Just when you think you're tough enough

Tough Takes

Team spirit lifts young triathlete to podium at Nexus International School Triathlon

TeamM3X with founder and Head Coach Peter Lau at the Nexus International School triathlon. (Megan Tan)

Darkness still lingered in the wee hours of the morning at the Nexus International School, the host for the Nexus International School Triathlon in Putrajaya, Malaysia. I revisited this race on a nostalgic note, with my first foray into the world of Triathlon.

Got my arm stamped with my race number, and proceeded to the transition area where I realised, we were allowed to place our bikes freely without pre-assigned numbered slots. I liked this as I could get the rack I wanted. Soon, my teammates trickled in and triggered the team spirit in me. The feeling of being in a team makes you feel welcomed and included. Memories flashed back to my first ever triathlon race in this very same place. Back then, I was alone and desolate with no team support.

I appreciate being with my team now, because we’re not just a team. We are a family.

With a quick warm up of stretches, a short jog and drills, I absorbed every bit of information at race briefing and I felt ready. All the under 15 year-old girls hopped into the cool waters of the swimming pool, and with the blast of the air horn, we were off!

I swam a total of 8 laps pacing with two racers beside me, and too soon, we were out of the pool, and were racing towards our bikes.

I immediately clicked my helmet into place, slipped on my powdered shoes, slid on my sunglasses, grabbed my bike off the rack and rushed off onto the bike route. It was pretty straightforward with two 4km laps, I returned my bike to its racks before running out of the school, and onto the running route.

(Photos by Vicky Tieh and Wilson Liew)

The run felt shorter than it did for me, years ago, but was nonetheless just as tiring. It was a rather shaded run all the way until I returned back to school, where I completed the lap around the field.

In the final 100m, I gave it my all, even with the sharp stabbing pain in my side and the grappling feeling of hands choking air out of my throat …it was so worth it!

Relief and pride poured into my soul as I crossed the finishing line, clinching first place in my category. The happiness of being amongst my cheering family just seems to instantly wash away the exhaustion and throbbing pain.

TeamM3X triathletes cheering on other teammates as they finish the race.
Angie Liew won the Under 15 Girls category at the Nexus International School Triathlon.

It was also incredibly satisfying, to me, to be able to encourage or cheer on my teammates, which I wasn’t able to do two years ago. It simply filled me with a sense of fulfilment and warmth that enveloped my heart. Being in this team brought a strong exhilaration to watch a few teammates stand proudly on the podium that day alongside me.

To those out there who hate the feeling of racing alone, I strongly suggest you join, or start your own team, because I know the awkwardness of racing alone, but I’ve also learnt of the fun and satisfaction of training, and racing with your teammates by your side.

Photos were taken by Wilson Liew unless stated otherwise.


More about the budding triathlete

Angie Liew, 13 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!

She started with Kids of Steel Triathlon and transitioned to train under Team M3X of TRI-AMAteur Triathlon Club, currently a Year 9 student of Tenby International School, Setia Eco Park.