Rock up to any triathlon starting line and you’ll see people of all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds waiting for the cannon to go off. What is the unifying factor that brings them all together?
Chris McCormack has been to hundreds of triathlons and has seen it all. With a career spanning over 20 years and four world titles, this professional triathlete enjoys seeing the age group side of the sport. “Primarily most people have come in for health purposes,” he says. “They’ve said, ‘I was at a point in my life where I’ve looked at myself and thought I need to do something where I am in my life’. For many of them, they came from non-sporting backgrounds. Many of them started off doing fun runs and saw triathlon as the next challenge.”
So what kind of athlete do you have to be to start doing triathlons? Macca tells us, “You do not have to be a lifetime athlete to be a triathlete. People come in all shapes and sizes for all different reasons to do a triathlon.
“The reason they come to triathlon is because it’s relatable. Most of us swam, biked, and ran as part of play when we were children. While it looks to be the most physically demanding sport in the world, I think people can relate to those three disciplines.”
The real question is actually: What kind of person do you have to be to start doing triathlons?
A triathlete has got to be the kind of person who loves a challenge and can’t stop until they’ve done all they can to meet that challenge head-on. The euphoria at the finish line after overcoming the swim, the bike, and the run is an addictive hit that keeps people coming back for more.
“I think that’s what draws people to the sport in the first place: trying to answer the unknown for them,” says Macca. “A lot of people I’ve seen come to the sport say, ‘There’s no chance I could ever complete one of these’ and sure enough, I’m talking to them at the finish line and they’re going, ‘This is addictive.’”
Whether you’re an elite athlete or an age grouper, that’s the beauty of triathlon. There’s always something you can work on and improve.
So, do YOU want to be a triathlete?