Triath­lete Lara But­tigieg rep­re­sents Malta at Xterra World Cham­pi­onships

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Lara But­tigieg’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the 2016 Xterra World Cham­pi­onships saw her travel from one small is­land in the Mediter­ranean to the larger is­land of Maui in Hawaii.

Ap­pro­pri­ately known as the Aloha state,Maui wel­comed over 800 ath­letes from all over the world forXterra, the world’s fore­most off-road triathlon. Com­bin­ing a 1.5km swim, a 32km moun­tain bike of­froad track that sees ath­letes climb 3,500 feet up and down the lower slopes of the West Maui Moun­tains and a 10.5km trail run travers­ing for­est trails and beach sand.

Malta’s own Lara But­tigieg (Agones SFC) was on the start­ing line of the Xterra World Cham­pi­onships, hav­ing qual­i­fied to take part fol­low­ing her per­for­mance in the re­cently held Xterra Italy. On race day, But­tigieg had to con­tend with3 me­tre waves, a muddy off-road cycling route and a very steep run.

The huge waves and strong cur­rents were a stark con­trast to the sea con­di­tions ath­letes are nor­mally used to in Malta. De­scrib­ing the swim sim­i­lar to be­ing in a wash­ing ma­chine, But­tigieg and the rest of the swim­mers found them­selves be­ing car­ried un­der the mas­sive waves. But­tigieg fared well in this seg­ment com­ing out of the wa­ter fourth in her cat­e­gory.

Whilst But­tigieg sharp­ened her off-road cycling skills in prepa­ra­tion for this race, the muddy ter­rain, a re­sult of thirty-six hours of in­ces­sant rain, saw her in­ex­pe­ri­ence make her lose pre­cious time. But­tigieg had to, fre­quently pause her progress to walk with the bike as well as stop to re­move the mud that was block­ing her wheels. Some time was gained in the down­hill part of this seg­ment, which saw But­tigieg dash through the wind­ing down­hills.

Keep­ing a strong fo­cus on the 10.5km run, half of which was through hilly ter­rain, But­tigieg made the most of the 5km down­hill part re­sult­ing in her­fly­ing to the fin­ish line to com­plete the race in re­spectable sev­enth place.

“This race was cer­tainly some­thing out of my com­fort zone and some seg­ments came a bit of a shock to me, how­ever I kept my fo­cus through­out and though fin­ished 7th in a pool of 10 ath­letes. I am cer­tainly proud to have been through this ex­pe­ri­ence and can say that I raced like never be­fore, “en­thused But­tigieg af­ter the race. “Rac­ing and meet­ing up with com­peti­tors from around the globe as well as at­tend­ing some very in­ter­est­ing clin­ics by Xterra were also a high­light of this trip”.

But­tigieg who trains with the Elite Sports Triathlon Train­ing team man­aged by Danica Bonello Spi­teri, ex­pressed her grat­i­tude to­wards Bonello Spi­teri for her coach­ing ad­vice, club Agones SFC as well as Ni­umee Clin­ics and Joseph But­tigieg who as­sisted But­tigieg in her prepa­ra­tion for these Cham­pi­onships as well as the Malta Triathlon Fed­er­a­tion for the sup­port given.

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