Local Year 12 student Madi Roberts – a keen athletics enthusiast – is preparing to compete as the youngest person in the upcoming 70.3 Ironman. She tells us about her recent achievements and training schedule.
Hello Madi. Congratulations on being named Sports Person of the Year at your school, St. Joseph’s Regional College. What was involved in achieving this title?
This year I have competed in many triathlon, duathlon, running, and swimming events. To gain the title of Senior Sports Person of the Year, I competed in many events through the school system. In March, I competed in the NSW All Schools Triathlon Championships in Penrith, where I finished 5th. This race gained me selection for the School Sport Australia National Triathlon Championships in Busselton, Western Australia.
In July, I qualified to compete in the NSW All Schools Cross Country Championships at Eastern Creek, where I finished 7th. This race gained me a place in the NSW team for the School Sport Australia National Cross Country Championships in Adelaide SA, where I placed 15th in the 6 km cross country race and 3rd in the 2 km time trial.
In August, I represented the school at the Diocesan Athletics Championships, where I placed 1st in both the 800 m and 1,500 m. This gained me selection to compete at the CCC (Catholic Combined Colleges) Athletic Championships at Homebush, where I placed 4th in the 1,500 m and 6th in the 800 m. I broke the school record in both of these events.
I have also had a successful year outside of school. I was selected in the NSW ITU (International Triathlon Union) development squad and attended several training camps and raced in numerous junior state series races. My major highlight was crossing the line as first female alongside Mitch Robins at the Camden Haven Triathlon in February. Other major highlights were coming 2nd female overall at the Macleay River Half Marathon and 3rd Female overall at the Forster half marathon last week. In July, I competed in the first race of the Australian Duathlon Championship Series in Parramatta, where I placed 2nd in the under 19s and 5th overall. In August, I competed in Australian Duathlon Championships in Gatton QLD, where I placed 1st in the under 19s. This has gained me selection for the World Age Group Duathlon Championships in Spain next year, which incorporates a 10 km run, 40 km cycle, and 5 km run.
When did you start competing in athletic competitions?
I started swimming when I was 3 years old and began competitions when I was 7. Throughout primary school, I did surf lifesaving, netball, tennis, touch football, dancing, martial arts, gymnastics, basketball, and little athletics. When I was 12 years old, I competed in the school country, which I won. I decided to focus on my running and swimming as I entered high school and later decided to buy a road bike. I joined the local cycle club and was selected in the North Coast Academy of Sport for Cycling in 2008-09. I competed in my first triathlon in January 2008 and really enjoyed it.
I then became part of the local triathlon club and began competing in many competitions. I was selected in the North Coast Academy of Sport for triathlon in 2009-10, and the NSW International Triathlon Union (ITU) Development squad in 2011.
Why your passion for such physically challenging sports?
I really love competing in long distance events, as they are not only a physical challenge, but also a mental one. I love pushing my body to the limit and feeling a sense of achievement when I cross the finish line. I also love to compete and train with other endurance athletes, who share a passion in the sport as much as me.
You are going to be competing in the Ironman 70.3 in October and will be the youngest person in the race. How are you feeling about it?
I am really excited about the 70.3 Ironman in October. Every year I have volunteered at the food stations, and I have always wanted to compete in the race. This year I will finally be old enough to race, and I am really looking forward to it. The race is in Port Macquarie, so I should have a lot of hometown support.
You compete in cross country, triathlons, duathlons and swimming comps. What is your favourite event?
My favourite event is duathlon, because it combines my two favourite disciplines – running and cycling. I also really love half marathons, because of the physical and mental challenge.
What is your training schedule like?
I train twice a day, covering all 3 disciplines throughout each week. I swim 2 days a week, covering 6 km each week. I cycle 4 days a week, covering 270 km – 300 km each week. I run 6 days a week, covering approximately 40 km each week. I train with adults for all 3 disciplines.
Do you have any particular professional sports people in your field whose careers you follow?
I admire Emma Jackson, Emma Moffatt, Emma Snowsill, and Erin Densham, who are all Australian Olympic Triathletes. I was lucky enough to meet Emma Jackson when I raced at the Australian Youth Triathlon Championships on the Sunshine Coast in March.
What do you hope to do once you have finished high school at the end of this year?
Next year I am going to study a Bachelor of Marine Science at Griffith University on the Gold Coast. While I am living on the Gold Coast, I will train with the Gold Coast Triathlon squad and continue to compete in many races. I also hope to gain selection in the NSW ITU Endurance Squad.
I would like to give a big thanks to Port Macquarie Subaru and TRS Cycles for their wonderful support and sponsorship. They have helped with setting me up with a new Cervelo S5 road bike for the 70.3 Half Ironman.
Thanks, and good luck Madi!