To tri – Noosa Triathlon Festival Event #2

29 Oct

One of the highlights of the Noosa weekend is being able to buddy up with someone with special needs.  These guys want to participate in a triathlon but cannot undertake it alone, so as part of the Smiling for Smiddy triathlon team, we are able to partner with them, and help them along with their swim, ride and run.  This event is a 100m swim, a 3km cycle and a 500m run and nowhere else do you see so much joy, determination and enthusiasm!

This year I was partnered with Sam. She had come down from Rockhampton just to participate – an 8hr bus ride each way – how’s that for commitment!!  Sam told me this was her first triathlon and she was most looking forward to the swim – this meant I already liked her (swim is my favourite too!!).

Together we racked our bikes, I explained how it all worked and then we waited… and waited… and waited… what seemed like an eternity before our wave start.  In groups of 6-8 we were released, and I was thrilled to find my mate Kim and her daughter Keri, as well as Keri’s friend Jade and her mum (sorry, I’ve forgotten your name). We were able to convince the marshals to let us start the wave together… only we didn’t stay together for very long as I found out just how enthusiastic and energetic Sam was in the swim – she took off!!  She aced the swim (even passing people) and we headed up toward the transition.  Those cheering us on encouraged me to keep up… (thanks team Bertwistle)

We found our bikes, put on our shoes and headed out for the cycle leg.  Sam was pretty strong on this leg too – she would go in bursts but when she did find speed she was a gun!  Sam was safe on the bike, and did really well, she took the turns carefully (even indicating nicely) and before we knew it, it was time to run!

Sam’s enthusiasm and joy was still evident by this point.  As the crowds cheered for us, we ran out to do our lap around the park.  It was here that Sam found her cousin – who, had decided she just didn’t want to go any further, and her buddy was struggling to encourage her. Sam stopped, took her hand, and insisted they go together – these kids are great! So we ran a bit further, walked a bit, ran a bit, encouraged a cousin again (and then had to run hard when said cousin decided to overtake us!!).  As we approached the final turn Sam saw the finish line, and just like last year I found I had to find another gear completely.  I was risking being left in Sam’s wake as she took off on the last 50m or so to the end…. Thankfully I managed to stay with her and we were able to cross the line together! It’s always my concern that my buddy will leave me behind…!

So, with smiles all around, and a medal to prove it Sam was able to cross the finish line and had a blast doing it. You just had to look around on the day to see the smiles on everyone’s faces, their joy as they cross the line, and their enthusiasm for participating – and it is contagious. They all claim they are not nervous, and they just go out to have fun – we have so much to learn from them!! I know I, and the other Smiling for Smiddy buddies, enjoy the opportunity to support and encourage these guys to participate. It’s truly an absolute pleasure.

So with that “warm up” done… there is only one event left… the big one – the Noosa Triathlon tomorrow…. A mere 1500m swim, 40km cycle and a 10km run… and I can’t wait!

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