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Winners never quit – see how Sii Poland athletes competed in a virtual triathlon during the pandemic

Consistent, determined, ambitious – this is how you can describe triathletes from Sii Poland. The team made up of 8 sports-loving engineers sets their bar high. Like many other competitions this year, Super League Triathlon Poznan goes virtual. However, the effort that has to be put into preparing for such a competition is real. Of course, its participants have to remember that the new formula involves less intense emotions. So how to stay motivated and prepare for this kind of competition? Łukasz Tchórz, Team leader and initiator of the sports project, decided to share his thoughts with us. 

Super League Triathlon Poznan is a competition that took place on 2728 June and this year, as an exception, went virtual. Tell us more about this event. 

Łukasz Tchórz, Test & Analysis Engineer at Sii PoznanIt is a sports competition in which one person or a team competes in swimming, cycling and running, just like in a typical triathlon. It’s already the sixth SLT in Poznan. Sii Triathlon Team entered the TRI Business League, which is a ranking of corporate teams within the framework of Super League Triathlon Poznan. As a company, we are also an official partner of the TRI Business League event in Poznan. 

Our team consists of 8 people and the distance each of us has to cover is 1/4 Ironman, i.e. 950 m of swimming, 45 km of cycling and 10.5 km of running. Full Ironman (a competition organized by the World Triathlon Corporation) involves 3.86 km of swimming, 180.2 km of cycling and 42.2 km of running, respectively.  

Unfortunately, due to coronavirus and imposed restrictions, the competition has been postponed until next year so this year the only option was to organize a virtual competition.  

Who is part of the Sii Triathlon Team? 

Ł.T.: 8 people prepared for the competition: Rafał, Aleksander and Piotr from Sii Poznan, Bulat and Marek from Sii Wroclaw, Jagoda from Sii Cracow and Tomasz from Sii Lublin.  Half of our team took part in the competition.  Most of us are experienced triathletes, but there was also one debutante in our team. I started individually by Lake Malta – I swam 950 m, cycled 45 km and ran 10.5 km. 

At this point, I know most of us wants to continue training and compete next year. We also hope to inspire more people to join us. 😊 

What does such virtual competition look like during a pandemic?  

Ł.T.: We registered on the Strava platform and entered individually. After the results were sent from registering devices to the app, the organizers confirmed our participation and included us in the general classification.     

In addition to being able to compete, win this year’s medals and prizes from sponsors and have our packages carried forward to next year, we supported the Phoenix Foundation. The rules were simple – 1 km = PLN 1. The goal was to raise a total of PLN 1 million, which the Phoenix Foundation donated to the Karol Jonscher Pediatric Clinical Hospital in Poznan.  The initiative lasted from 29 May to 19 July – the organizer of the Super League Triathlon competition also organizes a whole series of triathlon events – on 29 May in Sieraków, then in Charzyków, in Poznan and finally in Szczecin. 

The charity event accompanying the competition was a very good idea as it strengthened our motivation for increasing the effort. This is the most difficult thing in the case of virtual competitions. We don’t meet in real life, can’t train in the swimming pool, don’t feel the excitement and adrenaline rushing through us at the start line when seeing other competitors ready to give every last drop of sweat. In the current situation, you have to find that motivation and adrenaline inside of you, wake it up, bring it out and maintain it for a long training period, despite knowing that there will be no reward, i.e. no competing as a team. It makes me even happier that under these circumstances all this worked out and 4 members of our team decided to take part in the competition. My congratulations!   

How did the idea of entering the competition come into your mind? Are you planning to take part next year? 

Ł .T.: Even though triathlon is an individual sport (before proper relay starts), you always feel better as a group – it is fun to be at the start line and then at the finish line with your teammates. I knew there were triathletes in our company. That is why, I thought about applying to the Passion Sponsorship Program to get funding for entry fees, professional outfits and training. I started looking for people who would like to join me – I promoted the competition using all possible internal communication channels. That is how some daredevils declared their readiness.  😉  

How much time does it take to prepare for 1/4 Ironman?  

Ł.T.: I think that less experienced people who start their triathlon adventure need a minimum of 6 months. Of course, they should have a good training plan, diet and time to recover. However, I think that with the right amount of diversified training you can effectively improve your capabilities. Self-discipline and regularity are the most important. 

So what was your training like? 

Ł.T.: We started preparing in January. Everyone trained individually – also because of where we live. Even people living in Poznan found it difficult to find a suitable time to train together. Everyone has their job, responsibilities and family life. With the i-Sport platform, we were lucky to be provided with support from professional trainers. Each contestant had their online coach who prepared weekly training plans based on an interview. Most importantly, the training plan was tailored to our physical capabilities, but also factors such as daily activities or time that we could spend on training were taken into account. Before the start, I was training 89 times a week and had one day off to rest and recover.  

Did everyone have a goal for this competition? 

Ł.T.: Each of us set goals for ourselves, on our own, but there was one thing we all had in common – we wanted to do our best and achieve the best results possible. Now we have a new challenge ahead – to maintain motivation and next year take part in the competition as a team. That’s what both Sii Triathlon Team and Passion Sponsorship Program are for – to support each other, motivate each other and inspire each other to develop. All this happens at Sii – I know it from my own experience with the running team, which is also training hard and taking part in virtual competitions despite the pandemic. It’s great to see us being consistent and moving forward. Keep it up!       

As part of Sii’s Passion Sponsorship Program, Sii Poland supports workers in pursuing their hobbies. Learn more about other projects (also those strictly technological) carried out recently by Power People. 

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