Ellice decides the time's right for a change
"It's time to get a job..."MURRAY HILLS
One chapter has ended, another is about to start.
New Plymouth triathlete Clark Ellice has decided the time is right to end his international career.
"It's time to get a job . . . I've been avoiding it for eight years," he said this week.
"I've had a great run. I'm not pulling the pin on the sport, just at the elite level."
The 30 year-old said his focus had changed and he was committed to qualifying as a personal trainer.
"I'm starting fulltime as a personal trainer in Albany in January.
"There's six months studying followed by a six-month internship."
Ellice said a perforated ear drum had fast-forwarded his decision to wind down his career.
"I haven't been in the water for four months. I've been training on the bike and running, but nothing in the pool. I've been given the all-clear for the ear, but it made me review my future."
Ellice said he would still race in events in New Zealand.
"At 30, I'm not getting any faster and I'll look at longer events . . . half ironmans and ironmans," he said.
"It's the travel costs getting to international events that hurts you financially. So Rio [Rio de Janeiro, 2016 Olympics] and the Commonwealth Games [Glasgow 2014] are out. Without funding from Triathlon New Zealand, it's impossible to get the competition you need to compete at that level."
Ellice said he had enjoyed the past eight years of competing against the world's best.
"It's been fun. There's been plenty of highlights."
Ellice said top 10 performances at the lucrative Des Moines race in Iowa in the United States in 2010 and 2012 rated highly, as did a top 10 finish in the World Cup in Auckland in 2011 in a race won by Kiwi Kris Gemmell.
"And definitely coming second in New Plymouth in 2009 in the ITU Continental Cup race behind Bevan Docherty."
Ellice said winning the New Zealand sprint triathlon title in 2008 when he beat Docherty in Taupo was another special memory, as was winning the European non-drafting triathlon championships in 2012.
There's been a few downs with injuries always a drag.
"You have your ups and downs, that comes with triathlon. I've been lucky. I've had great coaches like Graham Park, Jack Ralston, Sue Southgate and Donna Bouzaid."
He also had a run-in with Triathlon New Zealand when he was left out of their 14-strong high performance squad. It came a week after the inaugural Ironman 70.3 in Auckland, with his annual funding from the national body drying up.
"That was political and it comes with anything in sport. I had a mishap and I rose above it. I tried to finance myself this year but it wasn't easy. You have to have the backing to compete internationally."
Ellice said he would continue training.
"You can't just stop. It's in my blood. I train every morning . . . if I don't, I get a bit restless," he said.
"Sport, that's my happiness. I'll always be involved in sport and I'll see what happens."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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