Rich and I are now in our second month of full time triathlon training and have been overwhelmed by the positivity and support received. We felt the timing was right to explain a bit more in detail what we mean by our “One Year To Go Pro” challenge as we start to share our story beyond just our friends and family.
In the process of doing so, there have been a few negative ninnies (unfortunately trolls are all over the internet these days and it comes with the territory of putting yourself out there on social media). So, we just wanted to clarify that we aren’t arrogantly assuming we will make it as professionals within the year and undermining the calibre of current triathletes.
Our story is a positive one. We are both passionate about triathlon and want to chase our dreams to make a living doing the thing that we love. Triathlon is such a positive community and one of the reasons that I fell in love with it was because of the way that triathletes encourage and boost each other. Your competitors are cheering for you, despite it being an individual sport.
With Rich as my coach, I started seeing amazing improvements and won my age group at Xiamen Ironman 70.3. Some people dream of travelling the world, some people want to settle down with a house and kids. Rich and I had the somewhat niche dream of saving enough money that we could train full time as triathletes without the distraction of a full time job or other commitments. We handed in our notice at work and came up with the “One Year To Go Pro” challenge. We calculated that, with our savings, we could probably afford to give ourselves a year to really give it our best shot.
So here we are in our second month and we have already learnt so much and enjoyed the process thoroughly. It has been incredible to focus daily on our shared passion and we feel very lucky to be doing so.
We are not at a professional level. We are only in our second month. We have so much respect for professional triathletes and are in no way suggesting that anyone can just turn around and achieve the incredible things they are doing week in week out. A year is an incredibly ambitious time frame and potentially completely outside the realms of possibility for our dreams of qualifying.
However, every triathlete started somewhere. We discovered it later in life and love it so we want to see what we can achieve if we give it our absolute all. To quote Ironman, “Anything IS possible” and big success usually does involve big risk. We don’t think we are going to magically transform into Brownlee and Charles Barclay overnight. We appreciate the long road to success they have journeyed. We are not undermining the hard work, grit and determination it takes to become a successful pro (in this sport or any). In fact if anything, this challenge makes us appreciate it all the more. Our current training schedule has already brought about blood, sweat and tears so we know how hard we are going to have to work.
To become a professional triathlete you have to prove you can compete at a certain standard. There are a few different rules here but the main way to qualify is to either come within a certain percentage of the winning professional time in a race. In Ironman triathlons, you can also qualify by winning as an amateur at the annual World Championship.
If money grew on trees, we might be able to continue indefinitely. Our one year challenge gives us an initial time frame we can afford to live without a fixed salary and gives us our first big goal. At the end of that year we will have to stop and re assess. It is always better to look back and know you have tried, than look back with regret and think what could have been. In the meantime we are going to keep sharing our love of triathlon, keep inspiring each other to be brave and chase dreams, keep sharing and learning from the triathlon community and hopefully inspire a few other people along the way.