GREAT RECORD: Courtney Atkinson is feeling reinvigorated.
GREAT RECORD: Courtney Atkinson is feeling reinvigorated. John Mccutcheon

Three-time Noosa Tri winner finds love of running

THREE-time Noosa Triathlon winner Courtney Atkinson says his reinvigorated love of running has him primed for the Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast.

Atkinson took some time out from racing in June to holiday with his family and reassess his outlook and his goals.

The two-time Olympian came back hungry to "find" his running legs, which he felt he had lost after focusing on the longer ironman distance.

He competed in a series of runs including the Bridge to Brisbane, where he placed third.

Atkinson made a fitting return to the Olympic distance (1.5km swim, 40km ride and 10km run) by winning the ITU Singapore Triathlon last month despite limited race preparation.

He said the fear of losing his leg speed was now paying dividends, which he hoped would translate to a strong finish in Mooloolaba on Sunday.

"Doing all the long course racing you are always running a bit slower and I was just starting to feel like I was losing touch," he said.

"That started to scare me because I was losing the one thing that came naturally for me, which is my running.

"If I didn't get back into my running when I did, I would have taken a long time to get back, if at all.

"Going back to running has allowed me to come back to 70.3 racing (1.9km swim, 90km ride and 21.1km run) fresh and do it well."

Atkinson admitted a break from the half-ironman (70.3) had him more excited than worried about the quality of his performance on Sunday.

After his seven ITU World Cup wins, three Noosa Triathlon victories, four Australian Olympic-distance triathlon championships and four Australian Grand Prix events, it would take a brave person to write him off.

"There is always that little bit of unknown, but I know my body is in good shape," he said.

Another story on the elite men's field on Page 51


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