2013 Junior Women's World Championships, London

So… this was the one. I’d been training basically just for this race since the German Junior Champs – which was almost 2 months ago. There were moments when work and training were almost getting too much – train, work, train, sleep, repeat does get quite tough after a while – but the thought of this race always kept me going, gave me the motivation to keep pushing myself. And when I got back home it was time to taper – the first time I actually properly tapered for a race - and it felt strange!

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But then, after having waited so long for raceday to arrive, it suddenly all went really quickly! On Tuesday, I met the German team at the airport, we drove to central, checked into the hotel, went out for dinner and then straight to bed – and then it was the day before the race already! That flew by with us doing some training, looking at the course and going to the race briefing and then going to bed early!

The start was at 8, which meant getting up at 5 to eat breakfast. I do like the early morning races, there’s just no time to get stressed or panic or lose too much thought on what might happen… And in no time the 3h were gone and it was time to race! There were 71 girls racing – I’ve never raced in a field of that size before! We were called up one by one onto the pontoon and being start number 11, I was one of the first ones to choose a place. The swim was quite brutal – the water was cold, there were loads of people everywhere around you and I didn’t quite manage to swim off fast enough, so ended up off the pace from the lead pack. But when I got out of the water, I saw Leonie Periault – who came 2nd at Worlds last year – next to me and Sophie Coldwell also ended up in my group; so my swim can’t have been THAT bad!

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After I had managed to get my feet into the shoes (which seemed to take forever with cold hands and cold feet!), I went to the front of the pack and started pushing the pace – the first pack was visible not too far away, so we did have a good chance of catching them if we worked together! Halfway through the first lap, I was still at the front though, and attempts to ask someone to go in front failed until I slowed down to make someone go. Unfortunately, that draws a very good picture of how the rest of the bike leg went… The group didn’t really work together and only every now and then someone actually went in front to do some decent work. But what can you do… the front pack got further and further away and after the last lap, we were over a minute behind. My thoughts were just that it might get close with a top 20 finish (which was kind of my aim before the race) not knowing how many people exactly were in the front pack.

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And then I got off the bike and started running – and it almost hit me like a shock that it felt awesome despite having done a fair amount of work on the bike! Leonie Periault then caught me but I decided to try to stick with her – and that wasn’t a problem either! So we just kept running side by side, pushing each other on to run fast. And then my coach Roland shouted at me – apparently we’d already decreased the gap to the last people of the first pack by 30sec after less than the first half! Then they were there, in the distance and with every step they seemed to come a tiny bit closer… I was told where the 10th girl was and after a lap and a half, Leonie Periault and me started overtaking the last girls from the first pack!!! But I still felt strong and was too much in the zone to notice anything. The run had gone by so quickly that it was suddenly time for the last 400m or so, where my coach stood and told me I can still catch that girl in front of me. So I just ran for my life and just did it in the last 100m. I had no idea whether it had been enough for top 10 when I finished, but it turned out it just had!!!

Huge congratulations also to my German teammate Laura Lindemann for winning Bronze!

And that was it – season over, just like that! I still can’t believe that I made it into the top 10…  A year ago that seemed like something only amazing junior triathletes can do, not me! One of the best moments after the race must have been my coach in the athlete’s lounge giving me a hug and telling me he was proud – and the look on his face told me he was being 100% genuine and so happy for and proud of me. When I then left the athletes’ area there were quite a few of my friends and of course my parents waiting for me who’d watched the race – it was so amazing to have them there and I can’t thank them enough for coming!

I think this is also a good place to say a few massive “thank you’s”…

  • To my family for always being there for me helping me making the best of every situation and fitting uni and sport in my life and for always believing in me.
  • To my boyfriend for always helping and supporting me in so many ways every day and just understanding and not questioning why I’m doing triathlon and for giving me the strength to keep going in every situation.
  • To all of my friends for giving me the strength to get through harder times and making sure the smile on my face is always there.
  • To all the Oxford Uni Clubs I train with for making hard, early, rainy, … sessions that little bit easier and making sure there’s always just the right amount of laughter present in training.
  • To Oxford University Sport, Sailfish and RedVenom for believing in me and the support they give me.
  • And last but by no means least my coach Roland who is probably the best and most inspiring coach I have ever met, and just always has an open ear for me.

I could not be doing this without all of you and am extremely grateful for having you!

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