I remember when I set my sights on coming to the World Duathlon Championships. It was just an idea at the time, almost three years ago. My thought was that after turning 40 I might, just might, be good enough to qualify for the World Championships in the sport of Duathlon as a Masters athlete.At the time I was only running, having put aside triathlon a few years earlier and keeping too busy to compete in three sports. There were some fits and starts to the process and it took an extra year, but finally I got myself to the National Duathlon Championship in Arizona this April and qualified for the World Championship. After more detours through a season spent preparing for the World Masters Athletics (Track and Field) Championships, I finally made the commitment to come and compete here in Spain. Now, on the eve of the race, I can tell you that this has been quite an adventure.
There are a lot of firsts in this adventure for me: the first time that I’ve traveled to a foreign country to compete in a multi-sport event; the first time that I’ve traveled to a sporting event as part of an officially organized national team; and the first time that I’ve gone to an event without knowing a single person that would be on the trip with me. With all that in mind, this past week in Spain has been a tremendous experience with some of the nicest people that I’ve met anywhere.
Qualifying for the World Championships
Before even loading the first airplane to come all the way to Gijon in northern Spain, every athlete had to qualify at a a national championship event or at the World Championships in Scotland last year. Qualifying in the USA, meant traveling to the National Championship race and placing in the top 10 of your age group. In 2011, the National Championships were held in Tucson, Arizona and they will be held there again in 2012.
The World Championships are managed by the International Triathlon Union. That being said, they include draft-legal elite and junior elite races. Those races are going on today as I write this, with the Junior Women going by to cheers outside my window right now. The ITU selects the venue and stages the championships every year, as they do for on-road and off-road triathlons.
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