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Triathlon News & Notes: Championship Announcements, an Emotional Comeback, and a New Pro-Turned-Coach

The news from around the multisport world this week.

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World Triathlon Multisport Champs set for Samorin…

The x-bionic sphere in Šamorín, Slovakia.

Last year, the greater triathlon world was introduced to the X-Bionic Sphere sports complex in Samorin, Slovakia as part of the heralded Collins Cup competition. Now, this August the top age-groupers will have a chance to make their mark at the swanky spectrum as part of the 2022 World Triathlon Multisport Champs. Between August 18 and 31, several world championship events for age-groupers will take place at the venue, including the Long Distance race (2km swim, 80km bike, 18km run), the aquabike (2km swim, 80km bike) and the aquathlon (1km swim, 5km run). Over the same weekend, both the Collins Cup for the pros as well as an age-group triathlon race will also take place.

…and Abu Dhabi named host of World Triathlon Finals in November

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi announced that it will host the World Triathlon Championship Finals this November. Yas Island, an entertainment hub some 30 minutes outside of the city of Abu Dhabi, will be the site of several world championship races for elites, paratriathletes, and age-groupers over super-sprint and standard distances, with the state-of-the-art Etihad Arena serving as center stage.

After heart surgery, pro Richard Murray is back on top

9 months after undergoing heart surgery to treat Atrial Fibrillation (AFIB), South African world champion triathlete Richard Murray won the Americas Cup Triathlon Sarasota-Bradenton last weekend, outsprinting U.S.A.’s Kevin McDowell to the line. Murray, 33, who competes for Netherlands, posted that the win, although at a smaller race, was a big one for him as he wasn’t sure if he would be able to return to high-level competition. “I can’t help but feel emotional about being able to still do what I do and enjoyed it so much,” he wrote. This was Murray’s second race in two weeks; he and wife Rachel Klamer finished eighth at the Couples Championship on March 6.

Liz Blatchford Murray joins RPG Coaching

Liz Blatchford, one of the most successful long-distance triathletes of all time, has joined RPG Coaching, a squad helmed by world champion pro Tim Reed and Clint Rowling. The Australia-based Blatchford, 42, transitioned into coaching after retiring with two podium finishes at Kona, several wins over 70.3 and Ironman to her name. Posted Reed: “Liz is as motivated as us to help our clients achieve those gains with a holistic approach that doesn’t compromise the other aspects of life like work and relationships.”

Flora Duffy named Bermuda’s Female Athlete of the Year 

In a not–so-surprising Athlete of the Year selection, Bermuda gave Olympic gold medalist Flora Duffy top honors for 2021. Duffy, who won the country’s first-ever gold medal in Tokyo, picked up her ninth AOY award since 2006. “Certainly it was a massive year,” Duffy, who is currently training in South Africa, said in a pre-recorded acceptance speech. “I’m very grateful to all of you who played a major role in allowing me to achieve what I did last year, getting a gold medal in Tokyo.”

USA Triathlon Foundation accepting applications for the Pillar Grant

The USA Triathlon Foundation is accepting applications for the Pillar Grant now through April 10. The Pillar Grant “supports programs and individuals who encourage youth participation, inspire paratriathletes, and ignite the dreams of Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls,” according to USAT Foundation, and is awarded on a yearly basis for up to $5,000. Past grant recipients include junior racing teams, the Challenged Athletes Foundation, and a paratriathlon camp.

British triathlete raffling off Cervelo bike to raise funds for Ukraine 

A British triathlete is raffling off his fully-loaded Cervelo P5 bike to raise money for humanitarian efforts in Ukraine. Earlier this week, Giles Brook posted that for £10 (about $13 USD), anyone around the world can enter to win the bike, with all of the proceeds being donated to the charity. “It sits in the garage, deserves being on the road, someone somewhere would love riding it and the money is going to a good cause,” Brook wrote. As of Friday afternoon, the fundraising total was up to nearly $14,000 USD with 601 entrants.  The raffle will close at midnight on Sunday March 22.

Podcast Notes

  • The Triathlete Hour highlights the lengthy career of Donna Smyers (sister of Karen), who has racked up accolades over the years, including a recent Grand Master Athlete of the Year distinction by USAT.
  • Pros Jackson Laundry, Nicholas Chase, and Lisa Becharas rehash their race experiences at last weekend’s Clash Miamion the Real Triathlon podcast.
  • Clash Miami was a popular topic this week: ProTriNews and MX Endurance also offered analysis of what went down.
  • Inside Triathlon has a chat with Olympic gold medalist Emma Snowsill Frodeno, who shares about being a working mom and business-owner—and what it’s like to be married to triathlon’s arguable G.O.A.T.
  • Greg Bennett brings on former pro cyclist Christian Vande Velde who has since built a “second life” in cycling through his role as an NBC sports commentator (and sometimes Peloton instructor).
  • Mary Cain touches on her transition to triathlon, among many other topics on Convos Over Cold Brew with Emma Abrahamson.
  • Top age-grouper and author Shay Eskew, a burn survivor with scars on over 65 percent of his body, tells his story on the Sons of the Flag podcast.

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