Malcolm King has grown up training and competing in sports, specialising in swimming through his teens and enjoying the Weetbix Triathlon Series as a youngster. These days he’s racking up titles in the sport of triathlon. Ironically he discovered his passion for cycling when he started working as a postie. That led to him deciding to ‘have a go’ at triathlon; a decision which proved life changing.
Hamilton triathlete Malcolm King is no stranger to the discipline required to train and compete at top level. The tenacious 23-year-old has morphed from a competitive swimmer to an equally competitive and successful triathlete.
Having recently won the South Island Standard Championships in Wanaka in blazing form, and fresh from a top 20 finish at the ITU Grand Final Triathlon in Cozumel, Mexico, he’s now back on home soil, training towards his goal of competing at elite level this season.
While every event brings fresh challenges and learning curves, Malcolm continues raising his standards and embracing the mental toughness as well as the physical demands of his sport.
“Mexico was the toughest race I’ve ever done,” he says. “It was a rough day out there in the standard distance 20-24 age group. The competition was fierce!”
Finishing 20th in a field of 70 Malcolm was disappointed with both his performance and his result.
“Unfortunately I just couldn’t execute to the high standard of the other athletes. Also I found it extremely difficult to race in that level of heat and humidity.”
On the plus side, he was stoked at the opportunity to train for two weeks in Austin and be with the NZ team in Cozumel, in the lead-up to the event.
As a youngster, Malcolm’s appetite for triathlon was fostered by participating in the popular Weetbix Triathlon Series. He also swam competitively through his teenage years qualifying for the New Zealand Swimming Nationals.
It was when he began working as a postie for New Zealand Post that he quickly developed a passion for cycling.
“I decided to compete in my first major triathlon in December 2013 when a friend suggested completing the challenge together. From there I was hooked!”
During the 2013-2014 season, Malcolm made impressively quick progress in the sport, winning his age group at the New Zealand Oceania Sprint Triathlon Championship.
This achievement saw him selected to represent New Zealand in Canada at the Age Group Sprint Triathlon World ITU Grand Final where he placed fifth.
The following (2014-2015) season he continued to advance within the sport, winning multiple age group titles throughout New Zealand, including the New Zealand Oceania Sprint Triathlon Championship in Kinloch for the second year in a row, and winning the 20-24 Age Group Sprint Triathlon Auckland ITU World Champs.
What has been the highlight of your season?
Winning the South Island Standard Championships in Wanaka. This was the first time I got to hold the winning ribbon above my head and it’s the best feeling. This had been a goal of mine for a while and to achieve it with all of my family there to share the moment with me was incredible.
What was your biggest challenge when racing in Mexico?
Definitely the different climate from New Zealand. Coming from our winter to their hot and humid summer to race isn’t easy.
Who or what inspires you and why?
Watching elite level athletes race inspires me to continue to push myself to see how far I can also go in triathlon. Their achievements are amazing and this makes me strive to reach the level that they are at.
Who has influenced your career?
Graham O’Grady, All Blacks, Michael Phelps, Javier Gomez, Richard Murray, People who are successful in their sport and inspired me to keep training towards my own goals within triathlon.
What changes you have made to your training this season?
This has been the first season I’ve been training and racing full-time so I can concentrate completely on training to my best ability without needing to work around another job. I’ve been focusing more on running than I have been in the past and have seen massive improvements.
How you like to relax?
I love relaxing with my family or having a coffee with a good friend, especially at the end of a hard day’s training.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
“Enjoy your training and racing and try to have fun. If you don’t you’re bound to fail. It’s a hard enough sport when things are going well. Having fun makes it a lot more pleasant.” – Ryan Sissons.
What are your short and long-term goals?
I am aiming to race as an elite next season, placing in the top 10. Another goal I have is to go to Europe during New Zealand’s winter season and race for a club. I’d love to do this to gain more experience as an international athlete.
What are your future goals and why?
To continue to see how far I can go in triathlon. I don’t want to have any ‘what ifs’ when I look back on my career as a triathlete which is why I’ve decided to take up the sport full time. I want to continue to gain experience from racing internationally and eventually represent New Zealand in triathlon as an elite athlete.
What aspect of triathlon do you find the toughest?
Running, I come from a background of swimming and cycling.
What aspect do you enjoy most?
Cycling, anyone who knows me well knows I always have room for more bikes.
What are your fave places to train in Hamilton?
I love the Dey Street outdoor velodrome. It’s the perfect place to do efforts on the bike and then follow into a run off the bike. It’s never busy and you can really focus on your training session with no distractions. I also love cycling across the backroads in Waikato. We live in a very beautiful place and training with the view makes it that much better.
What advice would you give to others wanting to compete in triathlons?
Ease into your training by building a foundation and then increase from there. The last thing you want is an injury. Enjoy yourself, set challenging goals, push the limits – you’ll be surprised what your body can do if you tell your mind to shut up!
What is the greatest challenge of being a full-time athlete?
Triathlon is financially demanding. It’s like a never-ending vacuum sucking up money.am very blessed to have such generous sponsors and supporters who make this career possible.
Who are your team/sponsors?
I am so thankful for my incredible team of sponsors who make this career possible; Kings Finance, Kings Cars, Evo Cycles, Pro4mance, Emily Webb Massage, Taylored Fitness, Also my coach Graham Dudfield, and I wouldn’t be able to live the life of a professional triathlete without the support of my parents. They’re awesome! I also have individuals who support me financially which takes more of the financial stress off this demanding sport.