By Lauren Hall
Tough races like the XTERRA Asia-Pacific off-road triathlons and trail runs that took place last weekend in New South Wales, Australia take a lot of time, money, sweat, and tears to get ready for, and not many people commit to such a challenge ... let alone a whole family.
While feeling accomplished at the end of the race is something we all look forward to, being able to share the joy of racing with the ones we love makes the experience all that much sweeter.
Just ask Jenny Hart, who finished 3rd in her division in Saturday’s tri then got to watch her boys Hamish, Lachlan, and Ethan (ages 10-to-14) finish first, third, and fifth overall in the 5-kilometer trail run the next day.
Although she says there are a lot of inspiring people in this world, Jenny sees her boys as her greatest inspiration.
“They inspire me to go out there and try, for age is just a number,” she said.
In return, Jenny hopes that by participating in these races she will show her boys that “anything can be achieved when you put your mind to it.”
She seems to have made an impact because since she started doing triathlons, her boys have competed in events where there are options to do so. Her two older ones have developed a love for triathlons, and hopes to one-day race at the XTERRA World Championship in Maui. Jenny said she loves watching her boys race, and “it’s fantastic to have them at the finish line too.”
Jenny is a primary school teacher that works with a number of schools in her area to improve literacy and numeracy outcomes for her students in K-2 in more socioeconomic disadvantaged small schools.
She heard about XTERRA from her friends that raced pro at last year’s XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship, and when she won the prize drawing of a free entry while participating at Elite Energy’s Husky Long Course tri she decided to jump in feet first and do the championship race.
“XTERRA races seem to becoming a lot more popular with more people signing up for these races,” she said. “I thought it would be fun to do and something a bit different.”
In order to get ready for their family XTERRA race outing, Jenny continued her normal triathlon training while adding some mountain bikes rides in the mix. Her boys attending swim practice with a club team and have been also mixing in mountain bike rides with their mom. Jenny said that 12-year-old son’s cross country training has played an important part in Hamish’s training. Going into the race, they had no expectations. Jenny stated she “just wanted to go out there and have fun.”
One thing that worried her entering the race was the 30km mountain bike course. She worried the course might be too technical to start doing at her age. Jenny went for it anyways, and ended up finishing the XTERRA race with a time of 3:48:14 coming in 3rd in her 50-54 age group.
“Determination and perseverance are qualities that that can be transferred across all facets of our lives.”
Jenny hopes that through competing in the XTERRA Asia Pacific Championship triathlon race as she turns 50 will inspire not only her family, but others to have fun with life and do what makes them happy.
Through traveling as a family, they have made friends from all over the world and seen many beautiful new places. Jenny and her family encourages you and yours to take on the XTERRA race challenge so you too can be exposed to “the world of possibilities.”