Just when you think you're tough enough

Tough Takes Triathlon

Junior Triathlete wins podium place despite crash at 2017 Epsom College Triathlon

“I pushed my bike out of the transition area and mounted on but suddenly, I slipped off the pedal and crashed. My finger and a part of my trisuit got stuck on the front wheel. I thought I was doomed for this race…”

Young triathlete, Edward Liew (right) won 3rd place at the Epsom College Triathlon 2017.

Heading to the 2017 Epsom College Triathlon in the neighbouring state of Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia,  everything seemed to be going well on race morning as I warmed up and headed for the pool, while examining some parts of the race course.

There was no numbering system at the bike rack in the transition area, so I chose the rack near the bike out. Timing chip on, number stamped on my arm and I was ready for the race. However, as it grew closer to my Under 11 Boys start, my heart started pounding hard against my chest and I gulped down one last mouthful of water. I took my place at the edge of the pool, legs dangling in the water.

On go, I pushed myself into the water and started kicking and pulling. I went as fast as I could and after a few laps, my legs and arms started to feel wobbly, but I continued on.

I swam harder and found the guy next to my lane neck to neck with me as I completed my six laps and pushed myself out of the water. At the bike rack, I put on my glasses, helmet and shoes but found it a little difficult for my feet were wet and had no time to dry them.

I ran out of transition and mounted my bike but suddenly I slipped on my bicycle pedal and crashed. My finger got stuck in my front wheel and a part of my shirt stuck to the bike. I thought was doomed for this race.

But I quickly pulled my finger out, tugged at my trisuit that was stuck, pulled my bike up and started pedalling. However, I realized that my chain had derailed and had to flip my bike upside down to put it back on.

Quickly, I shouted for my dad when I saw him, but when he got near me, I had already put my chain back on. I got on my bike and luckily my dad gave me a little push, otherwise I would not have been able to cycle up the small hill.

Fuelled by frustration and as angry as a raging bull, I pedalled faster and soon overtook the people who had passed me when I fell. I soon caught up with my friend on his lap, and had some friendly banter with him.

There were a few U-turns to negotiate and at last, came back to the hill. Climbing up it was not that difficult but I couldn’t stand up and pedal. I made a final U-turn and headed for the school.

Into the run, I followed the arrows and found two people in front of me. I tried to catch them but as I got nearer, and almost made a wrong turn. Soon I overtook a girl, and there was only one person left to pursue.

After running down the hill and a few turns, I caught up to the boy in front, and overtook him. Finally, I got to the last 400 meter and my parents were there. The boy behind me was catching up, so I ran harder and suddenly my dad appeared and told me to start sprinting.

However, I waited and only sprinted as fast as I could in the final 25 meters. As I crossed the finish line, I collapsed on the floor, my head felt a bit dizzy and felt like I really needed COLD water.

After finishing my race, I went to look for my friend that was in the Under 12 category. He was racing in his first Triathlon, and had one lap more in the run. I waited for him and ran along with him into the final meters and encouraged him, ‘Come on you can do it, sprint, it’s the last stretch’. He started sprinting, so I sprinted with him.

At the prize giving ceremony, when they announced the winners for my category, I was surprised to receive third place! Important lesson learned today to keep calm when the tough gets going, and to persevere.

More about the budding triathlete

Edward Liew – 11 years old, loves to play cards, sing and make jokes to keep people in a happy mood. Determined to be a triathlete just like his dad, Edward now loves running and biking the most.

He started triathlon with Kids of Steel Triathlon and transitioned to train under Team M3X of TRI-AMAteur Triathlon Club, and is looking forward to Sunway International School in 2018.