name Lauren Parker, Loz d.o.b 15/12/1988 live Newcastle, Australia & Mallorca, Spain coach John Hill profession Athlete + Sales Assistant & website manager at Fastgear
From an early age I have been involved in Swimming and Surf Life Saving at a competitive level. I gained many country, state and national titles as well as competing at the Olympic Games Swimming trials at 14. I was selected on many NSW and Australian teams and squads during this time. I would swim 14-16km a day whist attending school at St.Philips Christian College, Waratah where I achieved national swimming titles in school sport.
I started triathlon in 2009 after being seen by a professional triathlon coach at a local event. I was given the opportunity to be a part of the ‘National Talent Identification Program’, which was a program aimed to identify talented athletes from other sports and transfer their talent to the sport of triathlon. I gained my professional triathlon license thereafter which allowed me to race in ITU events, World Cup and Continental Cup races around the world against the best in the sport.
I have raced in countries such as Spain, China, France, New Zealand, Switzerland, Sweden, and Poland. In 2011, I spent 6 months in France traveling and competing in international races. This opportunity gave me a lot of experience for the future and allowed me to grow as a developing athlete, as well as on a personal level in all aspects of life.
I moved into long course racing in 2012 doing my first Half Ironman 70.3 (1.9km swim/90km bike/21.1km run) event and in 2013 I qualified for the 70.3 World Championships. In 2014 I completed my first Ironman (3.8km swim/180km bike/42.2km run) at Port Macquarie and became Australian Age Group Champion gaining a qualification to the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. At this event I also had the fastest swim time out of all female athletes including professionals.
On the 11th October 2014 I raced at the Ironman World Championships in Kona Hawaii and came 10th in the world in my age group.
In December 2014 I raced at Ironman WA, Busselton and came 1st in my age group, which gave me a qualification for the Ironman World Championships, Kona, Hawaii in October 2015.
Throughout the Australian winter months of 2015, I had the opportunity of training in Mallorca, Spain with my now coach, John Hill. This was an absolutely amazing experience and definitely the place to train. We swam in the Mediterranean, cycled the mountains with amazing views and ran the trails of the Spanish villages. Mallorca is my 2nd home and I absolutely love the lifestyle. I trained there for my 2nd Ironman World Championships, Kona which gave me the best preparation leading into the race in October 15 and achieving a 2nd place podium in 25-29 AG. When I was back in Australia I started working for my coach at Triathlon expos around Australia. I absolutely love working at the expos because it has such a great vibe and atmosphere. Even though its long hours on your feet all day selling products, it's well worth it because we are supplying the needs of competitors. More often than not both John and I raced on the same weekend unless it was an 'A' race.
I turned professional in long course Ironman racing at the end of 2015 with a positive outlook for the next chapter of my career. I had many set backs and injuries throughout my years of triathlon training and at the start of 2016 I acquired my 8th stress fracture. I have been working with doctors and sports doctors as to what the reason was for my injuries. After years of overcoming stress fractures we are coming closer to the cause and it is due to an abnormality in the bones.
Once again, during the Australian winter months, I flew off to Mallorca for another hard block of training in the summer paradise. Throughout this period I travelled to races such as Ironman Switzerland and Poland 70.3 giving me a lot of racing experience.
In January of 2017 I was well into my preparation for Ironman Australia in May. I was traveling around and setting up shop at triathlon expos, working with john, and training or racing too. In February 2017 I went to a race called Hell of the West at Goondiwindi where I placed 3rd and qualified for the ITU Long Course world championships being held in Canada in September. I was excited about this qualification as I had never raced in Canada before. After qualifying for this event, John and I started planning for another training trip to Mallorca. I came up with a great plan and decided to enter a European race. I chose Ironman Nice, France which was to be held in July 2017. After going to Canada I planned to go to Chattanooga to watch the 70.3 World Champs and then to race Ironman Chattonooga 2 weeks later. After this John and I would fly to Kona, Hawaii. It was an exciting plan which I was looking forward to.
All this came to an abrupt hault whilst training for Ironman Australian in April 2017. I was on a training ride, 2 weeks out from the race when both of my tyres burst resulting in me being thrown into the guard rail on the side of the road at 45km/hr causing injuries such as a fractured scapula and pelvis, broken ribs, punctured lung, broken T12 vertebrae and severe spinal damage. In a split second my life changed from being an active, healthy and fit professional athlete to becoming a paraplegic. My hopes and dreams of becoming a world champion were shattered and after 3 months in hospital and 3 months in the the spinal rehab unit I find myself in a new and different life.
Stay tuned for my blog which will include my journey from here and beyond and my extensive rehab program.