Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: A great triathlete has to be fast. But there’s much more to the sport than speed. Persistence, perseverance and resistance are also essential qualities.

Andreas Raelert, a German triathlon champion has it all, and as the Ironman World Record holder, he is fast – very fast.

Raelert came to Phuket two weeks ago to train at Thanyapura Phuket. Less than halfway through his visit, he decided to extend his stay. Why?

“Phuket is a paradise for triathletes. It’s a really great place for training, the facilities are amazing and Thai people are very kind. I feel very safe and welcome here,” he says.

When asked about the qualities that make Phuket such a great destination for triathletes, he has a number of things to say.

First there is the weather: “It’s almost perfect, from 6am to 6pm except for maybe the few hours around noon when it’s to hot,” says Raelert.

Then there are the landscapes: “It’s green everywhere, you get exited with the views when you train. There are great places to practice open water swimming, the beaches are beautiful, the water is warm and nice.”

Raelert is also full of praise for Phuket’s roads. “The quality of the roads are really high and there are plenty of routes to take. There are hilly sections that are quite tricky and require more effort and skills, but there is always a choice.”

But what’s even more important than the above is the triathlon culture in Phuket, which is a source of inspiration for Raelert. “When you’re in a new country, in a new environment, its great because you gain new experiences. It’s even more true here in Phuket, where the triathlon community is quite big. Training with local athletes is a great source of inspiration for me,” he says.

In addition to tough physical training, Raelert takes part in mind-coaching sessions at Thanyapura’s Mind Centre – taking care of the most important part of the body for any triathlete: the brain.

“Mental training is the most important part of triathlon training. It’s all about finding your balance – focusing all your strengths on your goal – this helps you to become more powerful,” says Raelert.

“The best way to performing well in a triathlon is to keep it fun and enjoyable,” he continues. “Finding other people who enjoy it too and training in a group, also makes it way more sociable, competitive and gives you the opportunity to learn from others”

“For me, Triathlon is a passion and I’m happy to do it seven days a week,” concludes Raelert.

This article first appeared in the December 20-26 issue of the hard-copy Phuket Gazette newspaper. Digital subscribers may download the full newspaper, this week and every week, by clicking here.

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