Perseverance and consistency are two of the keys ingredients to "making it" as a triathlete.
That was the message that 2018 Ironman New Zealand winner Terenzo Bozzone had for up-and-coming athletes at the Triathlon Hawke's Bay awards dinner last Sunday night.
"If you're consistently getting out there and putting in the miles in training the results will reflect that," he said.
Bozzone was always an "active kid" but it was a wake-boarding accident that prompted him to try multisport. The young competitive swimmer was forced to take a break from the water while he underwent multiple surgeries on a burst ear drum. So, he borrowed a bike to compete in a school duathlon.
"No-one warned me about the transition feeling and the jelly-legs you get when you get off the bike. I hopped off the bike and fell over, straight on top of my bike as my legs just gave way underneath me."
He soon improved though, winning the 2001 and 2002 Junior Men's Elite Duathlon World Championship while still at high school. He then went on to win the 2002 and 2003 Junior Men's Elite Triathlon World Championship - the first person to simultaneously hold both titles.
He said the biggest obstacle in transitioning from schoolboy athlete to professional athlete was not taking for granted the amount of effort that was needed to be competitive. He advised the young athletes to work on developing a good work ethic.
"Consistent work is better than hard work," he said.
Perseverance was also key, as there will always be disappointment and setbacks.
The young Bozzone had dreamed of making the Olympics but was knocked back when he wasn't selected for the 2008 Beijing Olympic team. That's when he crossed over to racing long distance.
Throughout his career he has won 24 half Ironman distance races and three Ironman titles - including his first win in Taupo earlier this year.
"I've definitely learnt a lot from Ironman and in the last couple of years I've seen those learnings come into fruition."
He hadn't planned on racing in Taupo this year until his brother announced his intention to give it a go for the first time. So Bozzone went into the race relaxed, treating it as a good training day. It all came together and he broke the course record, completing the 3.8km swim 180km bike and 42.2km run in 7hr 59m 56s.
Bozzone joked that he would have won the race sooner if he knew it meant being invited to the Triathlon Hawke's Bay awards dinner as guest speaker.
He presented awards to the following club champions: Sophie Hogan (junior female), Will Kelsey (senior male), Karen Toulmin (senior female), Brendon Vesty, (vet 1 male), Kathy Eggers (vet 1 female), Buck Buchanan (vet 2 male), Ali Hollington (vet 2 female), Brendon McCormack (legend male) and Sherry Majors (legend female).
Brendon Vesty was awarded Club Performance of the Year for winning the inaugural Kiwiman Xtreme Triathlon. Shaz Dagg was awarded the Barry Payne Memorial Award for overcoming adversity and showing the true spirit of Triathlon Hawke's Bay. Dagg had half of her arm amputated as a result of an accident. Four weeks later she was back in the pool and is now aiming for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.