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ONE ON ONE WITH Laura Harris | TRIATHLETE

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Laura is based in Sydney and works full time as a teacher and part time as a Triathlon Coach for Ward Coaching. Laura has been involved in the triathlons since 2008, both as an athlete and a coach. She holds a strong passion for coaching athletes to reach their full potential and achieve their goals. Taking up triathlons at the age 19 after years of team sports was a challenging adventure that she never thought would lead her to such success.

Growing up in Port Macquarie, it was hard not to be inspired each year when Ironman would embark on the town. Inspired by being a volunteer, Laura entered her first Half Ironman, in Port Macquarie as the youngest female competitor in 2008. She was hooked after placing 3rd in her Age Group and her interest within the sport grew from there. Laura continued to win and place in her Age Group over the next few years and qualified for the World Ironman 70.3 Championships each year. Laura competed in her first World Championships in 2009 in Perth at the ITU World

Long Course Championships and finished 4th in her Age Group.  2010 saw her first international event when she competed at the World Ironman 70.3 Championships in Clearwater, Florida and placed 6th in her Age Group. In 2011 she travelled back to the USA for the World Ironman 70.3 Championships held in Las Vegas where she placed 10th in her Age Group. In 2012 Laura joined forces with Nicole Ward (her current coach) who really lifted her training to another level. She continued to win and place in her Age Group and set her sights on training for her first Ironman. After a long list of achievements in 2012, including being named Sports Person of the Year for the University of Newcastle and receiving a University Blue Award, Laura went on to qualify for the World Ironman Championships (Kona) at the 2013 Ironman Australia race in Port Macquarie by winning her Age Group in her first attempt at the full Ironman. It was a dream come true to race the “double World Championships” that year. The World Ironman 70.3 Championships were held in Las Vegas 5 weeks prior to Kona, where Laura picked up a podium finish in her Age Group. She then travelled to Kona to take on her biggest challenge yet where she finished 13th in her Age Group in 11.01. This success saw her World Age Group Ranking climb to 4th for the 2013 year.  In recent years Laura has continued to shine in her Age Group, picking up many podium finishes in Australian Ironman 70.3 racing including an Australian Age Group title at the Australian Ironman 70.3 Championships in Port Macquarie in 2015, qualifying for the 2016 World Ironman 70.3 Championships.  

Laura's success has continued during 2016 with a 2nd place in her Age Group at Geelong 70.3, Age Group win and 4th overall in the women's field at Batemans Bay Ultimate and a 5th place in her Age Group at Cairns 70.3.

During winter Laura focused on her running in the lead up to the World Ironman 70.3 Championships and managed to win the women's race at the Hunter Valley Half Marathon in July. She also took on the NSW State Duathlon Championships in Penrith as a final hit out leading up to the World Championships and came away with another overall win and State Title in the women's field. Laura recently took on the World Ironman 70.3 Championships held in Mooloolaba, Qld and despite a couple of issues holding her back on the run she came away with 14th place in her Age Group against some of the world's best female athletes.

After a long season of racing, Laura is taking some time to give her body a much needed rest. She hopes to be back racing in 2017.

Article by Lester from Two Monkeys Bike Store in Sydney. 

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