Athlete(s) of the Month, February 2017 – Philippe and Segolene Kretz
Athlete of the Month
As we wrap up this month of love, we thought it fitting to turn the spotlight on this amazing power couple because not only do they love triathlon, but they love their family, and they’ve figured out a way to make it work for everyone in conjunction with managing impressive careers! Coach Brad shared their nomination because they have been able to balance the enormous pressure of raising three children, managing demanding careers and pursuing the sport they both love (all in a new country they now consider home). You’ll get some great inspiration about training with a partner, your family and more. Congratulations to Philippe and Segolene Kretz!
Plus, we’ve learned that Segolene is one of the Top-Ranked Female athletes in the 70.3 distance and has been invited as one of only 200 women who will race as part of the Women For Tri initiative at the 70.3 World Championships.
Enjoy their Q&A below:
1. You live in Hong Kong, but you are not from Hong Kong. Please share how/why you are in China.
We came in China for various reasons:
a) work of course, Philippe is Co-CEO of Swiss China Capital, a wealth management company having offices in Hong Kong, China ( Shenzhen, Chengdu and Chongqing) and Geneva in Switzerland. The company is expanding fast and Philippe is traveling very often to different cities in China and Switzerland of course.
b) it goes well with our adventurous mindset, we like new challenges, to discover different countries and culture. Hong Kong is a fantastic location to travel all around China and South east Asia. We are Swiss but spent most of our post uni life abroad (London, South-East Asia), we want our kids to be open minded, open to culture, learn the language, they actually speak and write in Chinese, English and French.
2. How did it come to be that you both like racing and training triathlon?
We started running together in Geneva (Switzerland) a few times a week and when we moved to Singapore in 2005, we continued running 10k, then Sprint, then Olympic, which were very popular in Asia. Since the beginning we have always trained together, it came naturally, we both share the spirit of sport balancing our lives, the freedom of training/running. We like the feeling of effort, pushing ourselves together and then enjoying a good movie with popcorn together. We have always been planning our race calendar together, choosing the same races because we enjoy going to the event together, we wish ourselves good luck before the start and can’t wait to see each other at the end to check how it went. We always try to adjust our schedule and go training together, sharing a run, a swim or a bike. We love discussing our mutual races experiences, dreaming together of our next goals like Hawaii!
3. How has it complimented your relationship?
It has become an essential part of our life: training together, sharing goals, eating healthy and going early to bed. This whole training, organization, and commitment to triathlon and Ironman 70.3 make us stronger and closer. We balance our life in the same direction, we share a passion and it allows us to spend more time together.
4. Being a married couple with kids, and balancing your separate training time can get tricky. What are a few strategies you’ve learned that might help others in a similar situation?
Do it when you can: if you have a slot in the day where you have 1-2 hours available and you feel energetic, go for it/don’t waste it, time is scarce and precious; do it early in the day (it will be tough at 8 pm); find time to combine sport and kids (example: going to the beach on Sunday afternoon and one play with the kids, the other one puts the wetsuit on and goes for 45 min. open water swim) or when the baby has his nap, I always do one training like a gym or indoor bike. No miracle: have a schedule and stick to it: 3 kids, tough job, aiming for 12 hours of training, spending time with family, this needs organization. But it is definitely worth it, not doubt about it.
5. What is it like training in Hong Kong? Air quality, humidity, safety, nutrition choices?
A bit tricky: sea water can be dirty, the bike can only be done in one place (30 min. drive from home) otherwise the roads are in really bad condition, damaged and it’s not safe. The air can be polluted so lot of indoor training, nutrition you go for organic western food, no Chinese. So yes not always easy but again once you’re used to it and make the right choice it becomes a habit and not too much of a hurdle. We love our city, Hong Kong is like home to us now, so we don’t see all these little troubles like a big deal! In Hong Kong, we can run on beautiful trails in a very wild nature which is sublime with fantastic sceneries or by the sea, and we can swim in the sea almost all year round.
6. We understand you have raced 70.3 races (and have Subic Bay in the Philippines coming up). Why do you like this distance? Which is your favorite? How do you manage traveling and racing with your family?
70.3 is is an adventure, a real challenge, but it is manageable in terms of training. IM is, of course, a dream but training is heavy in terms of volume. Philippe did it once 2 years a go, a dream of an experience, he would love to repeat it soon and I would love to participate in a full Ironman but with a 2-year-old boy, it’s still too early. Maybe later when he goes to school and I have more time to train. 70.3 is much more accommodating to our lifestyle.
Sometimes we take the kids (easier in Asia, you have help at home, service is super accommodating, so we take them with us for short trips from time to time but the younger is 2 years old so it can be a challenge sometimes, especially with the lack of sleep and all the attention children request. Sometimes we only go the 2 of us like for Subic Bay coming March, enjoying 2-3 days of peace, resting.
Congratulations to Philippe and Segolene. Their commitment to each other in their passionate pursuit of triathlon is exemplary!