Recog­ni­tion after years of wel­com­ing win­ners

Noosa Life and Style - - NEWS - PE­TER GAR­DINER

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.

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