GOING FOR GOLD WITH HANNAH PACE

Hannah Pace had started running at an early age and has always enjoyed sports, but she often tells people that she had come across triathlon by accident. She had been studying in Italy at the time and was back in Malta after two years, when she saw a flyer about a triathlon for beginners. Her mum thought she was crazy at the time as she didn’t even own a bike, but she decided to rent one and give it a go. She figured she could run, so she was already one third of the way there. The rest is history, and at the age of twenty-three, she’s now been practicing the sport for over five years.

“I’ve definitely come a long way from that day, and I’ve traveled around the world racing in numerous countries. I have my coach, Dermot Galea, to thank for making me the athlete I am today, especially after having to deal with, let’s say, not the easiest of athletes for almost four years now.  Probably one of my most memorable moments so far was at my first international race at the European triathlon championships in Alanya in Turkey back in 2013. I remember being extremely nervous at the start line. Not only did I end up smashing the race, but I also won a gold medal in my age group. It’s definitely been a huge journey, and I’ve won numerous medals at these championships over the years, both in sprint and Olympic distance. Last year, in Lisbon, I managed to win a silver medal in both the sprint and Olympic distance. Although I’ve come a long way, 2017 is definitely looking to be the biggest, since I’ve recently signed a contract with a French Triathlon Team and will be representing them at the Grand Prix de Triathlon.”

Image credit: Angie Conti

 

Date of Birth: 21st May, 1993

Location: Balzan

Star Sign: Taurus 

Occupation: Triathlete

What makes you stand out from other athletes?

I think all athletes are different to be honest. We all have our weird ways of dealing with training and races and life in general. Personally, I try to keep a balance between my personal life and my athletic career. I may not be the most disciplined athlete, but I think that my relaxed attitude towards things keeps me motivated and helps me deal with things when they don’t go the way I planned.

Image credit: Angie Conti

 

What’s your general perception of the local sports field?

In Malta, triathlon is definitely an up and coming sport. I haven’t been in the scene long enough to remember, but I’ve heard a lot of stories about the days when there only used to be around twenty athletes taking part in local races. I started racing in Malta about five years ago and even since then, I’ve seen a massive leap in the number of participants. We’re getting bigger every year, and it’s great to see the sport growing so much and gaining such popularity. What is even nicer is to see growth in the youth section and the start of the Malta Youth Triathlon Academy. It shows the potential for an even bigger field, as they’re the future of our sport.

How does Malta fare with the rest of the world with regards to triathlon?

In spite of being such a small community, we see local triathletes achieving great results internationally and getting more and more mentions in the media. Many Maltese athletes are opting for longer distances, and we’re seeing better results every year. We’ve even had several athletes qualify for world championship events in their respective age groups. A couple of us are also competing for international teams in overseas triathlon leagues.

I’d say we may not be quite there yet, but we are moving in the right direction, especially with the focus on the youth sector with young athletes even being sent to internationally organised training camps. The Malta Triathlon Federation has also sent numerous coaches for training courses abroad so yes, we’re getting there. The federation also sends a contingency to participate in European Triathlon Championships in their respective age group and so far in the years that I’ve attended, there have always been some medals.

Image credit: Angie Conti

 

Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?

Ten years is definitely a long way away, and anyone who knows me can say that I’m not much of a planner. I prefer to take things one day at a time. I definitely would not have imagined myself to be where I am today ten years ago. Of course, I have certain goals and targets, but I’m hoping that it won’t take a decade to get there. Also, opportunities tend to arise when you least expect them. For instance, last summer I had what I thought were fixed plans of my goals for 2017. One email from an international team changed everything for me, and I ended up with an entirely different approach for this year. So I guess my plan is to just keep looking forward and gain as much experience as I can from triathlon. So far, it’s working, as the triathlon has taken me all around the world, and I’ve made so many friends through it.