Australian Paratriathlete Tony Scoleri
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Monday 1st of September, a nice but cold day was starting over at Hawrelak Park with the air temperature around 5 degrees. I was feeling in great shape and ready to race hard. This was the moment I had been waiting for all my life - competing at a World Championship. I was nervous the whole week, partly from excitement, partly from jetlag, little sleep but this was not an issue, I was here, living the dream, being part of the triathlon Grand Final and surrounded by the fittest people in the sport. At 7:15am precisely, the start gun went off, we were on our way. The first 150m of my swim was chaotic (as many swim starts are) with people climbing on top of me, punches in the face and taking my goggles off. I managed to get away from the bunch and get into a solid rhythm before the turn at the first buoy at 200m. The rest of the swim went well, I picked good directions and came out with a PB time of about 17mins for the 750m. After a quick transition, I hopped onto the bike to tackle a hilly 20km course. About a kilometre away, there was the Emily Murphy hill, the hardest climb with a steady gradient over 600-700m. I kept up a good momentum from the speed I gained on the flat and this was working, I was catching another competitor. A short time later, there was a smooth, long descent where I sustained a nice 50-55km/h. Quick climb over an overpass and onto another hill. I felt like dropping the gear onto the small chain ring but then decided to stay on the top gear and dig deep into the muscles knowing I could pay for this later in the run. It was one of those difficult and rapid decisions to make but, in hindsight, a good choice. The rest of the ride was also up and down at the exception of the last 5kms of flat road along the river. I did the second best time on the bike in my category, I could see I was coming back on the first athletes but I needed to gain more time. Back into transition, nightmare, I couldn't feel my body, my hands were so cold I could not grab my shoes and put them on. I fell twice on ground because my feet were slipping out of the shoes I couldn't hold. After a deep breathe, I finally got both feet in and ran out of transition on auto-pilot (brain freeze for the first 50m). The run course was flat, on the bitumen. I pushed my body as much as I could over the two laps of 2.5kms, getting closer at each turn around but eventually not enough to claim a spot on the podium. I signed up a PB time for my run with a little over 4mins/km average pace for the 5kms. The best part of the race was the last 200m where I was running on the blue carpet towards the finishing line with the crowd shouting, many of them Aussies waving the flag. I knew then that I would complete the race, the dream was coming true! Overall, I came 4th in the PT4 category with a PB time for the whole race. I was very happy of my performance that day. Several competitors I spoke to were disappointed with their race because they left too much strength in the hill ride and could not run. My achievement was to maintain a good effort and speed in all three disciplines without burning out. Aussies in the crowd were going ballistic to cheer me. I thank you all very much!! I have also much appreciated everyone's messages leading up and following the race. It has been an exciting week in Edmonton and, yes, it was epic! I wish every triathlete to have this experience. Finally, I would like to thank my family for their continuous support, especially my dad, Ross, for his coaching and medical care on a daily basis in addition to the other physios and masseurs. I am also very grateful to Nataliya, my partner, for her love, support, and understanding. Thank you very much to her and my mother for being part of the action in Edmonton, taking wonderful pictures, you've created lifetime memories!
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