I see in your web page that you like basketball and music. What music do you listen to before you compete? Does it help you to concentrate?

Before triathlon I played basketball for 13 years. And sometimes I still play it with my friends. Yes, I like music very much and before competition I always listen my favourite playlist. This make me calm and focused. I prefer movie music, like Armageddon playlist.

– What is your calendar of competitions in 2017?

My first race will be end of April at Taiwan, then I come to Bilbao 🙂 After that I have race in Hungary, Slovakia,Finland,Canada, Netherlands and Italy. This is my plan but sometimes it change. I hope this season will be without injuries.

What has been your best day as a triathlete?

Absolutely 24th July when I win European championship. I was very proud standing on podium and listening Slovenian national anthem. This was the pay day 🙂 All years of training and efforts was rewarded.

Denis Sketako campeón de Europa
– What do you know about Bilbao?

I know your football team Athletic Bilbao 🙂

And I saw on photos that Bilbao is a very sunny and modern spanish city. I follow Bilbao triathlon from beginning and I hope to have time after race to see all artist beauty and taste local specialty.

– You are a Long Distance Specialist. How do you think you will get the Half distance in Bilbao?

You need to ask me after the race 🙂 On every race I do my best and I like half distance, mostly because in half is less swimming and I have more power for ride and run.

The swimming of Bilbao is done in a river in the middle of the city with cheering on both sides. Do you think it will be very different from doing it in the open sea?

In water I do not hear cheering, bad for me 🙂 But it helps every positive mind and word when you leaving water and you need to start running. This is the hardest part of race for me. I think is better that we swim in river because you have better orientation.

What makes you happiest in this sport?

Winning 🙂 With 3 discipline is every day different. I am happy to see my progress and how far I can go.

Denis Sketako - Bilbao Triathlon

Interview to Vickie Woodsfoord, TRIATHLETE, DENTIST AND BAKER

Interview to Vickie Woodsfoord, TRIATHLETE, DENTIST AND BAKER


This edition of the Bilbao Triathlon is going to increase its international participation and among all the triathletes that will meet on the starting line on May 20th, we shared a few minutes with Vickie Woodsford, a Welsh athlete, mother, dentist and pastry maker, who wastes optimism and sympathy. Vickie has gone from smoking several cigars a day to competing in mythical events such as the Alpe D’Huez triathlon or the Des Sables Marathon. Now she wants to become the finishers of the Bilbao test.

Why are you going to take part in the Bilbao Triathlon?

I was looking at Bilbao Triathlon as a possible race to open my season when I saw the competition come up to win entry.  It was already on my short list, so I thought I’d enter the competition and when I won, the decision was made!

What do you know about the Bilbao Triathlon?

I’ve never done a river swim before so that appealed to me. I didn’t really know much about the bike course, but the race logo makes me think I’ll need my climbing legs.  I live in Wales, all we have here is hills, there’s hardly any flat areas so I don’t worry too much about that.

I really loved the pictures of the run past the enormous spider, along the river.  That and the pictures of all the crowds on the bridge, over the swim, caught my interest.  I prefer to race at big events, I find the pressure of the occasion makes me work harder and race better. Also who doesn’t want to be cheered along the way?!

What do you know about Bilbao? What have they told you?

My other great love in life is food, which is why I have to do so much triathlon, to make sure I don’t end up the size of a cruise ship.  I know the Basque region is famed for its food and wine so I’m excited to combine a trip of racing and good eating, a winning combination.  We have a few really great Spanish restaurants where I live, we eat in them often,I love their food so it’ll be even better to try the real thing.

What are the most beautiful and important races you’ve run?

When you train, you need something to look forward to and racing in beautiful places motivates me a lot.  So far I’ve done a marathon from Everest Base Camp, the Sahara desert race, Marathon des Sables, the stunning Alpe D’Huez triathlon and of course, the most sensational, being Ironman Wales.  Renowned for being the toughest race on the Ironman circuit but also for its amazing crowd support and natural beauty.  There’s not a flat kilometre of that bike course or run course!

How did you start to play sports?

At school, I wasn’t into sports.  You could find me hiding at the bottom of the school fields smoking cigarettes instead. Through Captura de pantalla completa 03042017 125111University there was even less sport & even more smoking, junk food and wine. Fast forward to hitting 30, I was an unfit mother of one and still smoking.

A change had to be made, so on January 10th 2010, I smoked my last cigarette and trained for my first London Marathon.  I haven’t looked back.

My husband did the epic Norseman Triathlon in 2013 and it was there in the beautiful Norwegian Fjord that I squished myself into a borrowed wetsuit and went for a little swim.  Getting into my wetsuit is the worst bit of triathlon, does it ever get any easier?  I had learned to swim as a child but hadn’t done more than dip in a pool, to cool off on holidays, for 25 years.  I was hooked, entered my first 70.3 race and set about becoming a triathlete.

What do you like most about triathlon?

Triathlon is without exception the most friendly and inclusive thing I have ever been involved in.  I’ve made loads of new friends, I get outdoors to train & race in fabulous places, I’m the fittest I’ve ever been and I can eat loads more!

What is the best and worst of triathlon?

The worst is the wetsuits, ugh, I hate them.  No matter how fit you are, no one looks good in a wetsuit!  The best bit is everything after T1!  I’m a horrible swimmer, I survive in water more than race in it but after T1, the awesome starts!

You’re a mom. How do you train, work and be with the family?

In life you have to decide what’s important to you and triathlon is to me, so I make time.  I am lucky to only work 4 days a week and both my husband and son are super sporty so we all make time for each other to train.  Often it means getting up very early, which I hate, but it has to be done.  I still manage to spend a ridiculous amount of time watching rubbish on television, so I could probably be doing more!

You’re a dentist. Is it important a nice smile to get into the goal of an Ironman?

Fixing teeth buys bikes and ironman lets you escape from the stress of fixing teeth!  We all need a nice smile for the finish line photos, which reminds me – I’d better get my whitening done 😉

We have seen on Instagram that you make some delicious cakes. What is your specialty?

My Tri club call me the Cake Lady, I’m known for my chocolate brownies and tea cakes.  Indeed my cakes have become quite famous on the Welsh triathlon circuit, so much that they were stolen at Ironman Wales 2015 and eaten by a rival crew!  The guilt was obviously too much, a few weeks later they contacted me on Facebook to apologise.  The cake boxes are kept under close guard at races these days.

What would be the ideal cake for the Bilbao triathlon?

Well, I’m hoping the weather is going to be hot, so definitely nothing with chocolate!  Strangely, I don’t actually eat much cake so after a hot race what better than a cold Estrella and some salty pintxos? Thats my plan anyway.  I’ll bring along some brownies and you guys can test them for yourselves!

What are the benefits of sport in your normal life?

What’s not to love? I’m fitter, healthier and happier than I’ve ever been.  Also my jeans are a lot smaller 😉

Say hello to all participants of the Bilbao Triathlon 2017, please.

Hi to everyone racing or coming to support on May 20th.  I’m really looking forward to being there and hope for a great race too.


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Instituciones colaboradoras

Diputación Foral de BizkaiaAyuntamiento de Bilbao


Caja Rural El Corte Inglés

Vehículo oficial

Mercedes-Benz Aguinaga


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Federaciones involucradas

Euskadiko Triatloi FederazioaFETRI

Patrocinadores de la Federación Española de Triatlón - Campeonato de España de Triatlon MD 2020

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