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Estwanik enjoying new lease of life

First love: Estwanik has qualified for next year’s World Ironman 70.3 Championships

Triathlon is a part of Ashley Estwanik’s programme these days after capping off a strong year of overseas competition by qualifying for next year’s World Ironman 70.3 Championships in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

It has proven to be a good way to stay active after an Achilles injury interrupted Estwanik’s running.

She finished second in her age group in the Miami Ironman last month with a creditable time of 4hr 47min 52sec to qualify for next September’s World Championships. Now the experienced road runner is looking ahead to a couple more overseas triathlons in 2017, a year that will start back on the road with the Bermuda Marathon Weekend in January.

“I’ve been resting quite a bit since Miami, so I’m just getting out running again,” Estwanik said.

“It’s interesting the way swimming and cycling does different things to your body, so I feel I need to get some running in. It’s just about managing my Achilles injury which is probably going to be a chronic thing, so I can’t run too much.

“The cycling helps it but I feel I need to get back out doing some running, which makes me feel good.”

Estwanik also finished second in the North American Ironman 70.3 Championships in Utah in May before placing thirteenth in the World Ironman 70.3 Championships in Mooloolaba, Queensland, in 5:02.50 in September.

Now she is gearing up for January’s Bermuda Marathon Weekend when she will do either the half-marathon or Triangle Challenge.

“I won’t do the Front Street Mile, my body can’t handle that training anymore,” she said. “But if I do the Triangle Challenge it will be the mile of the Challenge, the 10K on the Saturday and then the half on Sunday. I wouldn’t be going all out in the mile.

“I’ve done the Challenge the last few times, but last year I didn’t do anything because of injury, so it’s been on and off. The Achilles injury is a lot better now that I’ve been doing triathlon training because it did stem from just doing too much running.

“Then I got to the point where I couldn’t run at all, so that’s when I started cycling and swimming and then the triathlon thing just fell into place with running being my best sport.

“The community here for triathlon here is amazing, really supportive with a lot of great people and a great way to stay in shape.

“Doing three sports you’re a lot less likely to get injured.”

Estwanik will be in Tennessee early next year for another triathlon in the same place as the world championships.

“There are a ton of Bermudians going to the same place in May for a Half-Ironman and I had already signed up for that as my Ironman for next year,” she said. “But then when I was in Miami I also qualified for the Worlds in the same place so it will be nice to know where I’m going, to see what it’s like.

“Also in March, I’ll be doing the New York City half-marathon, which will be my fourth time doing it.

“Last year I did my personal best of 1:18.19 and I’m hoping to go under 1:20 again if I can get myself back into good running shape.”

That time through the streets of Manhattan enabled Estwanik to lower her national women’s half-marathon record, which she set two years earlier with a time of 1:19.18.

“Running is in my blood, I can’t not do something,” said Estwanik, whose cousin Tyler Butterfield is a top triathlete. His brother Spencer, is also now getting back into triathlons.

“He’s [Tyler] got such a positive attitude about everything, he was in Australia when I did the World’s and he’s such a relaxed athlete and makes it work.”