2 years ago we heard that we would be hosting the Ironman 70.3 World Championship. This meant that all of a sudden triathlon in South African became a much more competitive sport than it was already. (As if we needed something to make us more competitive.)
With the goal in mind of aiming to qualify and represent the country in PE the hard graft started. It didn’t quite go to plan for me but that’s normal I guess when you chasing a goal that big. I started my 2018 year racing in East London and hoping to grab a slot early in the year to get it out the way. Well that didn’t happen I missed it by 3 places. So back to the drawing board and off to Durban we went in June. This was the last opportunity for me to have any chance of racing in PE in September. The race went better but there were some rockets racing in the 18-24 age group. Slot time came and eventually got to my age group and we only had a small handful of slots allocated being a smaller age group. This meant that even though I had a much better race I missed the chance by 1 position.
It wasn’t the end of the road for me though. I decided I would now train with the guys going to worlds and race at Cape Ultra the week after worlds to keep me focused in winter. Watching your mates all racing on TV and via the athlete tracker is no fun at all. This meant that the goal now shifted to going for the 2019 70.3 World Champs. East London was the target once again. Yes it’s not the best place to race but it’s a course I don’t mind. Except for when there is a cross wind on the way home that makes the route home even harder!! In the week leading up to the race some training buddies were circulating weather reports from the Tuesday of race week showing crazy winds ... those people were banished from WhatsApp till Friday for their rookie errors. The race plan was locked and loaded all that was left to do was go out and produce the goods on the day. The race went almost according to the book but differed in parts. 2019 East London and 2018 East London were two very different races. 2019 being a much better for me. I was able to contend for a podium position and not just a top 5 this time. I head towards the finish with Gareth Price and Claire Horner’s voices in my head telling me I needed to MOVE ITTT!!!! (That word has 8 letters) I attempted to up the pace as much as possible to the red carpet that seemed to have moved much further down from where I remembered seeing it on the first lap!! Crossing the finish line I had no idea if I had done enough to make podium or a slot. Only a few hours later did I find out that MOVE ITTT!!! Was code for you can still make the podium. Anyway, later that afternoon I decided to check the splits of the age group and found out that those 8 letters equated to a second each which separated me from being on the podium and not being on the podium. Next time Gareth you need to give me a bit more warning to move it and not in the last kilometer. It was taken easier by the fact that I was able to qualify for the 70.3 World Championship in Nice, France. Finally I reached the goal even if it was a year later down the line. It was definitely worth waiting for.