Just when you think you're tough enough

Tough Takes Triathlon

How to ace triathlon as a 11-year old budding triathlete?

Kids Triathlon -AngieL w finisher medal
Angie Liew, 11 years old – proud of her first triathlon experience and finisher medal

Angie Liew, 11 years old, took part in her first triathlon, which took her on a 200m Swim, 8km of cycling and 2km of running. She participated in the Under 15 Girls category at the recent Compressport International Schools’ Triathlon Series (CISTS) at the Nexus International School in Putrajaya, Malaysia.  Here’s her story.

The cold water splashed onto the poolside,just millimetres from my feet, while infinite thoughts raced through my mind.

Would I make it? How hard would it be? Would I need to give up?

I pushed the thoughts aside as I took my place at a lane, waiting for the significant countdown that would begin the race. My race. It was nerve-wrecking as my heart was pounding against my chest. I pushed my goggles into place and I was ready!

Angie Liew getting ready for her swim.
Thousands of thoughts running through Angie Liew’s mind as she prepares for her swim.

Small fish swimming with the big fishes

HONK!!! We were off, diving into the freezing water head first, I shivered from the sudden change in temperature. Stretching my arms in front of me, I pushed the water back and kicked with all my might. Speeding through the water, I reached the end of the 25 metre pool and performed a tumble turn to push off the wall. As an 11 year old girl in the under 15 category, I found it difficult to keep up with those who were a lot bigger in size. On the other hand, my goal was plainly to finish the race.

After completing the tiring 200-meter swim, I pulled myself out of the pool and sprinted to the transition area, where my bike awaited. I pulled my swimming cap and goggles off as i reached my bike. Throwing the swimming equipment into my basket, I pulled on my biking helmet and shoes. I tried hard to keep calm, but it wasn’t easy. Many times, I glanced at the other participants behind me. All to reassure myself that I wasn’t last.

I pushed my bike along the blue carpet, getting closer towards the mounting line. “Now!,” a few marshals shouted, as I crossed the white line, and mounted my bicycle easily, thanks to coaches Jessen Lee and Sue Teoh for teaching me the cycling techniques.

Angie (on right) sharing a proud moment with brother Edward, 10 years old.
Angie (on right) sharing a proud moment with brother Edward, 10 years old.

Undulating hills challenge cycling route

I pedalled up the hill and followed the arrows marking the course, leading us out of the school. It wasn’t easy, the cycling route had many ups and downs, there were steep hills, followed by fun downhills. Trying to keep up with the others, I forced my legs to push against the pedals.

Sweat dripped down my chin as I continued my second loop. The cheering crowd, especially mum and dad, lifted my spirits and held me up throughout the race.

Phew! Finally, I reached the white line once again, and dismounted swiftly, and dragged my bike up the rather steep hill to my rack. Throwing off my helmet, I dashed straight to the running course. My last mission. I CAN DO THIS!

Angie Liew on the run leg of her first triathlon.
Angie Liew on the run leg of her first triathlon.

Final mission: Run like the wind!

From the beginning, I felt that running was my strength and I proved myself right. I caught up with a few boys in the earlier race and it somehow made me feel lighter. The cheering rang in my ears, “I can do this!”

At the last 100 metres, I sprinted with all my energy left to the finish line. I MADE IT!

The sensation was amazing. I did it, I actually did! One of the marshalls placed a finisher medal round my neck, and I felt like a superstar and important.

It was my first triathlon. I did it, and I’d gladly do it all over again.

Kids Triathlon - Angie Liew w finisher medal

More about the budding triathlete

11 year old Angie Liew is a petite girl who just loves the feeling of wind blowing through her hair. Introduced to sports and triathlon by her father, she’s loving it and just won’t stop!