Image: Phillip Carter
3 years and 2 days after his first triathlon, Elliott Williams raced at the World Triathlon Age Group Standard Distance Triathlon Championships recently held in Abu Dhabi. Being his first international racing experience, it was a trip of a lifetime but only the beginning for our determined Age Group athlete!
With a background in competitive rowing for six years, cross country, water polo and swimming, Elliott is no stranger to the sporting world. An unfortunate skiing accident left our athlete injured and unable to run for two years. But Elliott made the most of his time and fell in love with cycling. Having grown up watching his dad race triathlons, it was a no brainer to follow in his father’s footsteps – once he was cleared to run again of course!
While studying engineering at The University of Queensland, Elliott joined the UQ Triathlon & Adventure Racing Club (UQ TRIADS). The incredibly supportive and inclusive group welcomed Elliott with open arms. From sideline support on race day to training together in the cold mornings, the positive club culture was infectious. This made a lasting impression, with the now gradated uni student continuing to wear the UQ TRIADS trisuit in local races.
Last year, Elliott was involved in a cycling accident where he was hit by a car. A serious concussion left him unable to train at his normal level for nearly five months. Overcoming this injury, both physically and mentally, was a challenge. Continuously reminding himself of his triathlon goals has kept Elliott grounded and motivated throughout this journey. Implementing strategies such as seeing a therapist and utilising meditation, were critical to getting him back on the roads. However, riding in traffic continues to cause anxiety today, reinforcing that this sport involves jumping over many mental and physical hurdles.
In late 2021, when his mum set her sights on qualifying for the Standard Distance Triathlon Championships, Elliott also decided to have a crack! After both meeting the qualification standard for the event, the mother son duo were heading to Abu Dhabi to share a unique and special experience. Not only was this their first international racing experience, but the pair were fortunate to see a new part of the world.
The Age Group Standard Distance Triathlon Championships event was everything that Elliott had hoped and more! The most impressive part about the event was the atmosphere - being around elite and age group athletes from around the world was incredible. Elliott was lucky enough to have a shake out run with Gustav Iden, who provided some advice to our debutant. Spending time with the Australian elite team was also an eye-opening and motivating experience. As expected, Abu Dhabi’s weather was “apocalyptically hot” despite being days away from Winter. Being a mild Spring in Australia, Elliott had limited heat training– other than the recent scorching Noosa Triathlon! There was no problem with the language barrier, as most locals spoke English, but the lack of local convenience/grocery stores was a culture shock! A simple snack turned into a mini mission involving at least a 10 minute taxi ride – very different to Australia with convenience stores littered around town.
Now, after his world championship debut, Elliott’s primary goal is to continue striving to reach his potential. His weakest leg is cycling, so improving this in the short term will hopefully lead to competing in the Open Age Group category over the next few years. Working full time is an additional challenge but Elliott is determined and intrigued to see how far he can go as an Australian Age Group athlete.
Elliott would like to thank his coach (and dad) David Williams and good friend Michael Boult for getting him to the level he is today!