ISRAELI-BORN Melburnian Lisa Zilberpriver surprised herself by performing better than expected in “one of the toughest” events she had ever competed in, the 2019 Challenge Triathlon World Championships in Samorin, Slovakia, earlier this month.
The determined 40-year-old, who only three years ago suffered a horrific road cycling injury that still causes her pain and requires treatment – completed the 1.9km swim in the chilly 12 degree waters of the Danube River, the 90km bike leg in windy conditions, and a 21km run in scorching heat in 5 hours and 41 minutes.
While it was 26 minutes slower than her PB posted earlier this year in the Melbourne Challenge, Zilberpriver felt satisfied that she gave it her all, and she will learn from the experience of her first world championships appearance.
She came 18th out of 34 in the women’s 40-44 age division, and 107th in a field of 226 women from all over the world.
“It was not the day for a PB,” she said, after having to deal with unexpected obstacles including a wetsuit malfunction, strong currents in the “freezing” Danube, the handlebar on her bike coming loose, a quick toilet break and “brutal heat” in the closing kilometres to the red carpet finish line.
She described her big smile at the end as “actually the soul-flooding relief of someone who at several points that day was 100 per cent convinced she would not be running down that carpet”, adding she is “beyond proud” that she kept her promise to see how far she could get.
An earlier fundraising campaign, supported by members of Melbourne’s Jewish community and her club Tri-Alliance, enabled her elderly father, Yitzhak, to travel to Samorin from Israel to watch her, and then accompany her in a once-in-a-lifetime visit to nearby Auschwitz concentration camp, to honour family members who perished there.