• Commonwealth Games 2014: A day I’ll never forget

    Things were so manic after the Commies that I only got to unpack my kit recently in October during my end of season break, some 2 months later, oops! You will hopefully forgive me for this very delayed, overdue and probably overly long blog post – lots to cram in.

    The Commonwealth Games Triathlon, Glasgow

    I had a disappointing individual race finishing 13th. My teammate Kate Roberts & I both found ourselves out of contention and ended up running the whole run together. James, my coach, was at the far end of the course and told us to save our legs for the relay 2 days later as we were in no man’s land and clearly weren’t going to win an individual medal.

    This was the first time the mixed relay was to be held at a major games. After a disappointing individual race by all of us except Richard Murray, we were more than determined to make up for it and happy to be able to get a second chance in the relay. The Friday after the race involved preparing ourselves mentally and physically for the task at hand the next day. We knew we were capable of a medal if we all performed on the day and we knew that we were the dark horse in the race. Certainly not the bookies favourites, but we favoured and believed in ourselves and the excitement and anticipation escalated as the race drew closer. Come race morning I was more excited than nervous. I don’t usually drink coffee and decided that day that I would have a latte in the athletes village before we left for the venue. Kate was going off first, Henri second, me third and Richie last. We knew that if we could hand over to Richie in contention, he would kill himself for a medal.

    Kate took on the massive pressure of leading off and was well in contention the whole way through, dropping off a tiny bit in the run (Kate had a stress fracture earlier in the year which had meant a limited amount of run training for her). Henri is a super fish and swam us back into possible medal contention, like Kate, racing his absolute heart out. Come the end of Henri’s leg, we were in 6th but still in contention. England & New Zealand were up out front and me (SA), the Aussies & Canada were fighting for bronze. I wanted a medal so badly, and still wired after my latte, swam my little heart out, coming out in 4th. I then stuck to the Aussies & Canadians like glue and refused to lose any sight of what I thought was our bronze medal. I then ran my little heart out and proudly handed over to Richie in joint third with the Aussies & Canadians and knew Richie would fight hard for that bronze medal.

    We were getting so excited while Richie was racing. That medal that we wanted so badly was almost in reach and then something bizarre happened…the New Zealand team in 2nd had been dropped by England on the bike and their athlete elected to sit up and wait for the 3 pursuers. So in all 4 of them came from the bike together and Richie went straight to the front on the run…silver, were we really capable of silver now??? Kate, Henri and I sprinted behind the stands and to the finishing chute. In came England in 1st. Richie had gone out like a bat out of hell and was fading a bit with Australia catching. But in true never say die style, he hung on by 1 second and we were Commonwealth Games silver medallists. Oh what absolute joy & excitement! We lapped up all the celebrations - the very emotional medal ceremony, doing countless interviews and having countless photographs and just enjoying being in that very special moment. We managed to finally get some time together to reflect on our amazing feat and probably the proudest moment in my career. Every athlete dreams of a major games medal and it was real, we had done it. We arrived back in the Games Village to be congratulated by Team SA and were finally able to meet up with our families/friends/coaches to celebrate….and celebrate in style we did! What a fun few days and memories with a great bunch of people that I will never forget!

    Thanks to my team around me who has moulded me into the athlete I am today. A special mention to Mark my husband who is my biggest supporter and fan and keeps me sane in the world of professional support. Also to James, my coach and my mom, dad & sister for supporting me & being so wonderful. And to my sponsors & supporters, without whom life would be very difficult. Thanks, you are an awesome bunch: Iffley Road, Zone 3, Optima Racing Team, Dassi Bikes, Amanzi Swimwear, Daniel Doy, Shepperton Swim.

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