Melissa Rollison/Hauschildt Triathlon Running Photos by Timothy Carlson

Melissa Rollison has switched her name and her sport – and in astonishingly short order transformed into the current World 70.3  Triathlon champion.

The name above might not yet mean much to most, but substitute “Melissa Rollison” and it ought to ring a few bells. One of Australia’s premier middle distance runners throughout the Noughties, Mel, 29, has not only chosen to amend her first name and change her second name (by taking the vows earlier this year with her husband, and physio, and coach, Jared Hauschildt), she’s also switched her sport – and in astonishingly short order transformed into the current World 70.3 (half-ironman) Triathlon champion.

It’s a remarkable story: having run throughout her teens (she was an out- standing junior, setting world records for steeplechase) and 20s, setting a welter of Australian senior records along the way, injuries forced her on to a bike so she could continue some kind of training to represent us in the steeplechase competition at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi (she’s a six-time Oz champ in the event). That quest was thwarted, but in the back end of that year, she tried her first tri – and won. What has followed has been an astonishing run of wins: she was undefeated throughout 2011 over numerous distances, culminating in the World title – this from an athlete who has never had a swim coach in her life.

Inside Sport spoke to her in Boulder, Colorado, where she was in training for her world title defence, a race she refers to simply as “Vegas”. At the time we went to press, that race was a week away ... We hope her new name DOES mean something to readers by now ...


“My fitness is pretty good right now. I had a stress fracture in my fibula, the lower outside of the leg, just before I came over here to Boulder, so I had to stop running for a month for it to heal. But I’ve been building my running back up now.

“It was only minor. The doctor said three weeks’ rest would be plenty, but I took four. Stress fractures aren’t new to me and I know coming back too soon could ruin my entire season. When I started running again the pain came back and I thought I’d stuffed it. I thought the stress fracture had returned, but it turned out to be tendonitis, which was the original injury ... So I had to take it easy for another month. That made my first few races tough – running 21km off the bike after only having done 20-minute easy jogs in training. But I’m all back into it now and it’s all good – no pain.

“I’m now running about 60-70km a week. That probably doesn’t sound like much – a runner would think I’m still building up with that mileage. But I’m nearly up to my full running. I was sitting on around 80km a week last year – I’m trying not to run as much now as I did as a pure runner because of all my injuries. I do a lot of my base work on the bike instead.”


“Monday is my easier day. I just do two swim sessions and gym. Tuesday, I’ll have an easy ride in the morning of about 70-80km; I’ll then swim at 11 o’clock. In the afternoon, I do my hard run session – such as faster than race pace repetitions. Wednesday is a hilly ride up through the mountains in the morning, up to 120km, and then a 45 to 60-minute run off the bike. Then in the evening, I have swim squad. Thursday is like Tuesday in the morning, with just an easy run in the afternoon of about 45 minutes. Friday, I do my time trial-specific stuff on the bike in the morning – that means race-pace or above repetitions; I’ll usually cover around 100km including warm up and warm down. And then I do a run off the bike of up to 60 minutes, with around 20 minutes of that above race pace. Friday evening I swim. Saturday is my long ride, so that’s about 160-200km, with a 30-minute run off the bike, and then either a recovery swim in the evening or rest. Sunday is a long run, 90 minutes, and then a recovery ride in the evening. After all of that, there isn’t much time for anything else.”