Aaron Buchan

Triumph and Adaptation: A Unique Aquathon Experience

In the exhilarating Aquathon held in January 2024, featuring a challenging 2.5km run, 1km swim (4 loops), and a final 5km run, I found myself navigating a racecourse that not only tested my physical abilities but also led me through a journey of adaptation and strategic planning.

Just a week prior, I achieved a personal best in a gruelling 21km run. Despite the accomplishment, I deliberately scaled back my training leading up to the Aquathon. A decision rooted in the need to recover and rebuild run strength after a serious accident that occurred 11 months ago. This entailed a drastic 70% reduction in cycling hours and a conscious shift towards prioritizing my running and swimming prowess.

The race introduced a new location, departing from the familiar Glenelg Beach and venturing to the other side of Westlakes, where triathlons had been a constant in my life for over a decade. The change in scenery added a unique twist to the event, prompting a warm-up routine that began with a run from home to the transition start. After securely racking my towel, I embraced the comforting waters of the lake for a pre-race swim, revelling in the familiarity and the invigorating touch of saltwater.

As I positioned myself on the starting line for the run, experience forewarned me of the common surge from weekend warriors in the initial 800 meters. Opting for a relaxed and smooth approach, I patiently let them lead, gradually building into a steady 4-minute-per-kilometer pace. The strategy paid off as I began overtaking competitors after the 1.25km turnaround, smoothly transitioning into the water for a rapid T1 process.

Despite a pace not as swift as desired, it positioned me well for the subsequent stages. The second loop presented a new challenge as the wind intensified and rain descended. Undeterred, I adjusted my stroke, maintaining focus and speed during the swim. Exiting the water in a favourable position, I approached the two laps of the run course cautiously, drawing motivation from those ahead to sustain a strong pace.

The burn set in during the second lap, but running alongside a determined group of four encouraged me to push through. The final 500 meters witnessed a surge in pace, overtaking the group, albeit maybe a touch too early. A fellow competitor sprinted the last 100 meters, a concession I willingly made, acknowledging that victory wasn’t in my age group.

Crossing the finish line as the first in my age group brought a sense of accomplishment, proving that adaptation and strategic planning can indeed lead to success. With the next challenge looming on Australia Day at Westlakes, I eagerly anticipate the continued journey of triumph and resilience in the world of Aquathons.


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