By Nick Creely
Cranbourne pro Triathlete Levi Maxwell is taking it each day as it comes as he tries to navigate sport and the intricacies surrounding the pandemic.
He is still training as hard as ever, looking to focus on what’s ahead rather than look back and wonder what if, but he still admits that the Covid-19 pandemic has taken a toll on his profession.
“It’s just so hard to stay motivated and structure your training, because you just don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said.
“That’s just for me, everyone’s impacted in different ways, and some aren’t affected at all. It’s a crazy thing to be going through.”
For Maxwell, he said that at the beginning of 2020 he – like many others – didn’t envision what was to take place globally.
He initially thought it was just going to be yet another hurdle to overcome in his already storied racing career.
However, it was anything but.
“If you go back to the beginning of it, originally we thought it’d be a short-term thing, like a challenge coming into winter,” he said.
“It wasn’t too bad, you couldn’t race or anything, but you thought it’d be short term – in September 2020 there was meant to be a race in Queensland, so there was something to train for.
“The pools being closed or open only for 45 minutes was hard and you kind of made do, but it got stricter – the race went ahead in Queensland but we couldn’t get there.
“From there, it’s a bit grim, you’re contacting governments to see if you can get permission to go outside and train for more than an hour and go further than five kilometres.
“For a little while, I tried to plead with governments, and for a couple of months we got nowhere and eventually we got some permits but it’s pretty grim.
“Even now, it’s hard to plan a season, because everything changes so quickly – Geelong earlier in the year got pushed out because of the snap lockdown.”
He said that the biggest challenge facing his sport is the swimming component of Ironman racing.
“It’s pretty critical, and it’s pretty upsetting – to have a week out of the water makes a big difference, let alone a month,” he said.
“Last year we were swimming in the lake when we could, and in the middle of winter it’s so cold – even when the pools were open, it’s only 45 minutes, and it’s not enough time.
“It’s pretty upsetting and depressing, you can’t even train to put yourself in a position to race and earn money, but there’s a lot of other people doing it tough at the moment too.”
Maxwell was however able to make it to Cairns for an Ironman event, but admits that was even line-ball.
But the Triathlete champ continues to strive to make the world a better place even in these tough times.
In the Run Melbourne half-marathon – which was scheduled for this weekend but may be cancelled due to lockdown – Maxwell is raising funds for the Alannah and Madeline Foundation.
He is, however, dedicated to running it around his own area privately this weekend if it is cancelled, similar to last year.
The Alannah and Madeline Foundation is a national charity dedicated to keeping children safe from violence and harm, and to live free from fear.
It’s a charity that was formed in 1997 in memory of Alannah and Madeline Mikac, who were killed in 1996 in the Port Arthur shooting, and was officially launched by the Prime Minister at the time, John Howard.
It also closely works with Dolly’s Dream to raise awareness about the seriousness of bullying and its devastating impact on children.
Maxwell said it was an extremely important cause for him, and in the current times.
“I haven’t done a pure half-marathon in a long time, and I’ve been trying to organise a fundraiser for a while now,” he said.
“To train, and to do a race for something that’s bigger than you is pretty cool – that charity would be doing it tough right now, and it’s really important right now.
“So it’s a good opportunity to hopefully raise a bunch of funds.
“Even if it doesn’t go ahead as a mass event, a lot of people choose to do it at home in some way, and that’s what we did last year with another guy around Berwick Springs.”
After Maxwell hopefully raises huge funds for an incredibly important cause, he will launch into preparations for Ironman Australia on 5 September, and some subsequent races after that – Covid permitting.
“That’s in New South Wales, so who knows, but that’s the plan, but there’s a couple of half ironmans after that,” he said.
“There is a few options there, so that’s the focus for now.”
To donate to Maxwell’s cause, you can visit https://runmelbourne21.grassrootz.com/alannah-madeline-foundation/levi-maxwell