10 Feb 2023
Lauren Parker - The future’s looking bright

Lauren Parker - The future’s looking bright

I hope you’ve all had a fantastic start to 2023. I’d like to share an update on my year in 2022, and what’s next for me in 2023.

Lauren Parker - Ironman World Championships held in Kona HawaiiFirstly, I’m pleased to say my partnership with QBE has continued. I am privileged to have the support of such a great company. QBE has been absolutely amazing since starting my para-triathlon journey and I wouldn’t be able to train and do my sport without the support.

In January last year I was honoured to be named the 2022 Newcastle Citizen of the Year. I was so proud to be an ambassador for my city, and for every person who faces daily challenges of any kind. I choose to live my best life despite overwhelming adversity, and continue to make that choice every day. I hope the recognition I received for that choice will encourage others to do the same.

2022 was the hardest year since starting triathlons 14 years ago. Many challenges were thrown at me, but I’ve still managed to win races, and be on top of the world ranking, whilst my training has been on a trainer in my garage for most of the year.

If I reflect on my 2022 para-triathlon journey, I definitely kicked some goals.

After winning 7 from 7 races including two ironman distance events, and defending my title at the World Triathlon World Championships to become 3 x Sprint Distance World Champion, I couldn't be happier. I’m now a 6-time World Champion over 3 distances.

I didn't just complete any ironman races.... I chose the two toughest on the calendar.

Completing my first ironman since before my accident at the Ironman World Championships in Utah was a highlight. I could have chosen an easier course for my first, but I chose the toughest.

To get through that race was one of the hardest challenges I've conquered in my life. It was a brutal yet amazing course that made me dig deeper than I ever thought possible. For those that don’t know, an ironman is a 3.8km swim, a 180km bike ride, and a 42.2km marathon run.

I did the whole thing with my arms.

Lauren Parker - Ironman World Championships held in Kona Hawaii The second ironman I competed in was the Ironman World Championships held in Kona Hawaii – which was probably the most special. My dream since my accident has been to get back and race Kona.

After racing there twice as an able-bodied athlete with a podium, my goal has always been to race Kona as a para-athlete. I had many challenges along the way to get to Kona but as I always say, the word 'can't' isn't part of my makeup and I didn't want to have any regrets.

I ended up having an amazing race day and chose to stay in the moment and enjoy every part of it.

The Para-Triathlon Sprint Distance World Championships were held in Abu Dhabi In November. I was so happy to come away with another win and defend my title. Also, for the very first time in para-triathlon, we had the opportunity of racing a mixed team relay event. It was so much fun – and Australia won Gold.

No matter what you're going through.... keep going and never give up! That's what I was telling myself. Keep your mind clear, positive and focused and you can achieve anything. If you look past the challenges and distractions, you’ll find you’re already on your way, travelling in the right direction. If you set aside the doubts and ignore the voices that say you aren't good enough, you start to believe in yourself.

I feel very lucky to have been able to get back to the sport that I love and make the most of every opportunity that’s come my way. I always try and look at the positives in life, and focus on doing everything I can to reach the goals I set for myself. It’s been a privilege to represent Australia on the world stage and I look forward to what the future holds, and the opportunities ahead.

Looking forward, my 2023 schedule starts with the Oceania Championships in February, then on to Devonport in March for the first race of the World Triathlon series. After that I’m heading overseas for a lot of international races. It’s an important year because qualifications start for the Paris 2024 Paralympics. This year I’ll also be competing in some cycling races to try and qualify for the Paralympics cycling events as well as triathlon.

I will be busy but I’m looking forward to what the year brings and the challenges I will conquer.

Lauren Parker