IB2 student Reiny is a passionate triathlon athlete.In an interview he talks about his encounters with Olympic champion Nicola Spirig, what his training sessions are like and what he finds so fascinating about high-endurance sport.
What fascinates you about triathlon and how did you start that sport? Did you come to the Engadin because of the altitude and is it ideal to train here?
What I like most about triathlons is that it’s not just one sport but three disciplines combined, it never gets boring. I was a runner first, but saw swimming as a life skill and also always enjoyed biking. Now I consider swimming as my strongest discipline. Because of its altitude the Engadine is one of the best places in the world for endurance training, so yes.
When was your first triathlon and how regularly have you been competing since then?
My first triathlon was just after I had turned 13. Since then I have participated in quite a few, also over the Olympic distances (1.5km swimming, 40 km biking and 10 km running). The three half marathons I have done were the hardest so far. I was also on the Hong Kong National Triathlon Team and competed for them in international races.
How much training is involved to be prepared for a triathlon and what does a training session look like?
Participating in a triathlon requires hard work and training every day. Not in all disciplines but rather doing a tough swim in the morning and an easier run in the afternoon, for example.
Do you have a professional trainer at your side?
Yes, I work with Brett Sutton who is one of the best triathlon trainers worldwide and works with several award winning sportsmen and sportswomen such as Nicola Spirig. Brett has a unique, rather militaristic training style and knows exactly what is best for me.
Because of its altitude the Engadine is one of the best places in the world for endurance trainingReiny
Is it difficult to juggle your hobby and school? What do you learn for school and life doing triathlons?
You need a strong mind and good time management to succeed at both. But most importantly I believe you have to enjoy what you do and then be willing to work hard for it. Especially in the IB, where you can decide which subjects you want to take: I chose what I am good at and now I enjoy putting effort into school work.
Could you imagine doing triathlons professionally?
I don’t want to put the idea off completely, but I definitely want to get my degree in aerospace engineering first.
Do you have a triathlon memory you are especially proud of or happy about?
I remember finishing my first half iron man at the age of 16 that made me happy and proud. My most recent memory is training with Brett Sutton and Nicola Spirig this summer. I was her so called “pace maker”, which means that I ran in front of her and controlled speed and time. When she won the silver medal at the Olympics later I felt that even if it was only one percent, this one percent was my contribution.