It’s far from all about the pros. Tomorrow, thousands of age-groupers will plunge into Kailua Bay to have their own shot at the very pinnacle of age-group triathlon. Becky Hoare is racing in the 18-24 age-group and having her second crack at success on the Big Island after coming so very close to the podium last year. She tells us what it’s like for the racers that the spotlight isn’t on all the time…
It’s your second time at Kona, what’re your aims or expectations for the race?
Before this week where I’ve had a cold, I wanted a podium. Because I was 2mins off last year, and those 2mins – I was in a podium position up until the last 2 miles and then I was walking down Palani and they went past me in the last mile and a half and I just couldn’t stay with them. To be that close, there was 5mins between third and seventh! I’d love a podium but now, I think I’m fit enough, it’s just whether I’m well enough.
So what did you learn from last year’s race that you’ll try and use this time?
Stick to a plan! Definitely stick to a plan. Last year the bike was fine, I stuck to my bike plan and that went fine and then I on the run, I got to the last 6 miles and my coach said when you get out of the Energy Lab, just go for it. And I went for it a little bit too hard. I went past the girls who were then in podium positions and I should have just stayed with them. I went too hard too early, didn’t bother eating or drink for the last hour, probably, and that…yeah. This time I’m gonna keep eating and drinking right up until the last moment!
And your in the Army, right? How does that affect training?
I’ve been very, very lucky. My boss has been brilliant. When I qualified in Bolton [at Ironman UK] he said, ‘that’s it, you can have the time until Kona to do what you want’, completely time off and it was fully paid. So yeah, he’s been really good this year, really good.
There seems to be some serious talent in the Armed Forces tri teams at the moment…
Yeah! Some good guys, really good guys. And none of them will be full time training, everybody’s working full time. The Army tri are really good because they have races every other Wednesday in the summer and it’s like a fiver for entry.
What do you think of the whole Kona experience?
It’s quite daunting. If you’ve got any doubts about your ability then it’ll escalate, bring it out even more. I remember thinking that last year; seeing all these girls and thinking ‘shit, they’re good!’ And that I’d be nowhere near them, but actually I had a good race on the day. You can look good, but it doesn’t mean you’re gonna race well. When you get here, all the hard work’s done so there’s no point… I mean, you look at people and some people are still doing some serious miles. I know a guy that on Tuesday did the whole bike course then Wednesday he did and hour and half run and it’s hard not to get sucked into that and think that I’m not doing enough. But as long as you can switch off, then it’s alright.