The Triathlon New Zealand Age-Group competition offers all Tri NZ members a unique opportunity to qualify for and compete at International level in Triathlon and Multi-Sport events. Athletes who make the team can be proud to represent New Zealand and enjoy the experience of racing at a World Triathlon Championship event. Age Group Experience Manager, Mel Saltiel, will lead the Tri NZ team to the 2024 World Championships in Townsville. Over 200 athletes will be participating in a variety of events including Sprint and Standard Duathlon, Cross Triathlon and Cross Duathlon, Aquathlon, Long Distance Triathlon, and Aquabike.

Meet Sharon Prutton, the Canterbury Triathlon club member who has taken part in the 2022 World Triathlon Championships in Abu Dhabi and will go on to represent Tri NZ at the 2024 World Championships in Townsville. We recently caught up with Sharon to hear her Spotlight story.

Sharon Prutton, 70 - 74 Age Group athlete

Sharon, you have an impressive journey into Triathlon, tell us how it started for you?

“After a season of local Tri’s, I first competed in the World XTerra Triathlon championships in 2009 winning a Gold, followed by a repeat the following year. At this time I was very new to competitive swimming having had more of a running and multi-sport background. 

I went on to compete in the 2011 Snowfarm OTU Winter Triathlon Oceania Championships placing 7th and the 2016 Snowy Mountains ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships placing 2nd in the 65 – 69 Age Group”.

Across sports you have competed in some pretty cool races, what is your favorite race that you’ve competed in?

“The one that stands out the most was the World Cycling championships in Denmark in 2014. I had some good form, won the rainbow jerseys in both the Time Trial and Road Race, had some good friends on tour and Marc my son was over there watching it too. The 2022 World Triathlon championships in Abu Dhabi was also a blast, winning two golds in the Sprint and Standard distance Tri for my age”

What’s your ‘day job’ outside of triathlon, and how do you balance it with your training and racing goals?

“I am retired so that makes it easy for me to find time for training. Having lots of friends in the same situation gives me plenty of training buddies. Having eight grandchildren which I love spending time and watching them play their own sport gives me a real kick.”

Is there anyone who has inspired you to pursue triathlon? Are there athletes you admire and think, “Wow, you’re amazing”?

My son Marc Prutton. He is a professional coach himself and has supported me enthusically for the last 15 years through all my Road cycling, Mountain biking and Triathlon adventures. Always throwing new challenges out there for me to try achieve. He has also been a successful Cyclist and Triathlete himself and the way he inspires and motivates people is amazing.

You have represented Tri NZ most recently at the 2022 World Championships in Abu Dhabi, winning two Gold Medals! What do you consider the best thing about representing the Tri NZ Age Group Team?

‘Having the support of the Tri NZ Age Group team is great and being able to support the other team members is very special. I think it is more motivating being part of a team, especially when you are representing your country. Having a team manager helping with the organisation and logistical side of things makes it a dream.’

What’s your top tip for those who are new to Age Group triathlon and do you have any specific goals for the future?

‘My advice for new comers to Triathlon is to enjoy the whole experience of training, travel and the competition. Try to keep injury free as sometimes the hardest part is to get to the start line.

For myself, trying to keep injury free, especially with my running is always a big focus for me. The multisport World Championships in Townsville will be my next adventure. Plenty of smaller running and cycling events along the way.’

Finally, I am sure you will inspire many of us to compete in a Triathlon at some point, can you share a piece of wisdom that you’ve gained from your triathlon journey?

“Don’t let the old lady in” its something I live by.’

For more information on the World Triathlon Multisport Championships Townsville visit here.

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