Thornlands based triathlete Linda Meredith is gearing up for a tilt at the World Triathlon in September next year, spurred on by a fourth place finish in the 60-64 age group at the World Age Group Championships in Rotterdam in the Netherlands two months ago.
Meredith finished fourth in a time of 1 hour, 28 minutes and 36 seconds over a triathlon that featured a 750 metre swim, a 20km cycle and 5km run, a result she said she was happy with due to being affected by jet lag and having bad weather disrupt her training regime while in Europe.
“It was my first time competing on the world stage so I wasn't really sure where I’d be, I was just hoping that I’d do my best, in hindsight I’m very happy with fourth,” she said.
“I had terrible jet lag, I was disappointed in one way, it was bittersweet, because I didn't think I’d get jet lagged going across.
“I arrived on the Wednesday morning and the triathlon was on the Sunday afternoon and I was lucky to get two hours of broken sleep a night for four nights.
“I was feeling really fatigued on the Sunday.
“Swimming is my passion and I’m normally very good at the swim, but I even felt fatigued in the swim coming out, but I came out second and got out on the bike first overall in my age group so I was very happy with that.
“The weather wasn’t kind to us in the days leading up to the event so it made training difficult for everyone and on the day the gods shined down and we had a nice day.”
Meredith may have finished as high as third in the world for her age if not for a muscle cramp in the race’s dying stages.
“I got a cramp in my hamstring I actually thought I’d tore it, in the last 200 metres, which slowed me down and I was passed by another lady in my age group only 100 metres from the finish and she beat me by six seconds,” she said.
The midwife at Redlands Hospital and Sharks Triathlon club member said competing in Rotterdam on September 17 was the realisation of a goal, after twice having plans to compete overseas scuttled by circumstance.
“Third time lucky I guess you could say, the first time I tried I was going to compete in Auckland in 2012 in the Olympic distance triathlon, but in June I actually broke my vertebrae and I wasn't able to run for three months, which counted me out for three months from competing,” she said.
“Then at the beginning of this year I was going to do the Masters World Games in Auckland in April and the day before my husband came down really sick and had to have emergency surgery so I wasn’t able to go again.”
Competing in Rotterdam meant Meredith was among the top 20 females triathletes in her age group, a feat made even more impressive by the fact she has only been competing in the sport since 2011.
“There is qualifying races throughout the year and it’s the top 20 people in your age group that can be chosen, I did two qualifying races here in Queensland to qualify,” she said.
“When we first moved here to Thornlands in October 2010 I had come off a farm with horses and training and competing with endurance horses and I was actually a bit bored not knowing what to do with myself and I saw there was a triathlon on down at Raby Bay, I went and watched and I thought I might give that a try and it went from there.
“I bought myself and a bike, started to run and I’ve always been a swimmer.”
Before the 62-year-old athlete can compete at the World Triathlon on the Gold Coast next year, she will tackle triathlons at Kawana on the Sunshine Coast and Canberra in the hope of gaining qualification to compete in the World Triathlon and potentially improve on her fourth place in Rotterdam.