Described as “raw talent” by Director of Monash Sport Martin Doulton, Samuel took out the title in his age group, qualifying for the notorious world championships to be held in Kona, Hawaii, on Oct. 12.
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“I was involved in swimming and cross-country at school and when I finished I knew I’d enjoy cycling so I thought I’d try and do a triathlon,” Sam said. “I was YouTubing triathlons and came across a clip for the IRONMAN World Championships and thought it was something I’d like to do.”
For the next two years, the Monash student saved enough money to purchase a bike, and trained himself, diligently working toward achieving this goal.
Despite doing a test prior to the IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship Melbourne that revealed he was at a level where he could potentially win his age group, he still “didn’t quite believe it.”
“I sort of knew about a month before that I was at a level where I could win it, but that was never the ultimate goal,” Samuel said.
“Even though the test theoretically proved I could win, I didn’t quite believe it, so when it actually happened it was really awesome and gave me a lot of confidence for the future, and it was very satisfying.
The Bachelor of Engineering and Science student admitted that he had invested a lot and had trained all year. “I had a lot riding on it for this one day, and it all paid off, but to then be successful in it was a really nice and surreal feeling for me, especially to have won by so much and to have run so well on the day.”
Because of injuries, Samuel couldn’t do much running training in the lead-up to the event, but after taking a well-earned one-month break to recover, and after having completed physio, Sam has recently started training again, already running three times the distance he was before.
Now injury free, the distance is set to increase in preparation for the gruelling world championship: 3.8km swim, 180km bike ride and marathon run (42.2 km).
“It will be interesting to see how I go now that I can train properly in running,” Samuel said.
“I want to win my age group again and hopefully make the top 50 overall. That would be ideal. Ultimately, I want to see how far I can take it.”
His motto while he’s training in Melbourne over winter is simple: It’s not raining in Hawaii.