2020 started off well with some great Race Results from the Sunshine Coast Triathlon Academy / Protector Aluminium Athletes and Coach Toby Coote. Heading into the Australian Olympic Distance Champs at Mooloolaba on 15th March, I was sitting with fellow Commentators Peter Murray and Tammy Barker along with Ironman Staff and the announcement about COVID 19 and the restrictions to be put in place. A lot of uncertainty around that weekend and racing and then into restrictions that ultimately shut down Coaching in general with restrictions of 10 and then to groups of 2, self isolation.
My thoughts turned straight around to "I'm Screwed" Coaching is a tough business at the best of time, but when its taken out from under you from no fault of your own, it was pretty scary to be honest. 18 Years of Coaching (September 2002) where I have been able to control what I do, being Self Employed for that time, went to how am i going to survive this?
But thoughts then turned to..... hang on what do I say to my athletes day in day out. Be adaptable, be flexible and learn from your experiences to be a better athlete. I needed to lead by example and show a pathway moving forward, show that I wasn't beaten, show that I can survive during these tough times. I wasn't the only one dealing with it, plenty of other Coaches, Race Directors, Commentators, Workers, Businesses were struggling to. I had to clarify my vision
"Dark Days and Broken"
It wasn't easy and there were some deep dark days. There was a lot of soul searching, lots of tears and unhappiness, but there were moments of clarity and cleansing as well. I had a lot going on during this period and I could of chosen a few different paths. I was still working with online programs and 1:1 with some of the athletes but could sense a lot being unmotivated, there were no races to focus on, no clear set path for them or for us Coaches. I looked at my bank balance trying to work out how I was going to pay the bills, survive to be honest. I remember just staring at my computer and I just broke down. The raw emotions of it all took its toll. I remember another instance where a friend needed a lift, I said how you going and she just broke down. I said I understand and broke down with her. Didn't have to say anything, just knew what we were going thru. Its not easy
Isolation is the worse when you live alone. I found the only sense I had and escape was doing some training, Getting out of the house as it was the only way to escape the 4 walls. I was depressed I was broken at this point. My only social interaction was morning and afternoon with some 1:1 sessions, but that wasn't everyday. You go from 3 sessions a day and social interaction to being isolated. The highlight to break the day up was going to my Local Coffee Shop, Pallet Espresso (Thanks Johnny) to get a takeaway during the day to break it up and then back to the 4 walls of isolation. But it was something that I looked forward to each day.
I normally sleep very well, but for 6 weeks, I had the worse period of sleep i have ever had, its was interrupted, too many thoughts in my head, I just couldn't settle the voices, the demons, the uncertainty that I was surrounded by. There was plenty going on that I was trying to control, but they were uncontrollables. What do I say to my athletes "You can only Control what you can control" Gave myself a kick up the arse. But my real sanity came from training, surfing and sharing time with family in current restrictions.
Adversity has a place in what we do and it is a great learning tool to define Who you are, Your Self Confidence, Self Worth, Self Belief and what Legacy you want to leave. Its 10 years to this date that my life was turned around with adversity that affected Myself and My Business by no fault of my own.
I found myself 10 years later in the same place dealing with a different adversity of no fault of my own. I had 2 choices. Do what I did last time and bury myself in alcohol or regain my health and become fit. I took the second option and so glad I did
This time I have learnt so much from this experience and include
"FAMILY and FRIENDS"
Family - No matter what has gone before. There are always arguments and disagreements, that's family, but when shit hits the fan and you need help, they are there no matter what. If it wasn't for them, I don't know what position I would be sitting in right now. Not only have you supported me thru this, lent a shoulder, invited me in and fed me, but also help financially that I will be eternally grateful for. It has allowed me to survive thru this. It has reinforce the strength and bond and this period has allowed me to spend more time and surfing with the nieces.
My other non blood family (they know who they are) they noted I wasn't right and lent an ear, support and plenty of laughs. they are there no matter what
Friends - when you are in trouble you do really find out who your "REAL" Friends are. They are there no matter what to support, to lend a shoulder, an ear, a smile, a hug. All the little simple things that mean so much when the chips are down. Even a carton of Beer (Thanks Noely)
Athletes - to the ones that have stood by me in the last 8 weeks, you know who you are, your support will never go unnoticed. Thanks
We are suffering as a whole, and we aren't out of this by no measure, and it will take time to rebuild to get this sport back to where it was, but during this time there has been a sense of reaching out by fellow Coaches, Commentators, Race Directors and Race Workers. The phone calls, the checking in on each other the value that we put on what we do and why we are successful has been shown throughout this period. I made a point of calling 2 people a day to check in on them to see how they were going. We were all in the same fight, and funny how when we talked, we talked about the same feelings, emotions, the uncertainty of what surrounded us all. We are all riding the same wave
The weekly coaching connect group thru Craig Johns, has given us a platform to still be engaged and deal with some of the scenarios that are in place. The last few episodes that you have done have been very informative and has given myself a lot to think about how I will move on from here and what I do. It has raised some series questions about what we all do as Coaches.
"Health Awareness and Time"
I regained my health and life throughout this period. Normally at this time I am on a break after the season. I would have been 8 weeks back to back with races, commentary, coaching, end of season reviews etc etc. But with some much time on my hands I began productive by silencing the demons with training, cleaning the house, the car, all the things I would never get a chance to do. I surfed more as that is my sanity release and did it with Family (by the way my nieces shred love it).
I have lost 12 kgs in this 8 week period. From training, a bit of stress. I have gone from 90kg to 78kg. THe last time I was under 80kg was at the AIS at an NTID camp and remember the conversation with Craig Redman about hitting 80kg for the first time in my life (think it was 2008/2009) I have never been back under there since then. So if there is a positive out of all this negativity is that I have regained my health. Which is vital for me
"Legacy and Leadership"
I have always led from the front. I have said what I have as I am passionate about what I do. It can get me in trouble from time to time, but that is me. Its how I do what I do and get the best out of myself and my athletes. But I saw an opportunity to lead from the front by saying, I'm training, I'm getting fit, there are no excuses if I can do then you can do. I didn't have to, but I did as I wanted to be that Role Model leading from the front. Will I race probably not, as I see myself as a Coach, not an athlete (and I know what I am like as an a Athlete). The Legacy I wanted to leave here is, I can control what I can do during this period and that was to get fit and keep them motivated by do a 1:1 session here and there to keep the athletes ticking along. It also got me motivated and Healthier. If I didn't have this time, I would still be 90kg unfit.
I've had a chance to sit down and reflect on myself during this period. Never easy looking back at what you have down both Business and Personal. Am I happy, NO, there are a lot of things in hindsight that I would go back and change if I could, do differently, but I know I can't, but what I can do is use that experience to move forward and be a better Person, A better Coach, A better Uncle / Son / Brother, A better Friend. Surround myself with good people that will test me with multiple view points, that will enable me to be better.
This was a tough one. I went thru a lot of emotions during this time. I rode a roller coaster with lots of lows and highs mostly lows. I tried to push away people trying to help me as that is what I have done in the past. For the first time in a long time I let some walls down, and trusted again. Its been a long time since I have been able to trust people or allow myself to trust. It is never easy. As a Coach and former Athlete you hide your emotions a lot of the time and deal with a lot that people / athletes don't see on a regular basis. I can seem very happy and outgoing on the outside, but what is going on the inside can be a totally different story. I was only able to trust and let those walls down with a lot of reflection as stated above.
I was very fortunate to have a network of people around that understood I wasn't right and pressed me to make sure I was OK. It took a little time as I didn't want them to know I was struggling, but when I did open up it was a massive relief of my shoulders. Like a weight had lifted from me. Remember it ain't weak to speak or ask for help
So during a very negative period, I have come away with a lot of positives that I will use moving forward from this point. By no means are we out of trouble yet, but there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel that will keep the fuse going.
As a good friend say to me once "Success is Nothing if You Have No One Left to Share it With" So very true Indeed!!
Life is short, so make the most out of everyday. Take Care and look after yourself.
It was another successful Season for the Sunshine Coast Triathlon Academy / Protector Aluminium Athletes with some great results. Unfortunately the back end of the season where there were some Major Championship races were cancelled due to the COVID 19 restrictions from 16th March 2020.
Lots of disappointed Athletes with the decision with the Australian School Triathlon Championships, Australian Sprint Championship - Luke Harrop Memorial Triathlon and the Triathlon Queensland Club Championships just to name a few
Below is a snapshot of the success of the SCTA / PA Athletes received
Outright Race Wins - 1st Place x 14 / 2nd Place x 10 / 3rd Place x 13
Age Group Places - 1st Place x 81 / 2nd Place x 47 / 3rd Place x 44
Australian Championships - 1st Place x 2 / 2nd Place x 2 / 3rd Place x 1
Queensland Championships - 1st Place x 8 / 2nd Place x 3 / 3rd Place x 3
ITU All African Champs - 2nd Place Professional Female - Laurelle Brown
World 70.3 Qualifiers x 6
National schools Triathlon Qualifiers x 6
National Cross Country Qualifiers x 5
Australian Duathlon Champion 40-44 Years Female - Tania Gover
Australian Triathlon Champion 25-29 Years Male - Paul Marchant
World Triathlon Age Group Sprint Champs - 9th Place 16-19 - Ryan Marsh
SCTA 2nd Place Tri Club Podium Mooloolaba Triathlon
SCTA 3rd Place Tri Club Podium Sunshine Coast 70.3
The SCTA / PA Aluminium Junior scholarship Holders Ella Wooldridge and Ryan Marsh had some great results throughout the year.
Ryan Started his campaign at the ITU World Triathlon Championships in Luassane where he was the youngster competitor in the 16-19 years Category, giving away up to 3 years to the older boys, Ryan had a good go and backed himself with a 9th place just 50 secs off the podium. While some races went to plan, there were a few that didn't, but the experienced gain has shown from the end of season analysis.
1st Place 15-16 Years - Rainbow Beach Tri
3rd Place 16-19 Years - QTS # 6
7th Place 16-19 Years - QTS # 5
8th Place Senior Male - Queensland All Schools Champs
First Year ITU Junior Male - AJTS # 1 - 37th Place / AJTS # 3 - Australian Junior Champs - 25th Place
Qualified for the Queensland Schools Triathlon Team
Raced his first Open Male at QTS # 3 Kawana Tri.
Ella had a great start to the season as well. She was finishing off Grade 12 this year. With a mix of exam stress and Schoolies saw her contract glandular fever which put an end to the season for her. She is now nearly recovered from it and looking forward to next season.
1st Place 16-19 Years - Rainbow Beach - 2nd Female Overall
1st Place 16-19 Years - QTS # 2
1st Place 16-19 Years - QTS # 4
2nd Place 16-19 Years - QTS # 1
2nd Place Senior Female - Queensland All Schools Champs
20th Place ITU Junior Female - AJTS # 1
Qualified for National Cross Country Champs
Selected for National Junior Camp
The other Junior Athletes have done an amazing job this year and we have see plenty of growth and development throughout the year. Not every race goes to plan, but the experience that is gained and then improved on shows they are heading in the right direction.
Mia Wooldridge took 3rd Place at the Australian Sprint Champs in Devonport for ITU Youth Female, while Peyton Craig took out ITU Youth Male and Jazi Coventry took 3rd ITU Junior Female at the opening round at Super Sprint Race Weekend. At the Queensland Schools Triathlon Champs 6 qualified for National schools Tri Champs (cancelled due to COVID 19) Peyton Craig (3rd Intermediate Male), Mia Wooldridge (4th Junior Female) along with Jazi Coventry (selected for National Junior Camp), Erin Wooldridge, Ryan Marsh and Macey Roberts. Jorja Matthews and Jericho Pogany all saw huge improvements this year too.
SCTA Junior Athlete of the Year - Ryan Marsh
With a top 10 result at the World ITU Triathlon Championships in Lussanne Switzerland with a 9th place from 81 competitors, as one of the youngest Athletes in his category of 16-19 Years where he finished only 50 sec off the podium. It was Ryan's first Year into the ITU Junior Category as well and always a tough transition, but Ryan is being rewarded for his hard work and dedication and great result from the World Triathlon Championships at the start of the season (you will see other results in his brief from the Junior Scholarship Review above). This season saw a journey that he will be able to build on for his 2nd year in the ITU Junior Category. With Self Belief, harnessing the race day nerves, especially at major races, will see Ryan develop as an athlete. Keep up the great work. Well deserved.
Our Senior Athletes have had some great results throughout the year. With some National Titles thru to World 70.3 selection, We have seen a lot of ups and downs but the way in which they have rallied and supported each other shows the comradely amongst them all.
Tania Gover (duathlon 40-44) and Paul Marchant (Triathlon 25-29) were our National Champions, while Brett Stalley (Triathlon 55-59) and Nicholas Hull (Triathlon 30-34) took silver medals. Rebecca Howell, Matt Billington. Pauline Ashley were all notable podium place getters throughout the year. Our 70.3 World Champs Qualifiers included Lucy Bowden, Michael Hooper, Matt Wolstencroft, Kevin Hammond, Mick Woodcock and Megan Hawkins.
Senior Athlete of the Year - Lucy Bowden
For the 2nd successive year Lucy has taken out this title. She has had a stellar year with some amazing performances. Her most notable winning her category at the Sunshine Coast 70.3, claiming her Worlds Berth, finishing 9th Female overall amongst the Pro Female. She had her maiden break thru Race Win taking out the Rainbow Beach Triathlon and in the Queensland Tri Series, she podiumed in the OPEN Female in all 5 races she contested.
The back end of the season was cut short with a foot injury. I believe her most notable achievement was during this period where Lucy showed her willingness to support and capture some great images with her camera at training and racing (You will see a lot of Lucy's work in the photos in this report). it showed a real Team Player in an individual sport. It didn't go unnoticed. Another great season Lucy. Keep up the great work. Thoroughly deserved accolade.
2019-20 results include
Race Winner - Rainbow Beach Triathlon
1st Place 25-29 Female - Sunshine Coast 70.3 - World Qualifier Berth
2nd Place OPEN Female QTS # 1
2nd Place OPEN Female QTS # 3
2nd Place OPEN Female QTS # 5
3rd Place OPEN Female QTS # 2
3rd Place OPEN Female QTS # 4
4th Place OPEN Female - Noosa Triathlon
Encouragement Award - Jorja Matthews
Its been a bit of an up and down season for Jorja. She is being awarded the encouragement award, as I believe with a bit of self confidence and belief, she could get back to racing and hitting the podium like she did 2 seasons ago. Its there, you just have to want it and believe. I did see a glimpse of it at the Super Sprint Race Weekend when she got angry and starting racing well and backing herself. If you take that attitude into the coming season, who knows what Jorja can achieve. Your choice!! Trust and Believe
SCTA Club Member Professional Athletes have had a great year with some amazing results. Race wins to Carrie Lester, Ryan Fisher, Simon Hearn. Notable performances to Brittany Dutton, Kierra Allen (Sansome), Marion Tuin, Kelly Ann Perkins and Brodie Gardner.
The was some great news for Head Coach Toby Coote as well, being named a Finalist for Triathlon Australia Age Group Coach of the Year. Selected for the Triathlon Australia National Junior Camp and received a grant from Triathlon Queensland for SCTA
Well done to all the athletes that competed throughout the year. A massive thanks to the family and supporters of the SCTA, without you, we don't have this opportunity that we have.
Finally to the sponsors. Grant Symes from Protector Aluminium, without you, this doesn't happen as the major sponsor for the past 5 years. I am totally grateful for the ongoing support. To Vorgee, Mizuno, CLIF Bar Australia, Cannibal Australia, Davey and Associates Optometrist, McDonalds Sunshine Coast. Tara Leanne Nutrition, Rackley Swimming, Kawana Aquatic Centre, Allez Sport Mooloolaba, Rydges Hotels, Intune Sports and Health, The Recovery Room, PREPD, The Event Crew, Ironman Oceania, Titan Performance Group, Zone 3 Wetsuits