JOY TRIS AND TRIS
Recognition after years of welcoming winners
THIRTY-three years of smiles for the Noosa Multi Sports Triathlon winners – and everyone else – has Joy van Zetten finally recognised with a special medal.
Over the past 33 years of the Noosa Tri, literally hundreds of thousands of athletes have met Joy van Zetten but very few – only the Noosa locals – would know her name. Every year since 1985, Joy has been at the Noosa Tri but she’s never run, swum or cycled. Instead, she’s smiled … welcoming literally hundreds of thousands of athletes as one of the volunteer meet and greeters. They have all experienced her smile, encouragement, occasional good natured ribbing and a welcome hosing down, as they power, pound or walk towards the glory of finishing the best triathlon on the planet. “I wasn’t involved in the very original Noosa Tri,” Joy said. “I think I got involved in the third one. Until recently I was a very keen netballer and way back I was very involved with the Noosa Netball Association and the president, and was involved in the Lions Club. “It has been a few years, so after a few of us racking our brains, we have come to the conclusion that common denominator for the involvement of volunteers at the triathlon was the Lions Club.” Joy has done a bit of everything over that 33 years. “I am a very community spirited person but I don’t go overboard. I am not a martyr or anything like that. I guess it started with my love of sport. “For many years netball did all of the water stations and
I used to round up 80 people to man five or six water stations. We did that until the logistics of getting 80 people from one association became impossible. “I was on the triathlon committee for many years, eventually working with the volunteers co-ordinator Ted Irvine and we ended up finding other charity or sporting groups to do the other stations. “Having recruited half my neighbourhood to help out at the Tri, these days the local netballers only do one station,” she said. “It is a massively different event ... to the early days. “The very first race I can remember distinctly was walking down from our unit to the Lions Park with a hose and a bucket. “I connected up the hose and my job was to dunk the revolting sponges into the water and pass them out to the athletes. The athletes dropped them on the road, so we would pick them up and recycle them.” Joy and her team do what they do best … love life and offer a helping hand. “We curse it (the Tri) on the day because it is hard work and we always finish saying, ‘We may as well run the bloody triathlon ourselves’, with all the lifting, carrying and handing out but we have made it fun over the years,” she said. “We enjoy ourselves. We call out silly things and tell the athletes they are doing well and of course we know a lot of the athletes, so we give them cheek. “We just help them through their day.” This year Joy was inducted into the Noosa Triathlon Walk of Fame, joining the likes of the late Garth Prowd, who established the annual event. Joy said she was a bit embarrassed at being inducted into the Walk of Fame alongside elite athletes, or special people such as Mr Prowd. “This is something for Hollywood, not for me – Joy from Noosa Heads,” she said.
It is a massively different event ... to the early days. — JOY VAN ZETTEN
Aaron Royle wins the men’s Noosa Triathlon 2018.
Joy van Zeeten, right, with her Walk of Fame award, with race legend Emma Frodeno.