Interesting Stories

“Work hard and believe in yourself”

Drinking and eating unhealthily and a motorcycle crash that dislocated his right collarbone…

Find out how Mat Lesavre overcame his challenges and went from a beginner triathlete to an IRONMAN finisher within a year.

How did he manage? What does it take?

Athlete profile:


1. Congratulations on finishing Ironman Busselton! When and where did your triathlon journey start?

Many thanks!

It feels like a lot went on since I started triathlon, but my very first steps into this amazing sport only date back from a year ago, in January 2018.

I started my triathlon journey when I decided to be serious at training and join a Coaching team in Singapore.

My first race was actually the Aquathlon (MetaSprint Series) in Singapore in February 2018.

2. What motivated you to try your hand at triathlon?

I have always been the ‘sporty kid’ at home, trying on different things while growing up, until I fell in love with handball.

Unfortunately, a frequent pain in the right knee forced me to quit playing in 2007.

From then onwards, sport became less of a priority and I became a lot better at drinking and eating unhealthy things. That’s how I started to gain a lot of weight, until reaching a peak at 87 kgs back in 2009 – 13 kgs above my current weight!

During the summer of 2017, I have had a motorcycle crash while racing on a circuit in France and I dislocated my right collarbone.

I subsequently had to go into a physio rehab in Singapore. My physio took that chance to have a look at my knee, and she successfully helped me to get back into running, in September 2017.

For many years, I had thought that the day I’d be able to run again, I would start training and racing triathlons, knowing that I had always enjoyed swimming, biking and running.

I guess that at this point of time in my life, the timing was ideal to choose a healthier way of living and triathlon was a perfect answer.

4. From Sprint Distance to Ironman within a year is a big leap. How did you manage to build your endurance level? What were the biggest challenges?

My coach, built a tailor-made program based on my racing objectives, while consistently adapting it according to my feedbacks.

We started building the basics in each of the 3 disciplines from the beginning, and quickly increased both the volume and the intensity, in order to elevate my performances and get ready for each race planned in 2018.

The biggest challenge for me was to be able to find a good balance between my Family, my work and the training! At its peak, my training weeks can average 12 hours, which is pretty common for age groupers triathletes. With all those long hours of training I really needed to rethink my time in order to leave sufficient space for my family, knowing that our second child was born in September 2018. I couldn’t properly reply to this question without mentioning my wife, Anna: I could have never achieved all of this without her unlimited support and her understanding throughout the year.

3. Did you have any swimming, cycling or running experience prior to starting triathlon?

I have joined local swimming clubs in France from 6 to 9 but never became addicted to it. It just gave me the basis. With the pain in my knee, I kept swimming from times to times without improving at all, just as an excuse to exercise and remain “fit”.

Biking, however, has always been in my blood and a lot of fun to me. As a kid growing up in the countryside of France, having a bicycle was mandatory if you wanted to be mobile. We started cycling very young in the family, and used to go for rides with my parents, my sister and my brother. However, it took me a few more years before jumping on my first road bike that I got in March 2016 in Singapore.

As for running, I have discovered it pretty late. I had never considered it as an interesting sport. With all the weight that I had gained, I wanted to start running in 2011, but my knee prevented me from practicing much and I had to stop between 2011 and 2016, until I dislocated my collarbone.

5. How did the MetaSprint Series, Bintan Triathlon and Ironman 70.3 Bintan prepare you for your Ironman? What were the big learnings?

Every tiny detail of my short experience really counted to get me prepared for my 1st Ironman: from getting my equipment ready and thinking about my hydration/nutrition strategy, to knowing how to deal with a transition and manage the effort on race day.

I obviously discovered all of that through my participation at the 3 MetaSport events that you mentioned.

When lining up at my first IRONMAN, I didn’t have any point of comparison, such as timing, effort & perceived exertion, etc. and while it can be seen as a drawback, I actually used it as an opportunity not to set myself some barriers or limits.

I’d say that despite the fact that having experience from previous races is a great asset to have, one takeaway is that each race is different for so many factors that we can’t control, and hence it’s a strength being able to be flexible and improvise.

It is also important to mention that when things are perfectly done from the race organizers perspective, we, as athlete, can fully focus on executing the best on race day. Which was the case with all 3 MetaSport events!

6. You achieved your goal of completing an Ironman. What is next?

To be honest, completing an Ironman wasn’t part of my first season’s goal at all (not even signing-up for a 70.3!).

My coach believes in “doing crazy and unplanned stuff from times to times” and my first Ironman was exactly that! I actually registered 2 weeks before the start.

With such a rich first season setting up the basis, my goals now is to get better at 70.3, focus on the IM 70.3 Worlds and improve my timing on Ironman distance!

7. Any final advise to anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?

All of this might sound cliché (and it would have to me if someone told me the same about a year ago), but my advice would be: get a coach, work hard, believe in yourself (both physically and mentally) and be a bit crazy!


Be the first to know.

Join our mailing list to receive the latest event news, updates and more.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

close icon MetaMiles Account