Fabio Spi­teri over­comes in­jury to qual­ify for Iron­man 70.3 World Cham­pi­onships

Malta Independent - - SPORT - Maria Vella-Galea

With a nag­ging calf in­jury sidelin­ing vet­eran en­durance triath­lete Fabio Spi­teri for most of the sea­son, com­plet­ing Iron­man 70.3 Rü­gen, Ger­many was a tar­get Spi­teri had set for him­self af­ter hav­ing to stop in Tra­pani and de­liv­er­ing a slow run in Texas, ear­lier on this year. Spi­teri, who hails from an ath­let­ics back­ground, turned his fo­cus to en­durance and long dis­tance triathlons since 2008 and has col­lected an im­pres­sive CV of races and re­sults. This year, in­jury set him back with Spi­teri barely run­ning for four­teen weeks. When one con­sid­ers that an Iron­man 70.3 Triathlon con­sists of a 1.9km swim, a 90km cy­cle and a 21km run, lay­ing off run­ning for 14 weeks is def­i­nitely not con­ducive to achiev­ing the good re­sults Spi­teri is used to. De­ter­mined to pro­duce a good per­for­mance in the swim and cy­cle seg­ment, with the hope of sur­viv­ing the run, Spi­teri went with a ‘hope for the best’ at­ti­tude. The is­land of Rü­gen, in the Baltic Sea pro­vided a per­fect venue with calm wa­ters, clean closed roads and ap­pro­pri­ate weather con­di­tions. Rac­ing in the 40-44 Age Group, which is con­sid­ered to be one of the most com­pet­i­tive age groups, Spi­teri had to con­tend with an­other 87 de­ter­mined ath­letes. In the swim seg­ment, Spi­teri was fast, emerg­ing out of the water in tenth place. As was the plan, a strong per­for­mance on the bike saw him move up to sixth place. It was now crunch time for Spi­teri who had to con­tend with a sur­pris­ingly hilly run route, which saw all com­peti­tors slow their pace. A calm and con­cen­trated ap­proach saw Spi­teri set­tled in a good tempo whilst at the time at­tempt­ing to re­tain his po­si­tion. This strat­egy re­sulted in Spi­teri com­plet­ing the race in fifth place, the best ever re­sult for Spi­teri in such a race. Spi­teri’s re­sults saw him se­cure a qual­i­fi­ca­tion for the Iron­man 70.3 World Cham­pi­onships which will be held in Chat­tanooga, USA. This will be Spi­teri’s first par­tic­i­pa­tion in these Cham­pi­onships and he will be join­ing fel­low triath­lete Michelle Vella Wood who se­cured her place ear­lier on this sum­mer. “This qual­i­fi­ca­tion came as a to­tal sur­prise, es­pe­cially af­ter hav­ing such a dis­ap­point­ing and chal­leng­ing sea­son. I went to Rü­gen with a big ques­tion mark, though I did my best to ap­proach it in the best pos­si­ble man­ner un­der the cir­cum­stances. I was lucky to have con­di­tions in my favour es­pe­cially the mid­morn­ing start as I do not like rac­ing too early in the morn­ing,” said an elated Spi­teri shortly af­ter the race. “My next race abroad will be Chal­lenge Sardegna, which is on the same dis­tances as this and there I will be aim­ing for a podium plac­ing in my cat­e­gory” Spi­teri’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in Iron­man 70.3 Rü­gen was made pos­si­ble through the as­sis­tance of Garmin Malta, Wheel Wiz­ard (Malta),Go&Fun Green En­ergy Drink Malta, Mochika - Out­door Life, Festina Watches, Spe­cial eyes Op­ti­cians and Kinetika. Malta was also rep­re­sented by Josef Bon­avia, Ken­neth Camil­leri, Pio Vas­sallo and Glen Zam­mit as well as Ja­son De­bono, who em­barked his first out­ing at an Iron­man 70.3 race. All ath­letes, who train un­der Spi­teri’s guid­ance, reg­is­tered strong times.

Fabio Spi­teri turned to long dis­tance triathlon in 2008

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