Right now I am one day out from TRI Yas held on and around the iconic Abu Dhabi Formula 1 track.
Exactly one year ago TRI YAS was my first “proper” Sprint Triathlon (bar one I competed in when I was 23 and living in Perth, Australia, which was so short it’s not really worth mentioning). It was a very last-minute decision to enter, at the time I didn’t even have a bike and bought one 2 weeks before the race and only rode it 3 times before the event. Looking back I am not really sure what made me decide to enter. Maybe it was the challenge of it? Maybe the idea of pushing myself to do something a bit more extreme and into unknown territory. All I know is that no matter what it was that made me sign up, it was a life changing decision.
There was then a second moment that further concreted my conversion to a life of Triathlon. His name is Omar Nour. Last year at the race briefing and pasta party for TRIYAS, a very lean, fit and exotic man (he has the most amazing hair) took the stage to give a pre-race talk. I remember standing transfixed while he spoke with passion about his transformation from overweight and stressed corporate man, to a mega fit Olympic seeking athlete. I was overcome with emotion (I almost got teary) to hear his enthusiasm for Triathlon and how it completely and utterly changed his life. I was inspired by his dream to compete for his home country Egypt at the Olympic games, and his advise for beginners on how to fit triathlon (and sport in general) into your life. I was sold, line, hook, sinker, bait…all of it.
That was how this whole journey started and for a year I have lived a dream of racing, training and meeting the most amazing people. I have found my hobby, that has become my lifestyle and my identity. It was like finding the fuel for my engine that makes everything else in my life work.
I can’t wait to be there again on Friday afternoon to race the Olympic distance this time round. It will be chance to reflect on how far I have come over the past year (sometimes I forget that I am really only so new to this sport). It will also be a chance to listen to Omar Nour again – and enjoy his passion and love for Triathlon.
If you are racing on Friday, good luck, remember to enjoy every moment of it. Oh and make sure you make it on Thursday night to hear Omar Nour’s pre-race talk – you never know, it just might change your life.
You can follow Omar Nour here: https://www.facebook.com/omarnourtriathlon