Cristina Sironi: how running led her to the joys of triathlon

WE TALK to Cristina Sironi about her passion for triathlon and the journey it's led her on.

Christina Sironi

Cristina Sironi had always been involved in sports but it wasn’t until she was 35 that she started out in triathlon.

CRISTINA SIRONI started out in triathlon at the age of 35. However, she made up for lost time by throwing herself into the sport as hard as she could.


Having grown up in a small town in Italy she had always played as much sport as was possible. This meant it was no surprise that once she got the triathlon bug there was no stopping her and her commitment to the sport has seen her quit her job and travel the world.


Here she talks about that journey as well as how other sports and passions that have made her the athlete she is today.


When did you start triathlon and when was it you realised you had a real talent for the sport?


I actually started with triathlon very late in life. It was June 2010, at the age of 35 when I timidly tried my first duathlon. I enjoyed it so much that only a few weeks later I tried my first triathlon sprint.


I’ve always been a very sporty girl, since I was a little kid. I tried many sports, from volleyball to acrobatic gymnastics, to speed skating. I then stuck to tennis for many years. I competed at a regional level but I never had major results.


During my university years, where I studied Biotechnology, I picked up rock climbing. I really got into it: I was going off for weekends camping in the wilderness and climbing in fantastic awesome mountain places!


I started running, just to keep fit and have the fitness to walk in the mountains; and that’s when I started to realise I liked running a lot, and it was so natural for me.


Talking to people I got to know this beautiful sport which is triathlon: I immediately felt I could enjoy it, it was a new challenge for me, and I was really curious to try it. So I did. I bought my first second-hand racing bike (a Bianchi celeste puro, much too big for me hahha) and I did my first duathlon. I remember all my teammates cheering me while I was running. They told me I was incredible, a real talent, I had no preparation at all and I ended amongst the first of my category.


From then it was all a crescendo. I started training more regularly, I got to know the sport better, and from 2011 I often concluded my races on the podium of my category.


Cristina Sironi

Cristina has recently once again qualified for Kona.

Where did you grow up and how often did you get the chance to run?


I grew up in Vimercate, a small town near Milano. I was fortunate to have parents who let me do lots of sports. We had a tennis court in the garden of our condominium, so that was the natural passage for me.


When I grew up and moved to Milan I discovered other sports and then I fell in love with triathlon. Milan is fortunately near many mountains, so it was not difficult to set out on the bike and have lovely rides in the surroundings.


What were some of your earliest triathlon successes?


My first big success came from duathlon. I was third in the Italian Championships in 2012, and that gave me the confidence to carry on.


I’m not a good swimmer so it wasn’t until 2015 when I decided to start with the long distances. I then came third in the Italian championships long distance.


Cristina Sironi

Having always been a competent runner Cristina feels it has been her swim where she has had to work the hardest during her triathlon journey.

What is it about Triathlon you love so much?


I love triathlon because it’s a complete sport. it’s never boring or repetitive: it’s three sports together, so every day it’s always different. My strongest leg is the running, while I’m a very poor swimmer. That’s why my first successes came from duathlon.


I’m into the long distances now, because I love also that mental part, which is fundamental in the endurance races. I seem to have this capacity of focusing, of becoming obsessive sometimes, which in a sport like long distance triathlon is part of the game. Mental strength and resilience are key players in such races; you don’t feel the exhaustion if you’re mentally strong and focused.


What have been some of biggest triathlon accomplishments to date?


Well, with do doubt my biggest achievement has been qualifying for Kona. In 2016 I was 18th overall and second in my category with 10h36′, which allowed me to go to Kona in October 2016. My biggest dream!


And last week I did it again. I worked hard for it and I earned the qualification for KONA2018 by competing in Ironman Vichy on August 27. I was first in my category and 5th overall with 10h14′. I’m really excited to compete again in Kona in 2018, I want to do better than I did in 2016


Having qualified for the second time gives me more confidence in my possibilities, and I hope to find a sponsor that will help in this big journey. This is my passion but it’s also my life, I can feel it deep down inside. It’s like a painter who can’t paint, or a writer who can’t write…


How often are you currently training and are you training for any particular races or events?


In this exact moment I’m in recovery mood, so it’s just very easy bike and swim sessions, just based on my sensations. In normal situations I train everyday, in all disciplines.


I quit my job in 2015 to follow my passion. I realised this is what really drives me on every day. It’s so strong this impulse I have for triathlon that I often regret not having discovered it before.


My focus this coming year is obviously on KONA in October 2018, but I will surely be preparing for other races before.


It’s important to have shorter term goals, even to test how the training is going. I will discuss them with my coach Tony Hasler, who is following me with great dedication!

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