Top 5 of 2014 - Moment number 1 – Jennifer Tait Challenge Paguera
December 31, 2014
We first met Jennifer back in the 2013 season at IM70.3 Zell am See. This was her first long distance race and she was terrified of not making the bike cut off time. She made the cut off time, in fact she was the last one through. She did not complete the race but polished off a good section of the run and vowed to return the following year to finish the job!
Jennifer returned to Zell this season but with a new bike course, incorporating a huge hill climb that wasn’t there when she had originally signed up, Jennifer’s confidence was at an all time low. Her previous years concerns had come back o haunt her. Would she make the bike cut off? The days before the race Jennifer hadn’t been well as was debating whether to even start but we decided that she should just see this another training day, do what you can, stop when you want and take in the scenery. Jennifer again exceeded her own expectations, against all odds she made that bike cut off and was allowed to proceed onto the run. I saw her come out and she looked fresh like last year. She quickly made a running buddy in Karen who was in a similar position and they ran together until race officials told them to stop as they would not make the cut off time. This was disappointing for the girls, especially as they later found out that others we’re allowed to continue and had times published that exceeded the cut off time!
So what did they do next? Both Karen & Jennifer decided to sign up for Challenge Paguera in October. Jennifer’s determination was stronger than ever! She knew she could do it. She even travelled on her own to this race as well as Karen to join Team Race Force for the weekend and her birthday weekend at that and what a birthday present she had in store.
Jennifer was so much more relaxed for this race than I had ever seen her. She was taking it all in her stride and enjoying the lovely surroundings at the Team Hotel.
We went out for swim practice, which went swimmingly, the bike reccy was really relaxed and we shared evening meals together with the rest our athletes all really relaxed.
Race morning was a leisurely start at 12pm. I was participating in the relay so I was lucky enough to line up with the ladies as I started 2 minutes after them. We set off and I’d planned to wait for them in transition after I’d passed on my race chip and sure enough they both came out looking pretty fresh. I was able to give them one last cheer from transition and off they went approx. 5 minutes between them.
The bike route was tough but no one realizes how much harder it is for the athletes at the back of the field. They reach the aid stations when there is little left and the spectators have generally moved on so they have to dig deeper and dig deeper alone. Karen struggled on the second loop and had nothing left. She called it a day and wished Jennifer the best of luck. Jennifer went on….and on….and on. If there was one thing she had learnt from her previous races, it was to never stop! Even if the race officials tell you to. Never stop! So she didn’t…. she transition to the 4 loop run, every time passing our Race Hub she was given that extra boost and when lap 4 came around we all had tears in our eyes but what we weren’t prepared for was the welcome that awaited her at the finish line 600 metres down the road.
Jennifer was officially the last person to complete the race. Yes COMPLETE the race! She had done it! She had absolutely done it! The whole of the Challenge Paguera team followed her down the final 100 metres, the crowds were incredible and she had the best reception ever!
You can relive it again here: https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10152839589414381
Jennifer later said that she plans to always be the last person to cross the line as you get a better reception that the winner! She was right!
Jennifer and her husband Mathew have completely embraced the sport of Triathlon and built it into their lives for the better. It has opened their eyes to a new lifestyle and they continue to be happier, healthier and are currently on an amazing journey to the full distance IM at Austria next season and we are proud and excited to be with them every step of the way.
Jennifer is a regular blogger for Team Race Force. Her blogs are a great read. She puts into words the feelings, emotions and weird situations we find ourselves in when training for our sport and adds her own personality & humour to ever post! We have people waiting for the next episode. You can follow her progress here
This is by far our most memorable, proudest, emotional and amazing moment of 2014. Its moments like this that make all our efforts as Team Race Force absolutely 100% worth it!
Congratulations to all of you for your achievements in 2014. We look forward to supporting you in your 2015 race goals.
Kate & Team
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