Hackett places 8th in the world in ITU World Triathlon Grand Final

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By Lauren Whelan, Sports Editor

 

 

On Sept. 19 over 100 of the top athletes in the world flocked to Chicago for the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final. Among these elite competitors was Cameron Hackett ’17, representing the University on one of the largest athletic stages imaginable. A biology major and member of ROTC, Hackett competed in the men’s 20-24 age group for the race. He completed the race with a personal record time of 1.59:54, placing him eighth in the world and third in the United States for his age group.

 

While Hackett has only been competing in triathlons for two years, his experiences and training have already qualified him for two of these large-scale races.

“I train a lot, two times a day and six days a week! I also tend to try and get more sleep the week before an event and eat healthy cutting out all sugar I can that week. Mentally, I focus and visualize the race and always set goals for each individual race and segment of the race—swim, bike, run,” Hackett said.

 

In order to compete in races such as the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final, each athlete must qualify to go to a national competition, and then further qualify for the international races. In two years, Hackett has already qualified for two national competitions where he went on to qualify for two international ones. His qualification for the Chicago race came last year, when he placed fourth in his race in Milwaukee. Hackett has also qualified for next year’s triathlon in Cozumel, Mexico.

 

The ITU World Triathlon Grand Final is an Olympic Distance Triathlon, which consists of a 1500m swim, 40k bike, and a 10k run. During the race, Hackett was off to an amazing start when he was the first athlete out of the water after only 18:54 minutes. Hackett stayed in the front of the pack during the bike portion, finishing the stretch at 54:28, and then finished strong with the run, which he completed in 41:03.

“I don’t think my accomplishments really ever hit me. I don’t know what that is about, but it never really dawns on me how well I do! I always feel great when I accomplish my goals but other than that I don’t feel like I have done anything awesome. I don’t think it still has really hit me that I finished eighth in the world in my race. After every race I always have something that needs improvement. This always fuels me for my next race and what to concentrate on in the future,” Hackett said.

 

Because the race is of such an intense caliber, and so extremely long, mental fortitude among the competitors is key.

 

“I feel extremely focused. The race always seems to go by so much faster than the same number of miles would during training, I think because I am so focused on racing that I do not pay attention to how much time has gone by. I love to compete and ever since I quit swimming, triathlons have been a great fill in for something that I was missing!” Hackett said.

 

Looking ahead, Hackett intends to make a few key changes to his regimen—most significantly, getting a coach.

 

“I have more competitions in the spring and after finishing this season I will finally be getting a coach instead of going at it alone. I really want to concentrate on running as that is my worst leg of the race,” Hackett said.

 

Hackett’s second international race will take place in Cozumel, Mexico next year and he will look to once again place among the world’s most prominent triathlon athletes.

 

 

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