We are just over a week away from the start of the 2019 ITU World Triathlons Grand Final in Lausanne and as many of our athletes are starting their journey to Switzerland we thought we would introduce a few of them to you.
Meet Michelle and Greg Manning from Secret Harbour. Members of the Rockingham Tri Club, they are both heading to Switzerland to compete in the Sprint World Championships. With 2 young boys, 8 and 6, it is quite a challenge for both parents to be preparing for such a big event.
Who got involved in triathlon first? When did you both start racing?
Greg: I got into triathlons first and started doing sprint races around 13 years ago, which was a way of staying fit after I finished playing rugby. In 2016 I did my first full Ironman and from that point triathlon became my main sporting focus, culminating in me qualifying for the ITU Age Group World Champs last year on the Gold Coast. I absolutely loved the whole experience. A World Championship event is very special.
Michelle enjoyed the week too, as she was there supporting me. So we decided we would both aim to get to Lausanne this year. Mich has only been doing triathlons for 2 years now, after coming from a swimming and long distance running background. She has already completed her first full Ironman in December last year and now qualified for Age Group World Champs too.
Where did you qualify for Lausanne?
Michelle: We both qualified at the WA State Championships at Australia Day Triathlon in January. The last time Greg competed in this specific race, I was nine months pregnant with our eldest son and went into labour while Greg was on the bike leg. I managed to hang on until he finished, and we made a mad dash to the hospital where Matt was born not long after. We have not competed in this race again until this year as we normally have a birthday party to celebrate on the 26th January!
What are the challenges with both of you training for the World Champs?
Greg: This is a hot topic at the beginning of the season and involves a lot of negotiation (heated at times) until our training plans are finalised and posted up on the fridge. I work fulltime and Mich does 4 days a week, so we only have early mornings and evenings to get the training in. Throw in a couple of kids with their own sporting and school commitments, and it's a real juggling act, which we somehow manage to get done. I do quite a bit of my bike training indoors and start brick sessions around 8pm at night which is not ideal but is necessary to get the training in. Mich is more of a morning person and is out training at 5am most days.
What are you most looking forward to about Lausanne?
Greg: I read an article by a fellow age grouper who rated Lausanne as his favourite World Championship event and he had done about 20, so I think we picked a good one. I'm really looking forward to proudly wearing the Green and Gold again for the parade of nations, which is as close to an Olympic experience that us mere mortals will ever get to at this stage of our lives. The whole atmosphere of the week is electric as triathletes basically take over the town. Everywhere you look there are competitors and pros cycling, running and swimming, proudly wearing their National team colours. Last year we bumped into some of my favourite pros in coffee shops, at the pool and on training sessions. It's hundreds of likeminded people in one place and the buzz around town is indescribable.
Will there be a holiday afterwards?
Michelle: We arrive the week before the race and are staying with friends in France to acclimatise before heading to Lausanne. After our race, we will head back to France for another few days before returning to Perth. We are very fortunate to have Greg's parents fly out from South Africa to babysit our two boys while we embark on this adventure together. It is going to be good to enjoy some cheese and wine in the Alps after all the sacrifices we have made training these past months!
We wish the Mannings and all the athletes competing in Lausanne the best of luck. Go Aussie!