Mooloolaba tri athlete tells: Brother’s death left huge hole
AS SHE prepares to make her triathlon debut at Mooloolaba this weekend, Kat Down is drawing motivation from a dream tragically cut short by the death of her brother 10 years ago.
Gold Coast native Down was just 17 years old when older brother Tim died in an accident without fulfilling his dream of completing a solo triathlon.
"The triathlon was always a goal of his, but friends wanted to compete in legs so he decided in 2005 to do a team entry at Mooloolaba," she said.
"Having recently moved to Cairns he came home for the weekend and we as a family joined him on his first real triathlon experience, one that should have been one of many.
"He was a cyclist at heart and was set to do the bike leg with his friends. However, their runner pulled out at the last minute, leaving Tim to do both the bike and the run, with no run training.
"Being a very active and determined person, he finished his two legs in great times and vowed that next time (at Noosa) he would do the whole event himself.
"Unfortunately this was never to be as he passed away in an accident just a week later."
The sudden death of her brother rocked Down, sending her into a negative spiral that did not end until two years ago.
"Like most Aussie kids I was very active and sporty throughout high school and beyond, but mostly that stopped when I was 17 and my brother passed away," she said.
"I was depressed and lost without any real goals or purpose. When I was about 22 I got my s..t together and decided I would try and do the triathlon for Tim that year, but I wasn't ready emotionally and couldn't commit to the required training so it fell to the wayside.
"It wasn't until 2012 that I really got myself back on track and stopped eating junk and worked on regaining my fitness."
Down says she continues to be motivated by her brother's actions years after his death.
"My brother was an achiever - he spent his whole life deciding to do something and going through with it regardless," she said.
"He was a very active guy and completed some massive pursuits, including a solo bike ride to Sydney to raise money for (cancer charity) CanTeen after a schoolmate passed away.
"He was always pushing me to do more and believed I could do a lot more than I have ever imagined, even if I couldn't see it at the time.
"Even his nickname (for me), Fat Kat, was his way of motivating me to do more."
Online triathlon entries have closed, but onsite entries (individual and team) are available today and tomorrow. Online entries for other festival events remain open.
For event and registration information visit http://www.mooloolabatri.com.au
ASICS Mooloolaba Twilight Sprint: Today, 5.30pm, at Mooloolaba Esplanade
Mooloolaba Superkidz and Special Triathlon: Tomorrow, 8am, at Charles Clark Park, River Esplanade.
Mooloolaba Ocean Swim: Tomorrow, 10am, at main beach, Mooloolaba.
2015 Mooloolaba ITU Triathlon World Cup: Tomorrow, 11.45am (elite women) and 1.30pm (elite men) at main beach, Mooloolaba.
Mooloolaba Criterium: Tomorrow, 3pm at Beach Terrace.
Mooloolaba Triathlon: Sunday, 6.35am (Mooloolaba ITU Triathlon Oceania Cup and age groups) and 8.40am (Mooloolaba Triathlon teams) at main beach, Mooloolaba.