This week, Coach Nestor got the chance to get to know a bit about Mark Harland, an unstoppable and incredibly disciplined athlete. From the freezing but friendly lands of Canada, Mark has lived all his life in contact with the sport. From his early years when he grew solid through rugby, agile through ice hockey and unstoppable at American Football, in recent years he has turned is discipline to Triathlon – because why excel at one sport when you can excel at 3! Mark has been characterised by his discipline and consistency, as well as being a loving father who leads by example. At Davey Black, Mark is known as a complete gentleman with a respectful character.
NESTOR: The first question is simple: What motivates you to do Triathlon?
MARK: I’m motivated by my personal fitness, setting an example for my 3 kids and learning a new sport.
Mark started triathlon 3 years ago and he believes that sport brings much more than physical fitness. As previously written about in “Finding happiness in Fitness” the positive effects of sport transcend winning and losing and this is even more prevalent when sharing your fitness journey with family and friends.
NESTOR: The second question is about your Triathlon life. Please tell us a little about your personal Triathlon journey.
MARK: My first triathlon was a Sprint Bintan, Indonesian just before I moved from Singapore to Melbourne. My swim was ‘ugly’ and the bike was hot, but I got the bug. Almost 2 yrs ago I did my first Standard Distance race in Noosa. My whole family came and I loved the atmosphere despite almost drowning in the first 200m! I forced myself to keep my head down and managed to finish a very bumpy swim. My bike leg was solid and my 10km run was a PB!
In recent memory the most significant event I’ve done was climbing Mt Everest Base Camp 6 months after Noosa. Triathlon gave me a great fitness base and confidence for the 2 week trek.
Why do the Everesting Challenge when you can go directly to Mt. Everest, that’s taking the sport to a whole new level!!!
NESTOR: Finally, a bit of the man behind the athlete. Mark, as any other athlete, you have lived through a lot. You have had the challenge of keeping your passion alive while raising a family, maintaining a job and staying fit and strong. Tell us a little about how you balance your life.
MARK: I grew up in Montreal, Canada playing lots of ice hockey, rugby and American Football. The thought of running more than 5kms or biking more than 20kms didn’t hold any appeal to me till I was in my 40s. I had 5 knee surgeries as a result these contact sports before I left University, so cycling, and now swimming, are a great way to compete again without heavy impact on the joints. I have 3 young kids who are swimming, biking and running now. They even competed in the WeetBix TRYathlon last summer which was great fun for everyone.
Finally, my work in the auto industry has taken me all over the world so I love learning new cultures, foods, languages, great beaches, etc. Melbourne seems to have everything, so we plan to stay around for a long time!
Mark has shown an incredible improvement on a triathlon coaching Melbourne program over the few years that he has been involved in the sport. Mark is very good at getting the balance right in his life. You’ll see him swimming in the open water, even through winter, riding with the squad, running strong or attending S&C. A happy life is all about getting the balance of family, work and fitness right.