Fabio Spiteri overcomes injury to qualify for Ironman 70.3 World Championships
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