Josh Stapley is refocused on Australian triathlon titles

WHEN Josh Stapley crossed the finish line at the Canberra Triathlon Festival all he felt was bitter disappointment, but now, as he works towards his next challenge, that performance is one he can draw positives from.

MOVING FORWARDS: Josh Stapley is training hard in the lead up to nationals at Mooloolaba - an event which could play a big role in his bid for Australian selection. Photo: ANYA WHITELAW

MOVING FORWARDS: Josh Stapley is training hard in the lead up to nationals at Mooloolaba - an event which could play a big role in his bid for Australian selection. Photo: ANYA WHITELAW

Stapley joined fellow Bathurst triathletes Mark Windsor and Terry Roberts in Canberra to compete not only for glory on the day, but points that go towards determining national selection.

Triathlon Australia stages a number of events throughout the season which offer points, with the best three results of triathletes in their selected distance races going towards national selection.

The top performers in each age division – in Stapley’s case the 20-24 males – will earn a spot on the Australian team to contest the World Championships on the Gold Coast.

Stapley previously wore the green and gold at the World Triathlon Championships in 2015 when Chicago played host, and would love the chance to do so again.

He ended up placing sixth in his age group at Canberra, earning himself 19 points. He currently ranks 17th overall in his age group, though a number of his rivals have competed in two events already.

Stapley covered the 1.5 kilometre swim, 40km cycle, 10km run standard distance course in 2:14.20. He did well in the swim and cycle, but a preparation hampered by a calf injury and a stomach complaint meant he fatigued in the final 5km of the run.

Though disappointed initally with that time, upon reflection he realises the performance had its positives.

“That injury meant that I couldn't run again for another week to make sure I was right for Canberra, I only did water running for that week leading in. It meant I wasn't even able to get in a little bit of endurance training there,” he said.

“I sort of knew that coming in, but it was still hard to take on the day. 

“When you are absolutely physically exhausted your emotions runs a bit higher. I was very devastated when I crossed the line, but at the end of the day when I look back on it now, I'm still disappointed, but at least I'm being realistic, I probably couldn't have expect much more from myself on the day.

“It's a good learning curve and something good to take away that I did have that strong swim and bike leg. If I had of done the run pace I am targeting for nationals and beyond, I think I'll have a fairly significant time. 

“Taking that in, when you look at where I was one week prior, I'm pretty happy to get through a 10 kilometre run. A 4½ kay average isn't terrible.”

A day after competing at Canberra, Stapley was back in training. His next qualifying event at Mooloolaba on March 11 doubles as the national titles and success can see him earn important points.

So rather than dwelling on Canberra, he is doing everything he can to give him a chance of success in Queensland.

“That's racing at the end of the day, when you do a sport like I do your body is under constant stress. These things happen, but you've got to take it on the chin and just look straight ahead for the next race really,” he said. “I've a big training block coming up and I'll be looking to a few of the locals to get my speed back up.”