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Saturday 21 September 2019
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Riana Harrinauth heads new triathlon club

Paying positivity forward

Riana Harrinauth
Riana Harrinauth

RIANA Harrinauth is a certified triathlon, coach, administrator, personal trainer, and founder/head coach of 868 Triathlon Club – a multi sport club led by women directors. Harrinauth is also a breast cancer survivor, who has found her calling in the sport's varying capacities, which she said provides her with a distraction from the battle.

"This is a tough journey," she told WMN.

"I rely on the little things that add purpose and drive to keep fighting because it's easy to slip into a downward spiral of despair, hopelessness and depression. My focus is surrounding myself with positive actions and people."

Among them are her cousin Reshma Harrinauth, who is the club's secretary, and public relations officer, Pauline Joseph. All three women are directors.

Harrinauth has mandated 868 Triathlon Club to provide a welcoming environment conducive to women and girls in sport. Each member is attended to personally to help them achieve their respective goals.

"I am part of a community of cancer fighters and their loved ones trying to make the most of their lives in this battle, (to) keep fighting. My breast cancer journey is the past, present and future.

"The members are very supportive and have positive attitudes, which benefits me mentally and emotionally.

"Paying that positivity forward," she said, "helps me focus on bigger goals than just myself."

Riana Harrinauth, front right, founder and head coach at 868 Triathlon Club, with several of her teammates.

Harrinauth was introduced to triathlons through Team Hope in 2014 and fell in love it.

"When I completed my first sprint triathlon at Rainbow Cup in 2014, I was hooked and have been involved in triathlons ever since."

Since then, she has stepped up to the more daunting challenges, competing in the 2017 Ironman 70.3 in Florida, as well as the 2017 Multirace Sprint Duathlon, also in Florida, where she placed first in the women's 35-39 age division.

She was elected to the TT Triathlon Federation (TTTF) board as vice-president a year before and still maintains the post.

Last year, Harrinauth was chosen as one of the national coaches for the second Carifta Triathlon and Aquathlon Championships at Turtle Beach, Tobago. She began coaching in an official capacity after earning a Level I coaching certificate.

"(My) future race goals include completing a full marathon, the Rainbow Cup Olympic distance, many more Ironman 70.3 (events), the national duathlon Olympic distance and an Ironman 140.6. Reshma is my cousin. Pauline is a triathlete as well. She is actually one of the members training for the Ironman 70.3 Shanghai race on October 20."

Joseph recently completed the Olympic distance at Rainbow Cup, the standard distance at the TTTF National Duathlon and a Sprint Triathlon in Barbados.

The club started with just four members and has grown to 23­, including the the directors, in just over six months.

Reshma attempted her first triathlon in 2014, and her second last year, without success. She was involved in a biking accident in 2018 and suffered fractured ribs, which ruled her out of competition for the year. In spite of her set back, she dove head first back into training, once she was cleared to do so, and made up her mind that she would rebound this year.

"Reshma officially became a triathlete at the Siparia Triathlon 2019 after completing the Try a Tri distance. She went on to complete her second Try a Tri at the challenging Rainbow Cup course two weeks later. Now she continues to train towards her next big goal of completing a 5k without walking and doing a half marathon." Joseph, a digital marketing expert, and an active member of the club, is in training for the Ironman 70.3 Shanghai race, which will be held on October 20.

Team 868 Triathlon Club's women athletes at the Massy Rainbow Cup.

868 Triathlon Club may not be a household name in TT just yet, but it has gained enough exposure already to garner attention from abroad, having become one of 90 clubs from around the world, and the only one from TT, to receive a grant through the Ironman Foundation's Women For Tri Programme, which was established to support local triathlon clubs and increase female participation in triathlons.

"It's been exciting and fulfilling so far," said Harrinauth, whose club has gotten nine members to compete in their first triathlon, and another two to complete their first Olympic distance triathlon. Apart from putting special emphasis on women's participation, the club also encourages training outside of Port of Spain, hosting training sessions from Macqueripe to Point Fortin.

In addition to the typical running, riding and swimming features of a triathlon, members also engage in strength training, yoga, stretching, and not least, the occasional post-training social gathering.

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