The source of all modern diseases is stress. Studying, searching for a job, working, raising children… there’s no time to rest. But everyone has their own way of blowing away stress. Some do it through sports. Women’s News reports on the attraction of sports according to female sports maniacs in the special series on “I love sports.”
“The reason I show good performance even without much member activities … ironically is because I work hard on other sports, and because I don’t feel any pressure about performance. Triathlon requires athletic ability as well as endurance. It exercises the whole body. So whatever sports you do, they all help. Wind surfing, scuba-diving, sports climbing all help me develop strength.”
Hwang Ji-ho (34) came in first place among women in their 30s in the 2013 triathlon club member rankings. She was an unrivaled winner with a score 3 times higher than the person who came in next. In an interview with the Women’s News in Olympics Swimming Pool in Songpa-gu, Seoul, she shyly said, “I think the high score is thanks to active participation in various races”
Triathlon is a compound word of two Latin words, meaning three (tri) competitions (athlon). It includes swimming, cycling, and marathon. It’s also known as the “ironman” competition. The ranking is decided based on records from all events. It was initiated in the 1970s in America, and it was chosen as an official event since the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Hwang’s main course is 1.5km swimming, 40km cycling and 10km running.
“Since I get good results, people ask me whether I participate for the prize money. No. The Triathlon competition barely has any prize money. In fact, I use a lot of money as transportation, participation, lodging expenses and even more because there are many local matches.”
Hwang works full-time at Songpa-gu Olympic Swimming Pool and Sports Complex during the weekdays. In fact, it’s not just swimming. Hwang is an all-rounded ‘sports-woman’ since she has as many as sixteen sports-related licenses including windsurfing instructor, swimming chief executive, aerobics instructor, Korea National Red Cross first aid instructor and etc.
“The reason I’m good at it? Because I enjoy it.”
“Since triathlon involves various types of sports, when you get bored of an event, you can always start training for another one. When it comes to triathlon, there is pressure that you must perfect all three of the events; but whenever this happens, I recharge my mind and body by doing other sports. Although it is a different event, all sports use physical competence and decide a rank or record; therefore, all sports help improve the skills required in triathlon.”
2014 will be the fifth year since Hwang began triathlon, and she is planning to challenge herself into doing the full Iron course (3.8km swimming, 182km cycling, 42.195km marathon).
“When I am doing three events for more than three hours, I think ‘please let this be over. Why am I doing this?’ But the amazing thing is that after the competition is over and my body is exhausted, I think ‘next time I will do better and make less mistakes.’ I established a goal to participate in the ironman course next year, so this winter I will have to train hard. Whenever I feel bored in the middle, I can just move on to another type of sports. (laugh)”
At the end of the interview, I asked whether there are any difficulties while training for the triathlon because she is a woman.
“The course length is same for men and women, and your gender does not matter when it comes to joining the club. Nevertheless, the fact that men make the start is an issue worth raising for women. If you start first, it will probably be better for you since you do not have any players in front of you… I casually told the league officials about this, but change doesn’t come so easily.“
If you want to start the triathlon
Access the homepage of Korea Triathlon Federation affiliated to Korea Sports Council (www.triathlon.or.kr), and you will be able to find club information for each area. If club activity is a burden, you can start by individually applying to enter the competition.