Hearing all about the IRONMAN World Championship one day from a cousin who lived in Hawaii had a pivotal effect on Patrik Nilsson's life and career.
He was in his late teens at that point, having done plenty of swimming as a child before transitioning to running. But he was starting to tire of the one-dimensional nature of the training.
Triathlon, and the full distance in particular, was to provide the variety and challenge he craved.
"Only doing running, you do get tired of it after a while. But with triathlon there are so many different aspects to work on, which makes it always interesting,” explains Patrik.
"I want to see how fast I can be and how many races I can perform at my best."
The Swede, who is based in Denmark, has already shown that he belongs at the highest level by winning five IRONMAN races so far and going under eight hours on four occasions.
The first of those wins came in Malaysia in 2014, and he doubled the tally by setting a new national record in Sweden the following year.
He was twice on the top spot of the podium in 2016, at Copenhagen and Barcelona, both times going sub-eight hours.
Though he didn't cross the line in front the following two years, he took a tremendous amount of pride in his podium places at Frankfurt where he raced against the very best in the sport.
His runner-up spot behind Jan Frodeno in that race in 2018 guaranteed his Kona place and he made an eye-catching debut in Hawaii with a top-10 finish as Patrick Lange, who had been only third in Frankfurt, rewrote the record books.
Nilsson continued his progress in 2019, landing a victory at Texas to book his Kona ticket again and the year ended memorably as he married Teresa, the mother of their son Matteo.
Going head-to-head with the best
The journey to full-distance triathlon usually starts at much shorter distances and builds up gradually to the ultimate test. Not for Patrik Nilsson.
His background had been in swimming and especially running in his early years, but when he took up triathlon he quickly realised he would be much more of a force the further he went.
He tried Olympic-distance races at 18 and 19, but even then found he struggled to stay competitive in the swim. This was then exacerbated by not being in the front group on the bike in what were draft-legal events.
He soon moved up to the middle distance, but still thought there was much more to come at the full. Having made the switch, it was linking up with coach Frank Jakobsen in 2014 that propelled him to a new level.
Nilsson registered his first victory with that triumph in Malaysia as he overcame stifling heat to finish nearly 17 minutes ahead of his rivals. He underlined his talent when taking second before the year was out at Western Australia.
The following year Patrik took the decision to decline a first Kona slot, partly to focus on trying to win his home race and also mindful that he wanted to head to Hawaii when he felt ready to compete.
That proved a wise decision by the 23-year-old, who broke the national record at IRONMAN Sweden by finishing in 8:08:05, again 17 minutes ahead of the rest.
If Nilsson wasn't on the radar before, then he certainly was in 2016 when he ran away with Copenhagen in 7:49:18. That time smashed his personal best by nearly 20 minutes and put him in the top 10 of all-time efforts.
Patrik didn't wait long to go under eight hours again, just six weeks in fact, thanks to a 7:55:28 in Barcelona which gave him title number four. That was despite some mechanical issues on the bike which were more than made up for by a 2:41:25 marathon.
Looking back now, it was his performances at the European Championship Frankfurt in 2017 and 2018 which made him feel like he belonged at the highest level.
He was third there in 2017 behind Sebastien Kienle and Andi Böcherer, and then second 12 months later, this time splitting Jan Frodeno and Patrick Lange.
"I want to race the best, in the biggest races," he explained.
So it was no wonder that he now felt the time was right to finally take that flight to Hawaii.
What a year it was for a first appearance as Lange became the first man to smash the eight-hour barrier, while Patrik promised great things were to come from him with an eighth-place finish.
He was out of the water in seventh but had dropped slightly to 13th coming out of T2. However, it was close and entering the infamous Energy Lab section on the run course he had moved into 10th, and a strong final 10km saw him jump up a couple more positions. It was quite a debut and he couldn't wait to come back.
Patrik aimed to secure his return ticket to Kona at South Africa the following April. But by his own admission he didn't have the legs that day, perhaps because of a hard block of training in Lanzarote immediately prior.
Eager to get back on track as soon as possible, he managed to book a flight from Frankfurt (one of the stops on his way back home) direct to Texas.
And two-and-a-half weeks after touching down in the United States, win number five was in the bag at Texas as well as that coveted Kona slot.
Texas had all boiled down to the run, with Patrik needing to make up 10 minutes on Andrew Starykowicz. But he looked in control throughout and made the catch in the second half thanks to a 2:42:41 marathon.
Another top-10 finish at Kona had looked on the cards, but things didn't go to plan right from the start as he just missed the break on the swim and then cramped up on the bike. He battled on but stomach issues and the heat meant a DNF in the second half of the marathon.
Putting family first
Asked what he is most proud of, Patrik says: "My family and being able to do the sport I love as my profession.
"I love the sport and the challenge it provides, both physically and mentally. I like everything about it - the community, the athletes and the energy a race has.
"Consistent training is key, finding a level that works month after month, not only for a few days.
"I always want to perform, to show my son Matteo that everything is possible with hard work."
With the travelling demands the sport brings, holidays aren't particularly high on Patrik's list of priorities.
"I don't really do them - with all the racing and training camps, I think the best location to relax and enjoy the family is at home."