Two Stellenbosch University (SU) students and multi-sport athletes have travelled almost halfway across the world to kick off their international sporting careers at the 2017 ITU Multisport World Championship Festival, held from 18-27 August in Penticton, Canada.
Catherine Pellow-Jarman (19), a first-year BA Sport Science student from Franschhoek, and Taryn-Maie Wille (20), a first-year BSc Conservation Ecology student from Grahamstown, were very excited about the opportunity to represent their country abroad.
“I've been running and cycling all my life but only started competing in duathlon about two years ago," said Catherine, who was selected to compete in the duathlon, age group 20-24. This event consists of a 10km run, 40km cycle and 5km run.
“It has been a dream of mine to represent my country at a world championships. It is my first year in the 20-24 age category and my main aim is to gain some experience racing at that level."
Taryn-Maie was selected to participate in the cross-triathlon competition (age group 20-24). This is an off-road event which consists of a 1.5km swim, 31km mountain bike ride and 8km run. She has been competing in triathlons for six years and counts her achievements at the Grabouw Xterra as well as the opportunity to participate in the Sani2C and Wines2Whales MTB stage races with her dad as some of her sporting highlights.
“I feel very privileged and I am extremely excited to be competing overseas," she said before she left for Canada. “My aim is to get some international racing experience and achieve some PBs."
She was also selected to compete in the Xterra in Hawaii later this year, but won't be able to participate due to academic commitments.
As student-athletes, Catherine and Taryn-Maie have to adapt their training to their academic schedules.
“I probably train around 12 hours a week," said Catherine. “I like to train early in the morning before class starts. Then it's just about making good use of lectures and free periods during the day and getting as much work as possible done before training in the evening."
Catherine benefits from being a resident of SU's sport residence Huis Neethling: “Being surrounded by other students who understand what it's like to have training at 5:30 in the morning and then have to sit through an entire day of lectures without falling asleep is comforting."
Taryn-Maie trains approximately 14 hours per week.
“I get my sessions done before and after lectures and even in between if I have time, otherwise on the weekends. I was able to get really good base training in during the holiday."
Being a cross-country athlete has contributed to her appreciation of nature, and she hopes to use her sport to raise funds for conservation one day.
“My aim is to be one of the best conservationists in whatever field I go into and to help the environment in as many ways as possible."