Emily starts strong in Abu Dhabi

The Abu Dhabi World Triathlon Series event on the weekend of March 4th-5th marked the start of the 2016 series, and also saw Sysdoc sponsored triathlete Emily Burton get off to a great start on the Arabian peninsula.

Emily, who at 17 is the youngest competitor representing Team GB, did incredibly well, finishing first in the under-18 category, and second at under-23 level. Below, Emily describes what it was like in the lead-up to the race, and competing for the first time in the Series.

“I arrived in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday 23rd February to acclimatise to the heat and to get used to the course. On Friday 26th February I competed in the United Arab Emirates National championships as a guest, the swim was held in the Yas Marina and the cycling and running disciplines were on the Formula One racing track which was an incredible facility to race on. I used the race purely as a training race, so that I could practice transitions and racing in the heat.

I then spent the next day resting before going back to training on the Sunday. I then just continued training until Thursday, on Thursday afternoon, I collected my race pack and I think it was then when it really sunk in that on Saturday I would be competing for my country and that I would be competing in a major championships.

On Friday morning, I had an early start, with swim familiarisation so I had the opportunity to swim the swim course that I would be racing in the next morning. At about lunch time, I had race briefing which allowed me and other athletes to ask any questions we had about the race and it was about now that the nerves really started to kick in. Late in the afternoon, I went down to transition and had to rack up my bike. I then did nothing for the rest of the day, in the evening I went to an Italian and had pasta so I could have carbohydrates ready for my race and it was then off for an early night in bed.

On Saturday 5th March, it was race day, the day I had been waiting for had finally arrived. My alarm went off at 5am, I had to go down to transition to lay out the rest of my kit such as my trainers and helmet. I then rushed back to the hotel so I could have some breakfast in time for my race. I then began feeling so nervous, I had never been this nervous before.

Now it was time for the race, we made our way out and lined up on the pontoon ready to go. As soon as the horn went, I got kicked and punched, I was in the middle of a field of 196 athletes.  After I reached the second buoy, I was able to get into my proper swim rhythm and began catching people up and overtaking them. I continued to overtake people and make up ground, and I left the swim in 6th place overall and first in my age group.

I then had a great transition which really helped me, quite a lot of athletes wore wetsuits for the swim but I decided not to and that really helped the speed of my first transition too. I then had to really work hard on the bike to keep my position. After about 3km on the bike I could start to feel the heat so I started to take on lots of fluids. The bike got tougher and tougher in the heat so I just kept spinning my legs round as fast as I could and I continued to take on fluids so I stayed hydrated ready for the run.

My second transition didn't go as smoothly as my first but it still went really well and I didn’t lose any ground to my fellow competitors. I was then on the run, for the first couple of kilometres, my legs felt like jelly, then the jelly sensation went away and my legs just felt really tired. I just had to hold on, about 1800m away from the finish line, I decided to pick up speed and then just got faster and faster, the finish line was insight so I just kept pushing.  It was so tough in the heat and humidity. I then had the agonising wait before the results were in. I finished first in the U18 World Championships and second in the U23 World Series. Nothing can really explain what it feels like to win medals for your country, it’s one of the best feelings in the world and it’s such an honour!”

We are delighted at Sysdoc with the news of Emily’s success, and look forward to the next stage in the competition, on Australia’s Gold Coast from the 9th-10th April. Follow our @sysdocgroup Twitter account to keep updated with Emily as she progresses.

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