The International Triathlon Union (ITU) runs a World Triathlon Series each year. The world’s fastest triathletes compete in both Sprint and Standard (a.k.a. Olympic) distance races in several iconic locations all over the world for the chance to be crowned World Champion. But did you know that their Grand Final race is also the venue for the Age Group World Triathlon Short Course Championships? This is where non-professional every-day triathletes get the opportunity to don their country’s colours and race on the same weekend, on the same course, against other triathletes, from around the world, in their age group.
In 2017, the World Triathlon Age Group Short Course Championships are in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Next year, 2018, they are in Australia, on the Gold Coast, Queensland.
So how do you qualify for the Australian team and get your chance to don the Green and Gold?
Triathlon Australia announced the qualifying races last week (http://www.triathlon.org.au/Age_Group/2018_Australian_Age_Group_Team.htm)
There are 10 races for Sprint, and 10 races for Standard distance, throughout Australia. You can race as many of the events as you wish, but only your best 3 placings for the same distance will be used for points.
The top 25 finishers in each age group for each race are allocated points (with the winner getting 25 pts, going down to the 25th place getting 1 pt). At the end of the season all the race pts are calculated, and the athletes with the most number of points (up to 25 athletes per age group) have the opportunity to race as part of the Australian team, wearing the green and gold.
Doing a bit of online research becomes helpful in order to decide which races to target and how much travel you want to do. And your fastest race may not be your “best” race in terms of placing, depending on the field size.
As an example, race 3 on the Standard Distance schedule is the Sole Motive Mordialloc race (19/11/2017). Last season, the Male 35-39 category had 21 starters, and the 10th place-getter did a time of 2:26.
In comparison, race 10 on the Standard Distance schedule is the Gatorade St Kilda race (25/3/2018). Last season, the Male 35-39 category had ~60 competitors, and the 10th place-getter did a time of 2:12. This is why race selection becomes very important – a race with a smaller field gives you better opportunities for points.
For both the Sprint and Standard series, there is also an Australian Championship race (Mooloolaba Qld for Standard on 11/5/18, Gold Coast Qld for Sprint – date tbc). At these races, you receive double points for your top 25 placing. So finishing 10th at the Aust Champs will give you 32 pts, whereas finishing 10th at any other race will give you 16 pts. Of course, being double-points, these Aust Champs are very well attended with large fields.
So how many points do you need? In previous years, 25-30 pts were enough to get you onto the Australian Age Group team as either a Sprint or Standard athlete. With it being held in Australia, on the Gold Coast, I suspect that 25-30 pts will not be sufficient, but it’s very much a case of participating and seeing how you go. Being strategic about the races that you choose will be helpful, and looking at previous years’ results and numbers of participants will also help. All that information is readily available on the web. And who knows? You may end up wearing the green and gold!
Many thanks to athlete @lmacfitz for pulling together the above information.