Dream. Travel. Race. That's exactly what I did back at the beginning of this decade. I had been training and competing in triathlon for a few years when I decided to make myself a goal. My wife and I had always enjoyed travelling, but I had never thought about combining two of my most favourite things.
I set the goal to qualify for the ITU World Championships. In fact, I gave myself a goal to accomplish this within 5 years. I trained extremely hard, and won the National Championships in my age group. Qualifying for the Age Group World Championships was one of the greatest accomplishments I have ever had. It was an absolute amazing experience that are difficult to put into words.
I had dreamed of representing Canada on the international stage since I was a young boy watching the Olympics. I recall Simon Whitfield winning the gold in Sydney in 2000. It was amazing, and to this day has been one of my absolute favourite moments in sports. It was truly humbling to be able to represent my country in London, England in 2013 and something I suggest all dedicated age group athletes to strive for in the future.
Enjoy the following reasons from T1Triathlon High Performance athletes as to what makes the ITU Age Group World Championships such an amazing opportunity.
Tyler Chuang; Cozumel, Mexico (2016)
The Age Group Triathlon World Championships excites me because of what it represents. The week-long celebration of the sport represents months and years of hard work and dedication all coming together in a common city deprived of all barriers. For those in attendance, it is akin to the Olympics. Every single athlete has a unique story of their journey and has proven themselves as an athlete to compete against the best of the best. It is amazing to have so many like-minded individuals coming together to compete, socialize and bond over something we all have a passion for. The privilege to represent your country, in any regard, is always an honor and emotional experience. Looking around the start line seeing jerseys embossed in GBR, AUS, NZL, JPN, USA (among others) is a surreal experience that I cannot adequately describe in words, but just thinking about it elicits excitement in me and a thirst to return one day.
Cody Rowan; Edmonton, alberta (2014)
For me Age Group World Championships has meant many things as time has shifted. At first it exuded brilliant excellence; the possible pinnacle of all my achievements combined in one event. Vying for a coveted spot on the Team meant more to me than anything else at the time. It held such power and prowess that I gave up many great things in its pursuit. Making the Team changed my perception-of-self instantly. It assured me that I am in fact capable of great things and enabled me to step outside my own shell, filled anew with the desire to share the experience with others. It meant to me that I was able to not only achieve, but also to use my abilities to meaningfully give back. Now, as a coach and team manager, Age Group World Championships again holds massive power in my eyes for all those great athletes looking to achieve great things in their lives. Having walked on the world stage myself, having felt the all encompassing confidence of the worlds finest surrounding me, Age Group World Championships means to me that people CAN achieve great feats of effort and be well rewarded for their clear dedication and firm determination. It is one of those few special occasions in life where success is palpably felt.
courtenay smart; cozumel, mexico (2016)
The Age Group World Championships get me excited about triathlon because the atmosphere is magical. Nowhere else have I experienced such close community, fierce competition, genuine camaraderie and mutual respect than at this event. The inclusive nature of this race is impressive, as competitors, volunteers, officials and supporters come together to help athletes exceed their potential and celebrate their achievements.
If you love travel and racing and want to combine these two amazing hobbies, there are two things you can do right now to prepare yourself for this wonderful experience:
1. Set a goal. Make a goal to compete at the Age Group World Championships by a certain date. Write it down and put it somewhere you can see it. A goal in the mind is simply just a fantasy, but a visible goal is something that you are regularly reminded to actively work towards.
2. Hire a coach. A qualified coach will be able to get you to the starting line in peak physical condition. They understand what it takes to have you at your best the day of the race. Remember, you've worked too hard to get the World Championships. You don't want to rely on unstructured or random training to get you to the finish line of the biggest race of your life.