How to represent your country in triathlon (even if you aren’t the fastest!)

How to represent your country in triathlon (even if you aren’t the fastest!)

Triathlon is unique in many ways, not the least of which is that there are three spots in one! But more importantly in my view is its fully integrated racing approach where age groupers (otherwise known as amateurs or masters in some sports) race alongside professionals. Wearing the green and gold is a huge achievement for anyone in sport and as a country we are crazy passionate about our heroes who achieve this feat.

Fortunately, there are around 500 everyday heroes every year who get to wear the green and gold in triathlon and you can too. Here’s how.

Every country sets its own rules for how to achieve national representation so this process only applies to Australia. If you aren’t lucky enough to be holding an Aussie passport, you’ll need to check with your home country as to what their rules are. Here in Australia we use a combined approach to representing Australia. Each year, every different combination of triathlon develops a calendar of qualification races around the country. There is also a single national championship race in each discipline. The simplest way is to win your age group as the designated national championship race. Sounds easy enough right? But what if you aren’t fast enough to win your age group? Don’t despair, that’s where our combined system comes into play. In Australia we believe that it is vitally important for every athlete to have the chance to represent their country if they are passionate enough about triathlon to give it a go. So, we have a points accumulation system on top of the national championship process.

Athletes race in one or more of the races on the qualification calendar and accumulate points when they finish in the top 20 of their age group. The points start at 20 for the win and roll down to a single point if you finish 20th. The more races you do, the more points you accumulate with the best of your races making up your total. In theory you could even finish on top of the ladder by having several good races rather than one outstanding one! It is our way of rewarding and recognising those athletes who love our sport, are prepared to race in more events and really want the opportunity to represent Australia.

The beauty is we offer national representation in aquathlon, sprint, standard and long distance duathlon, aquabike, sprint and standard distance triathlon, sprint and standard distance cross triathlon and even long course triathlon. There’s something for everyone. And with the grand final moving to a new location every year, what a fantastic way to see the world. Having worn the green a gold several times now I can tell you the thrill is as great as even when you pull that trisuit on and I’ve made incredible friendships racing around the world. After an epic home grand final on the Gold Coast this month, we move to Spain and Switzerland next year. Who will be joining me??

Guest Blogger - Michelle Cooper