Laura Tighe Gears Up for Mixed Relay World Championships

Mixed Relay Hamburg with church bg

On Sunday, Laura Tighe will stand on the start line of the biggest race of her life, rubbing shoulders with athletes she's more used to seeing on the TV than in the flesh.

After just a handful of years in the sport, the Sligo woman (who won the National Standard Distance title in Kilkee last month) races alongside Aileen Reid, Bryan Keane and Con Doherty at the exciting World Mixed Relay Championships in Hamburg.

The final line up of the other international teams has not yet been released but most will contain top ranked athletes who are already in Hamburg for the ITU World Series race that takes place the day before.

Before she left for Germany, Laura told us that the prospect of racing against some of the world's best athletes is a daunting but positive feeling:

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"I am excited, I am not really sure what to expect cause I've never been to a World Series set-up before so this will be a huge experience for me. I will learn a lot I think over the course of the weekend."

After making her way up from the Age Group scene, Tighe raced a handful of ETU races last but she says she expects Hamburg with its super-sprint format to be 'on a whole different level'.

"It's so short that you really just have to go out there and smash it. The big thing for me is to not make mistakes and give it everything I've got, if I do that I will be happy. Usually I race better towards the end of the season so I was surprised that I raced so well so early this season when I finished second behind Aileen (Reid) in Derry. I wasn't super happy with that race, I ran well but I made too many mistakes. In Kilkee I didn't make the same mistakes so I was really happy with that. This year I've just raced a lot more because I feel like I was lacking race experience before."

Laura Tighe HOTW 2016 Finish Line2

Tighe's ambitions in triathlon lie with racing internationally but rather than train full-time, she feels that combining her work as a part time lecturer with training is the right approach to take her towards this goal:

"I absolutely love training but I feel work gives you a good perspective on everything. I like working, it takes the pressure off, if you're a full time athlete it's expected that you're good and I don't know if I am quite ready to make that step yet. We will see how this year goes, so far I am really happy, I am focusing on the process of what I have to do to get better all the time."

Swim exit at Hamburg Mixed Relay

More on the Mixed Relay Champs from Triathlon.org

In addition to the men’s and women’s elite races of the World Triathlon Hamburg, this weekend Hamburg will also host the thrilling ITU Mixed Relay World Championships, with teams of two men and two women from the same country shape up for the 300m swim, 6.6 km bike and 1.6 km run.

One of the most attractive events for spectators live and on television, the Mixed Relay continues to gain major attention, with almost 2 million viewers who watched the Triathlon Mixed Relay World Championship event on the German television last year, a competition which attracted more viewership than the Tour de France on the network.

ITU’s Triathlon Mixed Relay format consists of teams of four, compromised of two men and two women. Each athlete completes a mini triathlon of swimming, cycling and running, before tagging their teammate.

Depending on who lines up for each Federation, which won’t be revealed until a few hours before the race, a number of teams could feature on the podium. Last year’s winner France will be among the ones to follow during the race, with Great Britain, New Zealand and the US, as well as the Australians and Spaniards, trying to bring home the eighth edition of the Mixed Relay World’s title.

One of the most eagerly awaited competitions of the ITU calendar, the race is going to be thrilling from the very first minute. If you blink, you’ll miss it. The swim start is at “Kleine Alster” with only one lap to swim and athletes having to swim though the tunnel twice.

Then, they will go for two laps of a flat bike course with no noteworthy climbs to finish a total of 6.6 km on their bikes in a route technically demanding due to many changes of direction and tight turns.

Finally, athletes will head for two laps to run, also on a flat course, to then tapping their teammate for the relay.

In 2015, France, Australia and New Zealand grabbed the first positions, with some impressive and strong teams and a stunning come from behind last leg that ended up with the French taking their first gold medal in the Mixed Relay Worlds. Great Britain will try to get their fourth title this year (won in 2011, 2012 and 2014).

Other countries who have won the Mixed Relay Worlds are Germany (2013) and Switzerland (2009 and 2010), with countries such as Hungary, Australia, Russia, and USA trying to grab their first gold medal.

The Hamburg ITU Mixed Relay World Championships will take place on Sunday 17 July at 14.35 pm. You can watch the race live at triathlonlive.tv