Triathletes who don’t do triathlons.
Some of my training partners are former competitive runners and cyclists; Ric , for example , raced for a cycling team alongside riders who then went on to place highly in the Giro d’Italia. He still rides his bike with panache and, when he feels like it, frightening speed. He looks like he belongs in the saddle. Beyond any doubt , he is a cyclist.
Everywhere you look people are out running; Some are training for other sports, some hate it but are doing it for weight-loss or general fitness, some are preparing for races. Many just love to run. They might be very fast and yet have no desire to race. They are undeniably runners and think of themselves as such.
Years ago racing and trying to win was my sole motivation for triathlon and duathlon. I trained because I was preparing to race. I couldn’t understand those of my club-mates who preferred not to toe the start-line in every possible event.
As time moved on my attitude changed. I am now actually envious of those who just love to swim, bike and run for the joy of it, with no competitive goal at the end. They can be of any ability, some even knowing they have the form to win major races outright. The difference between their mentality and that of the competition-oriented triathlete is that they don’t feel the need to prove themselves. Their ego is fine as it is and doesn’t need assuaging by a results-sheet or victory over a rival. Many still want to improve, however, and may even employ a coach to do so! They swim, bike and run. They are triathletes too and in no way less worthy of admiration than those of us who are constantly striving for podia and recognition.