Felicity Sheedy-Ryan says the best advice she’s ever been given is to “hurry slowly”. She’s currently doing an excellent job of following that mantra in elite triathlon.
The two-time World Duathlon Champion (2012 and 2017) got into the sport when her father needed a swimmer for a corporate team. She loved it straight away and was hooked.
Since then Aussie star ‘Flick’ has swum, cycled and run to the top level as a professional, and she remains very much there.
She finished 14th on her debut at the 70.3 World Championship in Port Elizabeth in 2018, while her 70.3 performances in 2019 included a victory at Busselton, a second spot in Taupo and 34th at the World Championship in Nice.
Sheedy-Ryan says the run is her favourite of the three disciplines, relishing the opportunity to push herself to the limit. And talking of limits, Flick’s most painful triathlon memory is a perfect example of the agony this toughest of sports can dish out.
It came at Challenge Iskander Puteri in Malaysia, and she explains: “I went in physically quite under done already, and if you want to know what it feels like to race on the face of the sun, Iskander is a good place to start.
“After dropping my first water bottle on the run. I dug a hole too deep I didn't get out of. While my intestines started to microwave and I felt like crawling into a bush and crying, I was too dehydrated for tears anyway so somehow grovelled on, just one painful slow footstep in front of the other, edging my mushy brain not to fall over. Probably my biggest mental battle to make it to a finish line I would have had in 10 years. That was a fun race!”
Away from the triathlon course Flick can’t live without her pets, and her cheat meal is a stellar choice of burger, chips and chocolate. If she has a quirk, she tells us it is not liking cheese on her pizza, while cockroaches are about the only things which scare her.
As for heroes, Sheed-Ryan admits to worshipping fellow Australian triathlete Loretta Harrop when she first got into the sport - “I thought she was tough as nails,” she reveals.
Flick cares about the sport, and for the legacy she will leave once she has called time on her career, explaining: “I want to inspire others to have a moral compass, integrity and empathy, on and off the field. As an athlete, not giving up, be resilient and tough. Be approachable, humble and encouraging to others to do their best.”