Raf Baugh a professional duathlete from Austrialia. He is currently ranked 5th overall in the ITU World Rankings. Jason Digman recently caught up with Raf (Radar) from his home in Australia for this interview. More information about Raf can be found at his website, http://www.rafaelbaugh.com/
Duathlon.com: Tell us a bit about your sporting background. How did you get involved in duathlon?
Raf Baugh: As a youngster I played the Aussie Sports of football in the winter and cricket in the summer. I also had a big family (3 brothers and 1 sister) who were all into sport so it was really a way of life to be fit growing up. Around 16 years of age, I started to run at school and got into that at a serious recreational level in my home state. Around 4 years ago the ITU World Duathlon Championships came to Newcastle, I started training for that and then like any great love story I was hooked!
Duathlon.com: What do you like most about duathlon?
Raf Baugh: I just love running and cycling. The blending of them in the duathlon format is a fantastic, physically challenging combination. Every day of training and racing I rest assured that I haven’t yet come across anything I would rather be doing.
Duathlon.com: Any ideas you’d like to share about making duathlon more popular or improving the sport?
Raf Baugh: I often ponder this one so here goes…..
I think a passionate and marketing savvy Duathlon governing body could combine some of the biggest races in the world into one global Duathlon series. There are so many brilliant events around the world which are run largely due to the hard work and efforts of local organisers. If those organisers had marketing, promotion and media support at a global level then the sport could really prosper.
For instance, the ITU World Championships had 1200 participants (Italy), the Gernika Duathlon (Spain) sold out months before the event, Zofingen Intervall Duathlon (Swiss) is famous and has an iconic old town location, the Apple Duathlon and Desert Classic seem very well supported in the USA. Powerman events in Austria, Zofingen and Malaysia are hugely popular and France has a huge Grand Prix Circuit of 5 races which already attract excellent participation and almost all the world’s best duathletes. They are just a few examples I am aware of and the list could be made much longer I am sure.
I think those races show that the problem is not in individual events or numbers. I feel that a way forward could be having a passionate Duathlon governing body which co-ordinates and markets a series of marquee events and then distributes media and promotional information efficiently to people interested in our great sport.
Duathlon.com: What is the highlight to your 2008 season?
Raf Baugh: 2008 highlight was finishing with the World Ranking at #5. My wife Lianne and I had our first son Sebastian in December, 2007 so it was a tough year juggling family, work and training. I was very close to the mark in all my races while only being able to train at 75-80% of the volume I would have liked. I was satisfied with the consistency and next year I am looking to really try to win some big races.
Duathlon.com: Tell us a bit about your sponsorships
Raf Baugh: I am very fortunate to be racing in 2009 for the most famous French Duathlon club MULHOUSE OLYMPIQUE www.mulhouse-triathlon.com The team is directed by Mr Patrick Sanchez and features amongst others Joerie Vansteelant (BEL,2*WC), Sergio Silva (POR), Kris Coddens (BEL), Sergey Yakovlev (RUS) and Roger Roca (ESP). We will race within France in the famous and super competitive “French Grand Prix” and team time trial “Coupe de France”. Like many duathletes, Mulhouse and the French Grand Prix circuit is my biggest financial support.
In 2009, I will also recieve fantastic support from Cesar Ramos and the Urdaitri team in Gernika, Spain where my family will be based for the racing season and from the famous Wildcats team for races in the Swiss Duathlon Cup.
In Australia, I have some financial support from Dukk Consulting and RFID Timing plus alot of great product support from Cyclemania, Asics Oceania, Ryders Eyewear, Carboshotz and Powerplay Sports.
Duathlon.com: What is the most important thing about training you’ve learned in your career as an athlete?
Raf Baugh: If it was easy to become and champion, everyone would become a champion! Training needs to be consistent, specific and well periodised. It is very much the Australian way to train year round and we are lucky to have a climate which allows for good training 95% of the year.
Duathlon.com: Do have a coach, other than yourself? Why?
Raf Baugh: Now I am tending to do my own thing but I am always keen to learn new things. A few years ago, I got some excellent advice from Nic Bideau (running Coach of Craig Mottram) and a British Pro Cyclist, Daniel Lloyd. I really benefited from their support and expertise.
Duathlon.com: What do you like to do when you’re not running and riding?
Raf Baugh: I love spending time with my family relaxing. Primarily at coffee shops but more recently teaching Sebastian to swim! I also enjoy my work as a physiotherapist and coaching some really motivated athletes as well.
Duathlon.com: Anything else you’d like to share with duathlon.com readers?
Raf Baugh: Thanks for their time and look forward to catching up at the 2009 ITU Worlds in North Carolina!
Jason Digman is the coach of Dig It Triathlon and Multisport. He works with athletes of all levels, from professionals to first timers.