Iran’s first female triathlete goes from frustration to smiles at this year’s WTS Grand Final

After a long and nerve-wracking wait, Shirin Gerami finally gets permission to race in Edmonton – and comes away beaming


A few seconds can mean so much. It can mean getting to the podium and winning after years of dreaming. It can mean that new PB, achieved after months of fantasising. Or it could be those seconds carelessly spent procrastinating – seconds which slip past unnoticed. Time can mean both so much and so little.

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Rewind four days before my race, and I questioned the meaning and power of time; questioned the limits of hoping and dreaming. Two days before the race, I was walking around the race venue in Edmonton, disorientated and tired.

I was still unsure if I would receive the final confirmations from the authorities in time for my race. As the fourth day drew to an end, the night before my race, I went to bed wondering whether I was mad to still believe in the power of prayer and believing, whether I should start being realistic.

But I had underestimated the meaning of time. I woke up on race day to find a message from my federation allowing me to race… and so I raced.

It is simply incredible to race! That first dive in the water, cooling down those emotions that had been boiling inside. The excitement on the bike and chasing (or at least attempting to chase) wheels; with the wind blowing away the fatigue. The rhythmic sound of heavy breathing during the run; the spectators giving so much energy, carving the biggest smile on my face; being with all the amazing athletes… I am so lucky to have been there.

We each come from different backgrounds, face different challenges, and all have different stories of how we got to our race. A journey mixed with tears and laughter, moments of helplessness and hope, moments of doubt… but never ceasing to believe.

Frankly, I appreciate my journey just as it was. Grateful for each and every challenge as each has helped me grow and made me realise how much I take things for granted – whether it’s having a healthy, functioning body, the unwavering love of the people around me, or the ability and joy of participating in sport. I am not pleased with my time; I know I can do better. But here’s to another dream, which will need yet more time – and a lot of hard work!

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Thank you to everyone who helped, believed, and supported me so generously – without that it would have not been possible. It was an amazing race – thank you for having me, Edmonton!