By Mill Creek resident Scott Harder.
My friend Joey Collins and I competed at the ITU Multisport World Championships Festival in Penticton, British Columbia in August, 2017. The 10-day event with an every-other-day racing schedule featured six multisport disciplines, including the Duathlon.
We competed against 600+ athletes from 42 nations in the Olympic Duathlon. This race consists of a 10k run, 40k bike, and a final 5k run.
The energy level at the races were unreal. With so many high-level athletes from all over the world, the entire town of Penticton was constantly buzzing with excitement. Penticton is an amazing place to visit and the people are head over heels friendly.
I finished in the top 25% in the overall race and 16th in my age category.
I prepared myself for months to run faster and ride stronger. Unfortunately, so had everyone else.
Even though I set personal record (PR) for the first 10k, it still placed me in the top 30% - these athletes were fast.
I rode a strong bike and then pushed hard through the final 5k.
We were urged by Team USA Coach Tom Yount to push hard if we rounded that final corner and found ourselves in striking distance of another competitor. I found that opportunity on the last stretch and hid in the shadow of a Great Britain athlete until I felt I had enough left in the tank to sprint to the finish and it worked!
Although some could say the other highlight of the day was the solar eclipse that occurred just a few minutes after most finished the race, having my family at the finish line was my proudest moment.
Collins on the other hand had some interruptions in his training this past year.
“My training was on track through the end of 2016. I had my running times down significantly and the idea of making the top 20 at World’s was doable and maybe even top 10. In January of 2017 I suffered a number of over-training injuries that led to a reduction in training and ultimately abstaining from running for 3 months,” said Collins.
The “obstacle is the way” became his motto in January of 2017, as he contended with chronic pain.
Collins worked with a number of rehabilitative professionals and found relief which ultimately got him back training without restrictions three months before the World Championships.
Collins had a good race finishing top 50% overall against the best field he had ever competed against.
“I love racing and it was frustrating not to be at my best. One thing I have learned is that everybody over 30 has injury stories, the challenge is to manage those injuries. The best way I have found to do this is to surround yourself with a team of people beginning with family, friends and health professionals for support & expertise,” said Collins.
Team USA athletes came away with 11 gold medals, nine silvers and seven bronzes.
What’s next? I qualified once again for the Olympic distance duathlon earlier this summer in Bend, Oregon and will be heading to Odense, Denmark in July of 2018 to compete against some of the world’s most competitive athletes at the Fyn ITU Multisport World Championships.
Scott Harder (left) rounding a corner during the duathlon. Photo courtesy of the Harder family.