Taryn-Maie Wille, an old-Kingswoodian currently studying in Stellenbosch University, will once again showcase her talent on the world stage in the Elite Cross-Triathlon World Championships in Spain at the end of April. While the ITU Championships will take place in Pontevreda, Spain, from 26 April to 4 May, Wille’s event, the Elite Cross-Triathlon, will take place on Tuesday 30 April.
In her third year studying a BSc in Conservation Ecology, Wille will be looking to take home the gold in the U23 category, as she did in Canada two years ago. In 2018, Wille took part in her second consecutive Worlds competition, this time finishing fourth after a stumble on the bike saw her missing the podium by the nearest of margins. This year, however, Wille is confident that she will be able to finish in the top three.
“I was very happy with fourth; I was happy just to have finished [after falling off the bike in 2018],” said Wille. “After I got back from Denmark last year I got a proper coach, his name is Conrad Stoltz, he used to be a pro triathlete, so he is pretty up there and has helped me out a lot.”
Growing up in Makhanda (Grahamstown), Wille took part in a number of fitness activities including track and cross country running at school, mountain biking with her dad, and swimming at school. The combination of trail cycling and running appealed to her the most, and she became more and more interested in the idea of Cross-Triathlons.
“I was always more into the mountain biking,” said Wille. “Then I discovered XTERRA, which is like a brand of off road triathlons, that have events all over the world. I did my first one in first year, and then I decided that ‘this is for me’.”
In preparation for her return to the World Champs, Wille has been training round the clock, with her coach providing her with a highly specific training schedules based on heart rate goals and race pace sessions. “We don’t train fast pace all year round because otherwise you can end up getting injured or just over it,” Wille said.
Wille has also been taking part in various triathlon and other events as practice and training for the upcoming world champs. She had completed a 3,8km Ironman distance open-water swim earlier this year, and came fourth in the recent Grabouw XTERRA, which is the qualifying race for South Africans for Worlds, which she used as a training race.
Eventually Wille suggested that she would like to get more involved with the longer Ironman distances, however said that for now she is more interested in the faster-paced, shorter distances. With that said, however, she would be very interested in taking part in the 2019 GBS Mutual Bank Mountain Drive Half Marathon in August.
Despite her major success on the international stage, Wille maintains committed to her academic career as well. After she finishes her undergraduate degree, Wille has said that she would look to earn a scholarship to an overseas university, where they value highly the type of athlete that she is.