Sophie Hawken has capped her amazing triathlon comeback with a silver medal at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Auckland on Saturday.
It was Hawken’s fourth world amateur silver medal, but her first since returning to the sport after giving birth to son Lucius.
“I’ve been out of the game for three years because I’ve had a kid,” Hawken said.
“I didn’t know how I would race after that long out, but I’m very happy to come back.”
Racing in the 30-34-year-old sprint division, the Bendigo personal trainer finished just 17 seconds behind Great Britain’s Stacey Penn.
“Because there was so many out there I didn’t even know where I was, I didn’t even know I was in silver until the last 100m,” she said.
“It was a real technical course so you couldn’t see much ahead of you. I ran her down, but there was all these turns so you couldn’t see anyone ahead of you and they didn’t commentate.”
Hawken finished the 750m swim leg in eighth place in 12.16 minutes and moved higher up the field with the sixth-fastest 20km bike ride in 35.30.
But it was the 5km run, which turned out to be 400m longer than that, where the 31-year-old excelled.
With her competitors beginning to battle, Hawken surged with at time of 19.03 – 37 seconds faster than the next best, while also closing the gap to Penn by 48 seconds.
“It was 400m longer which is a lot when you have it exact how to push. It was a really good, short, hard, wet, hilly course,” Hawken said.
Hawken’s overall time of 1.13:36 was all the more impressive considering she doesn’t train specifically for the sport.
Hawken and her partner Kim own 3T Fitness and she trains with her clients during the high-intensity sessions.
The results have been staggering and include victories in the Echuca Triathlon, Bridgewater Triathlon and Maryborough Reverse Triathlon earlier this year.
“It seems to work the way I train, I’m not the traditional triathlete trainer, I train how I train my clients,” Hawken said.
A former professional athlete, her new training technique has reaped better results than in the days when she used to train 25 hours a week.
“I do much, much less. I don’t do hour after hour on the bike like the others,” she said.
Next year’s world titles will be in London and while Hawken would like to chase that elusive gold medal she needs sponsorship to get there.
“I just want to keep racing, I love it. Especially when every time you race you’re competitive, I love that,” she said.
Hawken thanked AASB and National Tiles for sponsoring her New Zealand trip.