Race Day Disasters

Swimming Davey Black

Wether you are a senior triathlon coach or a gym trainer for beginners, when you are preparing athletes for race day, there is always a story set to unfold. From the first time racer to the veteran athlete, everyone comes with their own set of stories. These stories are the ones that bring us all close together around the sport. People have a tale to tell, a bit of themselves to share and brighten another persons day.

Today we compiled a few fun stories from athletes from all around the world, where they share some of their fun stories. Throughout these stories, you will get to see that despite the seriousness, the hours of training, the discipline and the competitiveness, lies a human being with the same fears as you, same feelings and most important, the same desire of living the sport not only by being fit and healthy, but also through laughs. These are the training and racing stories which they will remember forever.


Fish out of water! – Sam Dawson (Triathlete – Age grouper – Multiple podiums in Triathlon and Aquabike)

For my third triathlon race I decided to try my luck with an Olympic distance because I’m a maniac (1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run). I won’t lie, there were hiccups.

After racking my bike, I found out I was given the wrong race numbers so I went and fixed that, then at the start line, 7mins before the race I realised I forgot my timing chip. I trekked out and got it and missed my age group start. On the upside, I got to race with the blokes – I’m the lone pink cap here. Had a very calm and comfortable swim. And in my age group, I was the 2nd bird out of the water – very happy with that!


Keys into the unknown. – Jeri-Lou Zike (American Age Grouper Triathlete, Marathoner, and Professional Violinist)

30 min before an Olympic triathlon, I used the port-a-loo. Forgot I had my car key in the little pocket in back of my Tri shorts with no zipper. Yes, the worst thing happened. The key fell right into the dark very well used by 100s of racers tank. I decided there was no other option with time ticking down to get my wet suit on and start to race.

Arm up to my shoulder in waste and blue water, I found it after 5 disgusting minutes. Almost threw up but was thrilled I found the key and could race and drive home as I was 2 hours away.

I then realised if I could have the will power to find that key, I could hit the podium and I DID!!


EXTERNAL USE ONLY!!!!! – Alison Beth (American Marathoner)

I saw a runner struggling around mile 18 of a small marathon. He was cramping. I asked if he wanted to try Biofreeze. I handed him the tube and before I could tell him how to use it he squeezed a ton into his mouth. I shouted, “EXTERNAL USE ONLY!!!” He spat it out. Thankfully an aid station wasn’t too far away so he could rinse his mouth out.


Please let me go – Chery Swann (Davey Black Triathlete, Marathoner, Long-Distance Swimmer, Super-Mum)

Pelvic floor matters! I ran a PB half marathon in 1.52 with a 7 month old baby… the race was good, as soon as I stopped I gave her a hug and dragged her to the loo queue and begged ‘I’ve just had a baby please let me pee’


TT Bikes? I just brought a Roadie!!! – Erica Riley (IM Athlete, Soon-to-be Ultraman Athlete)

My very first triathlon was Challenge Shepparton. I had no idea what I was doing, when I went to check my road bike in.. I saw all these, now we call TT bikes, and road bikes with screw on aero bars.

My race nerves kicked in and I immediately thought they were mandatory.

With an hour until bike check in I went to the bike shop, got random aero bars…. Screwed them on, loosely I should add… Completely in the wrong position.

I rode the bike like a roadie for the whole race and never touched them.

My mum helped me put them on in the event hub car park.


Wetsuit, Shoes, Bike, Helmet… HELMET!!!! – Emilio Diaz (Davey Black Triathlete, soon to complete his first 70.3)

Once I brought everything with me and before doing the swim I realised that I left my bicycle helmet at home, 200 kms away from where the event was. Luckily, one random helmet fell from one teammate’s car; she had forgotten she had it there. That dodgy helmet saved me and I could ride.


All Shoes work the same… Right? – Nestor Rivera (Davey Black Coach – Triathlete, Sub-3 hour Marathoner)

When running one of my first 10Ks, back in 2008, I took everything to the race except for my runners. My logic at the time told me that if I ran using my Converse nothing would go wrong, in the end both things go on my feet. After the race my feet were full of blisters, my legs were totally smashed and I walked like a penguin for a whole week.

(My podiatrist will kill me if he reads this… Sorry Matt.)


Language – Amy Woods (Pro-Runner and Triathlete)

I came out the water in my first triathlon and couldn’t find my bike so I ended up screaming “where the F&$% is my bike?” All the spectators heard it.

As we grow older and look back to our lives as young athletes, we will smile with the medals and awards, but we will fondly remember the moments we lived, the stories we created and people that were part of these.

One fo the greatest things about a club sporting environment is being able to share these stories with each other so that we can learn from others mistakes and laugh with others at our own.