In 2012 I watched the Brownlee brothers on the telly come 1st and 3rd at the London Olympics and knew nothing about Triathlons; I wasn’t running and I couldn’t swim. In fact I was doing no sport – little would I know that 10 years later I would be at the start line for the 2022 World Sprint Triathlon Championships in Montreal representing GB in my AG and for sure a very proud and emotional achievement.

In 2012 I watched the Brownlee brothers on the telly come 1st and 3rd at the London Olympics and knew nothing about Triathlons; I wasn’t running and I couldn’t swim. In fact I was doing no sport – little would I know that 10 years later I would be at the start line for the 2022 World Sprint Triathlon Championships in Montreal representing GB in my AG and for sure a very proud and emotional achievement.

When I first started my journey I aimed to do a local Triathlon. Of course seeing the Brownlee’s that day inspired me and Ii always had a dream at the back of my mind of representing GB. I knew that was impossible as I couldn’t swim, wasn’t running and only cycled a bike now and again when I was a child. But it all started that summer at the age of 29 years old; I wont go into any more how I started, injuries etc as I have written blogs about my journey in the past.

In 2019 I decided what ever happened in Aquathlon’s I would start to train back on the bike and see if could get into the Age Group Team. Cycling is by far my weakest of the three; anyway in 2021 I qualified for the 2022 World Sprint Triathlon Championships in Montreal and my dream came true and also the first ever World Mixed Relay Championships. I wasn’t aiming for a World Championship place, I went to the qualifiers for practice for my first Triathlon European Championships as I knew there would be a high standard of athletes racing at these races, so this would test me.

Training had gone really well over the past 6 months. I started training for this in January after down time at the end of the 2021 season.

I arrived in Montreal very excited and knowing that a dream goal will be ticked off. I knew I was most probably in the best shape of my life. Swimming was nearly back to my best, cycling better than ever and my running was also faster. I have to give a big thank you to my coaches Craig Coggle, John Wood, Carolyn Bond and a massive thank you to Mark Shepherd who organises my training.

I wanted to keep a low profile and despite not sleeping well once I arrived, maybe from traveling and being nervous, I relaxed in the hotel the few days I was there before the race days. I registered a few days before the race as I like getting that out the way.

I had to rack my bike up the day before which I think I prefer; not done that before. Race day for the sprint arrived; I managed to get a good night sleep for once. My race wasn’t until mid morning so I had plenty of time, but I am always an early riser. So I delayed breakfast as there was no need for me to rush down way to early and it was already very warm so I wanted to stay out of the heat and keep everything to the same as I would normally do for a race.

I then headed to transition, making sure I was hydrated all the time as the tempeture was creeping towards 30 degrees. I found out it was a wetsuit swim and the race was going to be a Triathlon. The night before they were not sure if it would be a Duathlon due to bad weather and the water qulitily. I just waited until race day as there is no point worrying over something I cannot control. Of course I came to do a Triathlon not a Duathlon but any way the water was safe so it was a Triathlon.

The time came for my AG to get down to the Pontoon and the horn went and off I went. I felt like I had a really good swim and I came out near the front in the swim.

Unfortunately with the long transition I couldn’t get to the main pack on the bike as I came out transition a few seconds slower than them. So I hammed the bike hard and got into another pack which were catching them for lap one and then they went into transition as they were in a different AG and therefore I was out on my own for the 2nd lap. I gave it everything on the bike I could, but was starting to struggle in the heat as I lost my water bottle after 1 mile in so had no water at all.

The heat was tough and when I got on the run I couldn’t push on, normally I feel good on the run but my legs didn’t want to move maybe perhaps because of I gave it everything on the bike. I tried to get faster on the run but I was so hot – I reached out to drink water from the water station which I don’t normally take water on the run. The guy in 5th who is my friend came out from the swim with me but he got in that cycling pack. Only 40 seconds between me and him so very close. If I had stayed with them I would of been so close to a medal. Really pleased though, as I struggled on the run because of pushing the bike and not being able to drink water and was very thirsty in the heat. If I made the pack it would of been a different story, but still happy the way I raced. I came 13th in my AG

1st British guy and therefore prequalified for next year if I decide to take the place up.

A dream goal achieved and all sporting goals now achieved for me, this was the race I wanted to race in.

Anyway I had to warm down and eat quickly as I wanted to recover well for the Sunday Mixed Relay. I slept a little better but still not great but was not achy for the relay and felt really good. I had a nice team and although I had only met a couple of them briefly at Eastbourne (Mark helped me get my bike to the start line after the issues I had on the day) I felt like I had known them for a while. My team consisted of myself going first, Verity Second, Mark third and Emma taking the anchor leg.

By the time I started at 11am it was extremely hot. The swim was really hard as it was such a short distance (300m), the bike (5K) I was out on my own and had to keep pushing and the run (1 mile) was tough – managed to run int he heat. The relay was super tough because of the short distances but enjoyed it and my team were 9th in our catogery, well done to our team.

The whole experience of the races and being there was amazing and something I will remember for the rest of my life as I stand proud of what I have achieved over the years and racing my dream race.

written by
portrait

Yiannis Christodoulou

NHS Performance analyst from Canterbury

Age group: 35-39
Club: Canterbury Harriers, Ashford Triathlon Club, GB Age group team, Age group 2017 Aquathlon team captain
Coach: My self in running Level 2 coach in running fitness, Craig Coggle Strength coach, John Wood Swimming coach

MY DISCIPLINES
10k trail swim-run Strength Training half marathon marathon
olympic distance triathlon

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