Olivia's journey from volunteer to competitor Posted by Hamilton Island - 15 November 2023 Olivia (right) after crossing the finish line at the 2017 Hamilton Island Triathlon. A love discovered organically. While volunteering with a friend during the 2016 Hamilton Island Triathlon, a spark of curiosity and inspiration fuelled Olivia’s determination to enter as a competitor. Seven years later and Olivia is now preparing for the Hamilton Island Triathlon 2023. Read on to discover her journey and her top preparation tips. About Olivia. Olivia Baker moved to Hamilton Island from Lennox Head, NSW in 2012, seeking an exciting new adventure while being able to progress professionally. After calling Hamilton Island home for five years, she took off on an overseas adventure. However, as most former employees know, the desire to return to island life will always eventually take hold. Olivia returned to Hamilton Island at the start of 2023, where she commenced her current role as Administration Coordinator at Hamilton Island Real Estate. The transition from volunteer to competitor. While Olivia doesn’t recall when she started volunteering with Hamilton Island Endurance Series, she has now done so at all the events. From manning water stations and cheering on participants, to ensuring the safety and well-being of all, Olivia says her favourite part of volunteering, is and always has been, seeing the competitors smile back as she cheered them on. Olivia (second from left) previously volunteering with friends. Each Endurance Series event is beautiful and challenging, the calendar spans four very different endurance events from May through to November. Whether it’s battling Hamilton Island’s breathtaking mountainous interior in the Hilly Half Marathon, running on the pristine, silica sands at the famous Whitehaven Beach for the Great Whitehaven Beach Run, trying their skills in the ultimate test of endurance at the Hamilton Island Triathlon or sharing the sparkling waters of Catseye Bay with the island’s resident turtles in the Hamilton Island Ocean Swim – there really is something for everyone. While volunteering with a friend during the 2016 Hamilton Island Triathlon, a spark of curiosity, and an overwhelming sense of inspiration, along with some humorous uncertainty no doubt, fuelled their determination to enter as a team in the triathlon the following year. Throughout 2017 and in the lead up to the triathlon, Olivia competed in both the Hilly Half Marathon and Great Whitehaven Beach Run events, though says her strength lied in swimming. When it came time to competing in the triathlon, it was only fitting that she would take on the responsibility of starting at the gun. Talk about pressure! It was crucial that she put in a strong aquatic effort, as to leave her teammates in good stead for their bike and run components. After what was a mammoth effort in her very first triathlon team entry, Olivia’s spark of curiosity was reignited. This time, with a new goal of competing in the 2018 Hamilton Island Triathlon on her own, taking on the swim, ride and run components of the event. Unfortunately… or fortunately… Olivia made the decision to relocate to New Zealand, where she met her now-partner Todd. After spending five years abroad, Olivia is back living on Hamilton Island and says that 2023 is the year to fulfill her wish to finally compete in all three disciplines of the Hamilton Island Triathlon. 2023. With her goal of competing in all three components of the triathlon, it was imperative that she dedicated time to honing her skills… and the Enticer Event during the Airlie Beach Triathlon in July was the perfect place to start. Gaining an understanding of her strengths and weaknesses was key to planning a strong training program ahead of the 2023 Hamilton Island Triathlon. Olivia said that her regime has included training each discipline twice weekly, while increasing distance and speed as her fitness improved. Though it’s been the strength training and stretching that’s made a noticeable difference in her level of ability. Preparing for November 25th, 2023. Strength doesn’t just come from the body; it also comes from will and knowledge. One would say that the opportunity to participate in an event on your home turf is an advantage… and it seems that Olivia would agree! She says that having the ability to train and compete on home soil has helped significantly. Although the climb to Passage Peak isn’t featured in this event, it’s still a favourite of Olivia’s and has helped in her conditioning for the triathlon’s notable fluctuations in elevation. When asked about how she stays clear, calm, and collected on the morning of an event, Olivia says “I try not to think about the nerves too much. The atmosphere beforehand is exciting and I like to soak that up… and while I have a daily protein and calorie goal, pre-race, I can’t go past a banana and peanut butter on toast”. It’s simply magical. Olivia describes an endurance event on Hamilton Island as ‘simply magical’. Even though the island is best known for its resort facilities, to staff and residents, it’s a community, it’s home. There are great levels of support, encouragement and camaraderie from spectators and the local Hamilton Island community. Olivia says, “It doesn’t matter if you’re an employee, guest, resident or a competitor, everyone comes together and that’s what makes the Hamilton Island Endurance Series events so great!”. When asked what Hamilton Island Endurance Series slogans, RACE HARD, RECOVER HARDER and PUSH YOURSELF IN PARADISE mean to her, Olivia said “They go hand in hand. To me, they represent the idea of putting in your best efforts while it counts, chasing the goals that you’ve worked so hard for and really pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone, but then taking the time to enjoy your achievements afterwards. It’s Hamilton Island, there’s no place in Australia better for relaxation, recovery, and celebration”. Olivia’s advice to those considering an endurance event in the future is, “Sign up! Having an event to work towards has helped me stay consistent with training. Asking for support and reaching out to others with experience is a great idea, as the extra encouragement, tips and tricks are invaluable in your own fitness journey. If competing isn’t for you, get amongst the volunteering program. It’s a great way to contribute to the community and get a taste for what it’s all about”. Interested in joining Olivia in the 2023 Hamilton Island Triathlon? You can still register for both the Triathlon and Ocean Swim events by visiting https://www.hamiltonisland.com.au/things-to-do/sports-events About the Author Part of the Whitsundays, and in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, Hamilton Island is one of Australia’s most spectacular and sought-after holiday destinations. On a holiday to Hamilton Island, you'll be surrounded by pristine white beaches, and a kaleidoscope of coral and marine life.