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Meet Mel Hauschildt, one of the world’s best triathletes

SuuntoTri — 23 March 2017

Triathlete Mel Hauschildt is coming off what most would consider a banner year in 2016 – taking home podiums at the Euro Double during the summer, had a tremendous come-from-behind victory in Oz, and reclaimed the top spot in the world rankings coming in to 2017. Yet she’s still not satisfied. Read on to learn a little bit about the newest member of the Suunto team, who she is, and how she got here.

Most people call me Mel.

I’m from Queensland, Australia, and I do triathlon. I used to be a professional runner with my main events as the 1500m and 3k steeplechase. 

I swapped to Tri in 2010 – I couldn’t afford to be a runner, and I kept getting injured. I gave triathlon a go, made some money, and kept doing it!

Mel's background is in running – but now she loves the bike. © Thierry Sourbier,

I just jumped in.

I did a small local race one weekend before to put it all together, and then just jumped in a half Ironman.

The half is my favorite distance.

You can do 70.3 every weekend, and I like racing, so I do that. It’s not so tough on the body and you don’t need the recovery time of the longer races.  

I only started swimming for real in 2010. 

I never really liked the water, I was more a land person. I could swim, of course, every kid in Australia grows up at the beach – but I used to get my mom to write me notes to get out of swim class!  Swim is still my weakest part of the race –  I never enjoy a swim. My favorite swim is Sunday afternoon for an ocean swim. I don’t hate it like I did when I first started. 

If I retired tomorrow I’d probably never get in the lap lane again. 

I’ve tried everything in the water and don’t improve – I’d swim the same times if I swim 30k a week or if I sat in the chaise lounge next to the pool. It totally does my head in! 

I love the bike.

I usually try and ride hard, and get to the front in the bike leg, and make up what I’ve lost in the swim. To be honest, it’s my favorite part of the race. 

Mel on her way to a win in Ironman Western Australia in December. ©

But the run is my strongest leg. 

I put more effort in the bike, but I can leave it all out there in the run – I think I have a better pace judgement in running, and know not to go out too fast. I’ve got a lot more KMs in my base as a runner than most triathletes. 

My training is a little unorthodox.

I guess coming from a running background, I train quite differently – when I first started I went with a tri coach but I just didn’t agree with how he was doing things. Now my husband coaches me. I actually do a lot less running than most triathletes. I was getting a lot of injuries, so I bought a bike and got quite good at that. I do most of my base work there. I run up to 70k a week, where as most athletes do up to 100. But I do a lot more on the bike than them. 

I’ve got a few injuries. 

Most of my injuries have been in my running career – every stress fracture under the sun. I ruptured my hamstring tendon, after it had been tearing, but it wasn’t diagnosed, and it was six months till I got it fixed. So now I have two muscles going through one tendon. I have a broken rib that just won’t heal. That’s life!  

I love the hometown crowd. 

I used to always say Phuket was my favorite place to race – I just love the location. But the race has changed a bit, and now I really love racing in Australia – but I don’t get to race their often. 

Stay tuned for Mel's triathlon training tips!

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