Most of us started in this sport for similar reasons; to have fun, meet new people, get fit, try something new or challenge ourselves…. As we progress in the sport those reasons can shift, take shape, and form into something more. Why we train every day and why we race start to have different meanings and can become extremely powerful and heartfelt. Some athletes even find themselves in a position to be able to race not just for themselves, but for a bigger cause.
We recently caught up with CPC athlete Margaret Mielczarek as she races towards the Half Ironman World Championships for a reason far bigger than chasing her own goals. Read on to find out what racing at the Half Ironman World Championships now means for athlete Margs.
CPC: You’ve been in the sport for a while now, what got you started?
Margs: After taking part in fun runs for a few years I got bored of ‘just running’ so I decided to buy a road bike and signed up to my first mini tri in Elwood. It was possibly the hardest thing I had ever done but I was hooked! It was love at first sight and I haven’t looked back since! 🙂
CPC: And what keeps you going now?
Margs: I am addicted to the feeling you get after a hard workout/training session. I love being fit and healthy, and knowing I can go out for a 10km run at lunchtime like it’s no big deal is awesome. I also have some big goals I want to tick off in this sport, first one being the Ironman (IM) 70.3 World Championships (I qualified in Busso last year) in South Africa this year. Getting to Kona one day would be a dream as well. I don’t think I’ll stop until I get there … even if that means doing tri until I’m 80 and the last one left in my age group! haha.
CPC: Your passion for triathlon also extends into your professional career, for those who don’t know, what does your job involve?
Margs: I’m Deputy Editor at Australian Triathlete magazine … the number one triathlete magazine in the country 🙂 I LOVE my job! I’m so lucky because I literally get to live and breathe this sport! My role is pretty diverse, which is great. I write, cover races, coordinate freelance writers and contributors; this is just to name a few things that I do.
CPC: Triathlon has also taken you around the world, what has been your favourite memory to date?
Margs: Hands down – Kona, Hawaii. I’ve been there twice (or is that three times…?) and I love it. I love the Big Island – the vibe, the people, and, of course the Ironman. My favourite memory of the Big Island is the Kona Undie Run – so much fun. If you ever get the chance to be in Kona for the Ironman make sure you do the Undie Run … it is the best!
CPC: You’ve had some big changes in the last few months, including a new coach, how are you finding things?
Margs: The last couple of months have been massive. Without going into too much detail my life has completely changed and I’ve had to re-adjust to a whole new routine … Long story short I moved back home just before Christmas. So, because I’m now no longer living so close to training and work I had to reconsider my training/coaching options. After deliberating all of my options, I decided to approach Sarah at CPC about a personalised program leading into the IM 70.3 World Championships. Sarah was my coach when I first started in triathlon and we work really well together – she gets me 🙂 So I new it would work and would be a great fit, and so far I’m absolutely loving it!
I do most of my training on my own (to make it work around my job, commute and other commitments) so it’s brilliant knowing my program is tailored around my lifestyle and commitments. Also, knowing that Sarah can see whether or not I’ve completed my set training session (ah, the beauty of being on Training Peaks) is a major motivator! I definitely don’t want to leave any sessions ‘red’ when I know coach is watching haha! Also, because I’ve known and have been friends with Sarah for years … she knows all my weaknesses and my excuses, and knows how to kick my butt into gear when I get lazy or fall off the wagon.
CPC: Despite the lead in (read more on that here), you had a great race at Ironman Busselton 70.3 in December last year and secured yourself a place at the 70.3 World Champs in September, congrats!
Margs: PINCH. ME. This sort of thing does not happen to me! I had planned to compete (read: participate) in the Ironman at Busso but unfortunately due to some significant medical issues I had to pull out of the full. I was lucky to get an entry to the 70.3 but I was still undecided whether I’d actually race until literally the morning of the event – it was dependent on how I felt on the day. I decided to race on the proviso that I would take it easy (the goal was just to roll around the course and enjoy it) and pull out if I felt unwell. Anyway, fast forward a few hours that day and all of a sudden I found myself standing on the stage, accepting a spot to the IM 70.3 World Championships! Ahh-mazing! South Africa here I come!
CPC: But the world champs are more than just a race for you now, tell us a bit more…
Margs: Sadly, recently someone very, very dear to me was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. To witness someone so close to you having to go through the realisation and all the emotions that come with it is heartbreaking. So I’ve decided it’s time to give back and to use this sport for a greater good. I’m not just going to be racing for myself, I’ll be racing for those close to me, and all those devastated by cancer. So my goal is to raise at least $3000 for the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation (OCRF) leading into worlds in September. Cancer of any sort is devastating for all those it effects, so it’s time to say a big FU to cancer!
CPC: How can others support your cause?
Margs: That’s super easy. I’ll be sharing my journey along the way,so you can follow me, and make a donation. All you have to do is click here – any donation, big or small, is very much appreciated and means a lot – every little bit helps!
For more on the OCRF, visit – ocrf.com.au
What a powerful reason to continue to strive for her own goals, while helping a cause now extremely close to her own heart. We all wish Margs a great lead in, and health and happiness to those close to her and all those affected by cancer.
CLICK HERE TO DONATE and support Margs cause.