Triathlete.com: You’ve been involved in charity work for the Christchurch earthquake. Can you tell me more about what you have done?
Warriner: Baking is one of my releases from triathlon–I love being in the kitchen. After the devastation of Christchurch unfolded on our TV screens, we all felt so helpless in the north of New Zealand. I was so focused on Taupo, but at the same time realized the trivialness of the whole race.
So as soon as the race was over, Stephen and I put our heads together and thought about how we could help, even in just a small way.
Teresa Adam, a young ITU athlete from New Zealand, had been posting pictures of her baking creations on Facebook. So I challenged her to a bake off. We held the event at a restaurant in Auckland, invited hundreds of people along who all paid to sample our baking and vote on their favorite chocolate brownie.
We raised over $4,000 for the Ironman Foundation, a charity generously set up by Ironman NZ organizer, Jane Patterson. The fund goes directly to triathletes affected by the Christchurch earthquake.
I’d love to say I won, but alas I can’t be the best at everything and young Teresa took the Brownie Crown. Her baking will be on sale at the restaurant for the next month and all proceeds will also go to the fund.
Triathlete.com: Can you tell me about your Sweat7 team?
Warriner: Sweat7 is kind of my hobby at this stage, but I’d like to grow it into a business over the next few years. I love inspiring women to do things they never thought they could.
A lot of people don’t realize this, but I was a school teacher until I was 33. I worked full time and didn’t even start this triathlon roller coaster until I was 29. After doing my first season of racing I managed to get to age-group worlds and won the silver medal. The next year I raced elite and continued to teach full time.
I taught while, at the same time, winning my first two ITU World Cups. The girls on the circuit used to joke about what lesson I had to teach Monday morning.
I believe if you want something enough and you’ve got enough energy, attitude and willingness to put the training in, you’ll get there. Hence Sweat7, Sam Warriner, Energy, Attitude, Training, seven days a week.
I advertised in a New Zealand magazine for seven “everyday” women to coach this past summer. I had over 350 applications and I honestly believe picking the seven was tougher than my Ironman experience.
I secured sponsorship for the girls from Blue Seventy, Asics, Thompson’s Nutrition and Red8 Hydrate. Air NZ paid for their flights and Contact Energy paid for their race entries.
The girls got sucked in over the summer; we ended up with a couple of age-group national champions and two qualifiers for the World Age Group Championships. But the real highlight for me was seeing them do things they never thought they could. They inspired me everyday with their blogs (Sweat7.com) and their funny stories on the Sweat7 Coaching Facebook page.
It’s been a journey I’ve loved so much and I’m just putting together next summer’s concept at the moment. Needless to say it will be all about beginners again, with a slightly different twist.