Tokyo triathlon bronze medallist Hayden Wilde is a star on the rise and at this year’s Commonwealth Games he’s eyeing three events - one of them on the track.
The 24-year-old triathlete is home for the summer and rather than taking time off, he’s planned a busy schedule of races right around the country.
“A lot of people have a long season in Europe and kind of make this time their time to relax but I just love racing too much and it’s a beautiful country to do racing,” the Bay of Plenty local said.
Over the next two months, he’ll compete in a variety of events at home including Challenge Wanaka’s Twilight Challenge, Whaka 100 [a mountain bike marathon] and the Athletics Nationals.
On the track, he’ll run the 5000 metres as he attempts to defend his 2020 and 2021 titles; something that’s not normal for a triathlete according to Wilde who’s hoping he can do enough to qualify for Birmingham’s Games.
“Hopefully I can do the triple, that’d be pretty awesome, no one’s ever done it before.”
That would mean being selected for the individual and team triathlon along with the 5000m.
'I'm not racing for myself'
His triathlon pedigree was confirmed with his bronze at last year’s Olympics and because of that he’s headlining the charity event Twilight Challenge in Wanaka next month, where he’s quite literally the one to beat.
Under-19 athletes will be given an approximately two minute head start and anyone who beats Wilde will take home prize money. If Wilde finishes first the winnings will instead go to his charity of choice, First Responders – Redwoods.
“I’m not racing for myself, it’s just a lot of fun and I’m racing for a good purpose. I think that’ll give me some extra energy,” explained Wilde.
The charity helps injured mountain bikers in the Whakarewarewa Redwood Forest mountain bike park in Rotorua.
“I know how many times I’ve crashed in the mountain bike forest and I know the ambulance team can’t get there.”
“They’re [First Responders – Redwoods] mountain bikers - they know the Redwoods really well. The fastest time they can get to furthest point is ten minutes.
"That can save someone’s life.”