Courtney on pace

Olympic triathlon comeback takes another leap forward
Courtney Atkinson Training © Brett Hemmings / Red Bull Content Pool
By Josh Rakic

His return to International Triathlon Union world cup racing still fresh in his mind and sore in his legs, dual Olympian Courtney Atkinson made another step towards qualification for Rio 2016 with a solid outing in New Zealand over the weekend.

In another half-Olympic distance race just six days after his debut in Mooloolaba following two years away from ITU competition, Courtney found himself a little more out of his comfort zone than he’d expected when he was confronted with the freezing waters of New Plymouth.

And wet suits didn’t make the swim any easier.

“It got pretty brutal in there,” Courtney says with a laugh.

“I was caught in a boxing match in the short swim and with the wetsuits and the water being cooler in New Zealand, I was on the back foot from the start. I wasn't in the leading pack so once we got out of the water I didn't get the opportunity to test my running at front.

There’s just no room for error in the half distance race but good for reacquainting racing skills. “

Regardless, Courtney found his stride mid-pack and says he’s stronger as a result of the roughing up and challenging conditions.

The form improved again this week for sure from last weekend - although the officials result didn't show that,

“I’m running faster, feeling stronger and feeling more comfortable with where I am at.”

With the super sprint races out of way, the path is now cleared for Courtney to make his return to full Olympic racing distance next month.

“I’m looking forward to getting a consistent three weeks training under my belt now at home before starting my first full Olympic distance race in the ITU world cup series,” Courtney says.

“It’s been a long time coming and I’m getting pretty restless now. I can’t wait.

“I’m moving in the right direction.“

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