World Champs – “But it’s only Age Group”

I’m very excited with the news that despite missing out on Kona this year by 90 seconds, I’ll be able to race a world championships anyway. An opportunity that will only boost my racing character and add invaluable world championship experience. A different time zone, different weather and the classic hotel accommodation will all be experiences helping me get used to big races in the future.

Qualifying for long distance World’s in Oklahoma with my time in Wales and middle distance from my Cotswold Classic time. A 4:20 half and a top 100 finish in Wales made for a comfortable qualification, with a lot of work to do this year.

Qualifying through the British Triathlon system is an interesting one, you have to be within 115% of the winning AG time to qualify. An easy feat some might say, however if this is the case, why isn’t everyone racing for GB?

One of the most common phrases in amateur triathlon. They’re a GB athlete… yeah but ‘it’s only age group’. But unless you’re in the Olympic team, there are no other GB teams outside of age group.

Oh… Yeah.

Hadn’t thought of that had you?

Well for a start any stash with the words GBR followed by your surname should never ever be turned down. Ever. And secondly, to qualify for Kona you don’t have to be too far off the times achieved for an age-group athlete going to ITU’s.

Granted it doesn’t hold the same prestige as Kona, or the same prize money, but even the elite triathletes race ITU and Challenge events for race experience, prize money and to keep the sponsors happy. Having just attained sponsors for 2016 that will be helping me through my path to World and European championships this summer I am already starting to feel the heat.

4 months off with injury and no heavy training on the cards any time soon it’s a struggle to see myself in any form for the coming season. Although that doesn’t matter, because it’s only age group right?

Although there is no team outside of age group for long or middle distance, thus making it impossible to represent the country in other ways at these events? Jan Frodeno the world champion doesn’t race for Germany, he represents Canyon, Aspics, 2xu and his other sponsors. So this is the perfect stepping stone for gaining sponsorship, experiencing races and keeping the dream alive.

So how is it possible to be anything other than ‘only age group’ if you want to represent your country?

It’s not!

I will also be racing for sponsors, and luckily my sponsors will be helping me with the financial side of racing, but is it not everyones dream to represent their country in some way? And unless you’re an olympic athlete, this is rather hard to do, especially for those of us who are made for them slow twitch gains.

Personally holding the dream of one day holding a pro card, I’m not too worried about the stepping stones to bigger things. Being able to cycle 240km at over 33kph, being able to run a half marathon sub 1:23, and slowly but surely getting there in the pool, I’d thoroughly enjoy a race with any amateur turning their noses up at age group athletes, however even if you’re .01% under that cut off, and take one of the last team spots, take the chance, buy the kit, do yourself proud.

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