By Kent Gray/Triathlon.kiwi
Hobbled by a torn hamstring sustained in a gumboot throwing contest (you read that right) and the atrocious Oxford spring weather, Richard Jack’s only thought during November’s OxMan mid distance triathlon was to make it to the finish line and get out of Dodge.
Exactly zero thoughts were given to qualifying for the World Triathlon Age-Group Multisport Championship in Ibiza, partly because it was so miserably wet and cold and taking “forever”, but mostly because Jack was none the wiser to the opportunity of representing New Zealand on the global stage.
Fast forward to the present day and the Christchurch commercial sales manager finds himself an unwitting poster boy, at 53 years young, for entering one or more of Tri NZ’s Suzuki NZ-sponsored national championship series events.
His is a tale of what might be for athletes set to contest the iconic Tauranga Half and the Aquabike (mid distance) races at Saturday’s Fulton Hogan Mount Festival of Multisport and/or the Cross Triathlon or Aquabike (also mid distance) at the Integrity Homes Challenge Wanaka Festival on February 18.
In Jack’s case, his Oxman effort will see him line up in at least the Long Distance (3km swim, 120km bike, 30km) and Aquathlon (1km swim, 5km) races at the April 29-May 7 Multisport worlds in the Spanish party capital of Ibiza. All of which has come as a complete shock.
“I’ve been in and around triathlon for 10 years but hadn’t been involved at the club level so didn’t get the newsletters that tend to give you all that sort of information, all the qualifying times,” Jack told Triathlon.kiwi.
“So I didn’t know it was even on the table. I was actually sitting on the phone [post event] talking to a customer when an email [from Tri NZ] popped up. I suddenly lost concentration in what the customer was on about…so, yeah, a nice surprise.”
After securing his wife’s blessing, the time off work and a “bit of sponsorship” to cover his airfares, Jack is now aiming to get his niggly right hamstring to cooperate with his training schedule for Spain. He’s put his original plan of again contesting Challenge Wanaka on ice and will be also take it easy biffing size 8 gumboots for fun too, although the nationals at the New Zealand Rural Games in Palmerston North in March might be too much fun to pass up.
Jack sustained the injury en route to winning the South Island Gumboot Throwing Championship, at the Canterbury AMP Show just before OxMan, for the second time in three years. It’s a secret passion that underlines the competitiveness he’ll take with him to Ibiza.
“I’m not going to be the guy who finishes first but I will be the guy who leaves everything out there and has an amazing time,” he said.
“You don’t know what next year will bring, if you’ll get very many other opportunities to represent New Zealand, be in an amazing team in an amazing part of the world so you’ve got to take the opportunity.
“I also talked to someone who has been to a World Triathlon event before and they said it’s a pretty competitive environment, a really good time and something I’ll never forget.”
To compete at World Triathlon events, New Zealand representatives must have a Tri NZ membership. That’s good news for Canterbury Triathlon Club who will soon have a new member as Jack intends getting his Tri NZ membership with a hearty dollop of comradery.
“I’ve been meaning to do it for a while and it will be quite nice associating with like-minded people.”
If you’re interested in joining a club, check out the ‘Find a Club” page on triathlon.kiwi
Fancy racing the World Triathlon Age Group Multisport Championships in Ibiza?
If you’re racing either the Mount Festival or Challenge Wanaka and fancy joining Jack and the rest of the New Zealand team in Ibiza, remember to get your selection Nomination Form into Tri NZ no later than 48 hours after the event.
You can do that here: 2023 World Triathlon Age Group Selection Nomination Form
Then, once your place is confirmed by Tri NZ Age Group Selection Committee, it’s a simple matter of paying the team admin fee ($325), purchasing your World Tri-approved NZ team uniform (from $350), the mandatory Race Day insurance from Aon (price on application) and the appropriate World Triathlon race/s entry free (from US$350 approx). Don’t worry, the Tri NZ team will step you through everything that needs to be done.
Official Tri NZ Travel partner House of Travel offers the best flights and accommodation deals with the only other athlete requirement a short Drug Free Sport New Zealand education course to be completed online.
Athletes qualify for World Triathlon events by winning their age group at Suzuki NZ national or secondary qualifiers and by finishing within 10 percent of the winner’s time, as was the case for Jack who still secretly cringes at his 7:31:45 effort at OxMan
“I got my money’s worth, for sure,” Jack says with the rueful reflection of a “rough day” of racing in Oxford.
Thankfully, he also got a whole lot more than he bargained for. Watch out Ibiza!
Footnote: Athletes can lodge a Special Circumstances Application (SCA) to the Tri NZ Age Group Selection Committee if they underperform at a selection event due to extenuating circumstances, or if they are unable to attend a national or secondary qualifier.
Each application carries a non-refundable $100 fee and does not guarantee selection. Proof of previous results is required with each SCAs.
Lodge a Special Circumstances Application (SCA) here.
If you have any questions or need more information, don’t hesitate to contact Tri NZ Community Manager Mel Saltiel at email@example.com.
And, just in case you were wondering, there are three World Triathlon Championships to aim for in 2023:
World Triathlon Multisport Championship, Ibiza, Spain (April 29-May 7)
World Triathlon Sprint Distance and Mixed Relay Championship, Hamburg, Germany (July 13-16)
World Triathlon Standard Distance and Super Sprint Championship, Pontevedra, Spain (Sept. 22-24)
Check out the Tri NZ Events Calendar here for all the upcoming Suzuki NZ National Championship and Secondary qualifiers.