A triathlon for a cause started Patrick Coleman’s triathlon journey.
There are some very unique and inspiring ways that people discover the world of triathlon. For Warringah Tri Club’s Patrick Coleman, it was missing out on an entry to the Noosa Triathlon and an opportunity to make a difference that sparked his interest in the sport four years ago.
“I’ve always done heaps of exercise. I’d played lots of Rugby and have cycled quite a bit. I’ve also been doing ocean swims for the past 15 years or so” Patrick said.
“Some friends of mine have been doing the Noosa Tri for years and I decided to finally do it with them” he said.
“I wish I could say I started fundraising for wonderful, selfless, altruistic reasons, but the truth is I wanted to take part in the Noosa Triathlon and left it too late. The only way I could get an entry was by joining a fundraising team.”
Patrick chose to fundraise for the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation. It was an easy choice given his personal connection to the disease.
“My wonderful ex-father-in-law, Robert, after whom my son is named, died of a glioblastoma multiforme brain tumour in 2011 in his mid-sixties,” Patrick said.
“Also my senior schools' rugby coach who subsequently became my university rugby coach died of the same horrible disease in 2020 at the same all-too-young age.
“Both were leaders in their chosen professions and both were profoundly inspirational.”
Training for triathlons can be hard, but Patrick said raising money gave him extra motivation to put the work in.
“It gave the whole process a little more meaning” he said.
“The encouragement and support you receive from friends and donors also helps spur you on when you just want to give up.”
Patrick said that extra drive was evident during his race in Noosa last October after he sprained his back in the lead-up while lugging his gear to the Sunshine Coast.
“With my spine in complete spasm and barely able to walk, let alone run, what kept me going after the second transition was the knowledge that a whole bunch of people had donated their hard-earned cash to support my fundraising effort,” he said.
“It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t fast, but finishing was really all that mattered.
It was from the Noosa Tri four years ago that Coleman finally decided to join the Warringah Triathlon Club, something that his friends had been trying to get him to do for years.
“Martin and Debbie Solms (founder of women’s training group BEXI) have been trying to get me to join Warringah for years and I finally made the decision to do so after Noosa!
“When you get to my age, you really don’t care if you're particularly good at something,” he said.
“You just want to do it and be part of a supportive social group of nice like-minded people, which is what Warringah has provided so well to so many people.
“Also, being part of such a nice, friendly inclusive club like Warringah Tri means I now am motivated to get out of bed at sparrows fart most mornings instead of doing what I used to do before - turn over and go back to sleep!”
For someone who wants to stay active as he ages, Patrick Coleman believes a triathlon club is the perfect place to help him achieve that goal.
“I’d say I’m more of a participant, than a competitor looking to finish on podiums.” Patrick said.
“My participation is about staying fit, having fun and meeting people with the same interests.
“As I get older, I seem to always have a niggle somewhere in my body.
“So if I can’t run or cycle because of a leg problem, I can swim instead. If I can’t swim because of a shoulder problem, I can run or cycle. Warringah have so many different sessions and options to cater for everyone.
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