Born again athletes
THREE months ago Fiona Thomme and Fiona Fewtrell were complete triathlon novices.
Now they are two weeks away from facing their first long distance triathlon – the Hervey Bay 100.
Team ‘Fionas’ were winners of Multisport Mecca’s Build an Athlete competition which is dedicated to giving rookies a leg-up into the tri-sport.
Training began during August under the guidance of Jason Crowther of Atlas Multisports. John Carey of Cycle Zone Mooloolaba provided bike fits to ensure they had the correct set-up on the bike, while Allez
Sport’s David Chick provided the 2XU kits to ensure they are race-ready.
The race includes a 2km swim, 80km cycle and an 18km run.
While Fewtrell, 32, has undertaken the sprint-distance tri at Caloundra, this will be the first race for Thomme, 42.
“I’m starting to feel a lot more confident as the training intensifies. I still have a few things I’d like to do more work on before we get there, but I’m looking forward to seeing how I go,” Thomme said.
“About a month ago, I aggravated an old calf tear and it has impacted my running training a bit. On the plus side, it has allowed me to concentrate more on the other two disciplines which I have less experience in, so it’s not all bad. Coach Jason has been great giving me some lower-impact activities to keep me going.”
While maintaining a reasonable level of fitness, Fewtrell said not having any goals in the past hadn’t inspired her to meet new challenges.
“I was just being active for the sake of being active,” Fewtrell said.
“It’s so much easier to get out of bed on those early mornings when you have a goal or purpose. Having HB100 on the horizon has really fuelled a fire. I’m even waking up before my alarm most days, and absolutely love getting out there and doing my training.
“I’m feeling really pumped. And not just me, my whole family is coming to cheer me on. Everyone is just as excited as I am.”
Like most athletes, the extra sessions have seen changes to routines as well as navigating their way past comfort zones.
For Thomme, she has managed to balance full-time work at Sunshine Coast Council, kids’ activities and sport as well as life in general.
“It’s surprising what you can get done when you have to. I love the variety and the challenge. The best thing about it has been all the support and encouragement from the other athletes we’ve been training with,” she said.
“Getting out past the breakers for the first time in my life was my biggest accomplishment. Never, ever thought I would be doing that.”
As for Fewtrell, her greatest battle was on the bike.
“Riding up to Montville for sure. Looking at that on paper was scary as hell. But once we got started it was actually a really lovely ride,” she said
“Training in the rain was a challenge. Having to do long hours on a wind-trainer and treadmill was horrible. Good mentally I suppose, but still horrible.”
It’s the second year in succession that Multisport Mecca has staged the competition.
Last year’s winners, Helen Greenfield and Glenn Petrie, successfully completed the race. While Petrie has battled injury this year, Greenfield finished her first 70.3 Sunshine Coast in August and will return to Hervey Bay again this year.
“The Fionas have both finished half marathons in recent times but this was a big step up in commitment,” Mecca editor Grant Edwards said.
“To see how far they have come in a short time is testament to their dedication.
“They are the perfect example of how with the right guidance and help, you can reach athletic goals no matter how daunting they first seem.”
It seems they both have been bitten by the triathlon bug.
Fewtrell is under pressure from friends to race at Port Macquarie’s 70.3 next year, and Thomme, while looking forward to dropping back the intensity, has “already started sussing out a few events for 2019”.
EXCITING TIMES: Fiona Thomme and Fiona Fewtrell won the Multisport Mecca ‘Build an Athlete’ competition which has seen them given expert guidance toward next month’s Hervey Bay 100.