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Julie Derron filling some very big shoes!

Trisutto Brett Sutton Julie Derron 70.3 Rapperswil

On Sunday we saw the pilgrimage of Trisutto athletes to one of the iconic and historical races left on the Ironman 70.3 circuit, Rapperswil 70.3 Switzerland. Julie's performance was outstanding but it was brought to my attention before the race by a fellow coach who said to me 'it must be a difficult day for you?'

I was intrigued so I asked why?

'It's the end of an era! There's no Nicola, and now no Dani who has dominated here for so many years, ever since I've been coaching. It's always been one of your girls winning.'

I tried to be humble, but still truthful, 'well I don't think you need to worry it's going to be business as usual in 4 hours time.'

However, as I've just hit retirement age, I catch myself reflecting on the past more than before and his insightful question had me thinking back to when I returned to Switzerland and then coaching in 2006. As I walked the course during the bike ride I was indeed remotely viewing in my mind all those wonderful moments at Rapperswil from when I first turned up in 2007 with Nicola Spirig, and how it relates to Julie Derron. What a legacy of champions she was about to be following.

Trisutto Brett Sutton Rapperswil
Treading the path of the past Trisutto Champions - Nicola Spirig, Erika Csomor, Daniela Ryf, Caroline Steffen, Julie Derron.

Nicola taking the first win in 2007. Then podiums in 2008 and 2009 by possibly the best duathlete of all time, Erika Csomor. She was one of the best athletes I have coached, and doesn't get credit for her dominance in winning I don't know how many world titles - I can think of 7 but I know there were more! Erika was the queen of Zofingen, unbeatable at one of the most difficult endurance tests in the world. She could destroy in the shorter distance too, and did.

Next the great Xena, Caroline Steffen dominated the Rapperswil party in 2010 and 2011 before staging a war with Nicola Spirig in 2012. I remember that fondly as it put to bed any small doubts I had about the 2012 Olympics! The race moved me so much I still look at the only trophy on my mantlepiece to remind me of this epic battle!

A landslide in 2013 cancelled the race, but 2014 Rapperswil brought to the show the debut to long distance by Daniela Ryf. For the next 9 years she stayed loyal to the race that launched her to greatness, remaining unbeaten on that course.

Yes it was an era of immense Swiss dominance, so my fellow coach was right; and wrong! How do you follow that?

Julie Derron known as 'little pistol' to our group stepped up and right into the shoes of her childhood heroes. Julie is training for the Olympics in Paris so with no distance training and on her ITU racing bike, she kept the legacy of the champions who came before her, with a run performance that shocked even me! Not only is she on track for a big Olympics, but she proved to me and more importantly to herself, that just as Nicola (2007) and Dani (2014) did, she too can do it all; sprint, olympic and long distance.

Rapperswil unveiled the Swiss have a new super star in the making. Treading the path of the past champions, and doing it with a smile, Julie showed to me that those new shoes fit very comfortably. Looks like we are going to be here getting either rained on or sunburnt in Rapperswil for a while yet.

Great job little pistol, you are on your way!

Cover photo: Marc Derron

Trisutto Brett Sutton Julie Derron 70.3 Rapperswil

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