Never, not even in my wildest imagination, did I think I would represent Australia in a sport, but at the age of 60, that is exactly what I did. In July this year I had the honour of wearing a green and gold Australian triathlon suit, with my name "Crofts" on it, to represent Australia in the World Triathlon Championships for Age Group athletes in Hamburg, Germany.
I was chuffed to have actually qualified to represent Australia. However, to my delight but also to my absolute surprise, I managed to place sixth and only a minute behind second place. It was a one of the most amazing experiences of my life to compete at a such a high level against women in my age group from all over the world. The competitors were encouraging and friendly, although also highly competitive. It was awesome to make friends with people from around the globe.
I was most proud though, of doing a personal best on every leg of the event. This was my goal going into the race, so I worked hard to train consistently, to do no more and no less that what my coaches asked of me. Why no more you ask? To prevent injury (this is so important and took me a little while to learn) and to balance my training with: my work commitments as a Secondary School principal, my family responsibilities, my friendships, my partner and all of the day to day commitments of life. Consistent training actually helps me to be a better principal, partner, mother and friend; I feel healthier and more centred.
I started training with Triathlon Adventures Geelong at the age of 58 after never having competed in a triathlon before. With my coaches counsel (Kate and Craig), I changed my swimming stroke, learnt to ride a road bike (previously I had been a rail trail rider on a mountain bike) and started running. The training we do is so good for my health, especially as I age. For me, the camaraderie of the Triathlon Adventures Geelong members made going to training fun and motivating. The support and encouragement of my coaches was outstanding; like everyone on TAG, I received individualised advice, training schedules and specific guidance to help me to achieve my goals.
I would recommend triathlon to anyone who wants to be fit and likes to do a variety of activities. I would be bored just swimming, just cycling or just running. Doing the three disciplines also means you do not have overuse injuries. You don’t have to be young to start, just start!