ITU World Championships: A Triathlon Festival (by Chris Bright)

Peddie School science teacher Chris Bright has qualified for and is in the midst of training for the 2012 Triathlon World Championships this month in Auckland, New Zealand. He has been blogging about his training experiences at Chasing the Haka. Below is an excerpt of his blog post on October 7. 

ITU World Championships = lots of races in a weekend, with the fun beginning on Saturday the 20th. My race is on Monday the 22nd, more on that a bit later. First, here is a little info on the ITU and some of the nuts and bolts of what is happening throughout the weekend. The ITU is the International Triathlon Union, the sport's organizing body. USA Triathlon is the US affiliate of the ITU. National governing bodies sanction and oversee the amateur and professional races for their respective countries, and once each year, each country hosts a national qualifier for amateurs for the annual World Championships. The World Championships move around each year, as do the national qualifiers held in each country. I qualified for Worlds at the 2011 USAT National Championships, held in Burlington, VT, in August of 2011.

Now, what is slick about the ITU is that they also oversee the professional or elite, racing circuit. So each year, at the ITU World Champs, not only are there amateur races, but also professional races as well. These men and women are amazing athletes. Some are world-class swimmers, bikers, and runners in their own right. The elites, or professionals, will race in Auckland on the 20th and 21st on the same course us amateurs race on on the 22nd. Many of the elites are fresh off of the London Games and will be absolutely flying. The distance they race is 1.5km swim, 40km bike, and 10km run, otherwise known as the Olympic distance. No surprise, right?

The race I will be doing is specifically referred to as a sprint distance race, which is half of the Olympic distance race; 750m swim, 20km bike, and a 5km run. So yes, there were TWO national qualifiers in Burlington last August, one for the Olympic distance, and one for the sprint distance. So in essence, the US is sending multiple teams to to Auckland to compete. The amateurs competing in the sprint and Olympic distance races are collectively referred to as 'age-groupers' and the professionals are referred to as elites. Once the elites are through with their racing, it will be time for us, the age-groupers, to compete. My race starts at 6.55A on Monday, October 22nd, with the Olympic distance race starting around 8.00A I believe. I do not know which wave I am in, and will post that ASAP. If I've got my time zones right (Auckland is 17 hours ahead of east coast time), the sprint race will start at approximately 2.00P on Sunday. So - if you would like to follow live, I believe is the site that will carry timing, text, and a finish line camera for the amateurs. I am not certain this coverage will include the sprint race, at a minimum it will cover the Olympic distance race. I'll blog any additional info on live coverage I uncover. 

Thanks for reading, I'll add a post or two before I leave and then resume, pending some kind of connection, once in NZ.


  1. Now there's something worth leaving home for. Just the thought of being up against that many people is more than enough motivation to get my old competitive juices boiling again.


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