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Tamara Jewett: Track star to triathlete

If Jewett’s debut season is any indication of her potential, it would seem she has a bright future in triathlon.

Tamara Jewett racing Barrelman Niagara Falls 2018. Photo by Brad Reiter.

The former University of Toronto cross country and track runner, Tamara Jewett, might just have a future in triathlon. With an impressive running resume, the 28-year-old completed her first full season of triathlon in 2018.

She began her year by winning the Rose City long course triathlon and then won IRONMAN 70.3 Muskoka. Following Muskoka, she won the K-Town long course triathlon in Kingston and two weeks ago won Barrelman Niagara Falls.

At the race in Niagara Falls, she ran the fastest half marathon split of the day – beating everyone. On a very challenging course and a brutally hot day, the law-student ran a 1:21:37 – four minutes faster than the next fastest split.

Tamara Jewett wins Barrelman Niagara Falls 2018. Photo by Brad Reiter.

Running Career

Jewett was and still is a phenomenal runner. As a junior, she joined the Junior Development University of Toronto track club and moved on to the varsity cross country and track team when she entered university. Throughout her high school and university years, Jewett made multiple national teams. In 2008, she placed eighth in the 3,000m at the IAAF World Junior Track and Field Championships. Then in 2012, she placed ninth (cross country) at the FISU World University Games.

Transition to Triathlons

It was a series of stress fractures that led Jewett to pick up swimming and biking for cross-training. “For me, it was a gradual transition to doing triathlons,” says Jewett. “I got a foot injury that lingered for well over a year. During that time, I was pool running and it was getting boring.” Being a U of T student, she had seen the school’s triathlon club around and decided to join in on the swim sessions. Following another foot injury, her boyfriend encouraged her to add in some cycling to her cross-training regime. Little did she know she was developing the tools to become a triathlete.

Last year, Jewett did a few swim-bike races. This year, she tagged on the running and competed in her first full season of triathlons.

Before the 2018 season, Jewett wasn’t thinking of making the switch to triathlons. Instead, it was a way to keep her running mileage down. “Now, I’m running less, three to four days a week and getting my other training through swimming and biking,” says Jewett. The approach seems to have worked. Not just by the results, but being injury-free, “It’s something that hasn’t happened in a while – to go a full season without injuries.” Jewett thinks that this is likely due to not as much intensity and pounding on the track. “I feel the volume in training for the half triathlon distance is much better on my body than the intensity on the track.”

Tamara Jewett on the bike at Barrelman Niagara Falls. Photo by Brad Reiter.

Triathlon Benefited Running

Just because of her success in triathlons, doesn’t mean her running has suffered. Earlier this year, Jewett ran the Sporting Life 10K in Toronto and won the women’s race in 33:04. Two weeks later, she ran the Tronto Women’s 10K and won in 35:10. It’s success she owes to cross-training, “By cross-training with triathlon my run hasn’t suffered, and it’s nice to have gotten in a full season.”

What’s in store for 2019?

“I haven’t fully decided what 2019 looks like or what my future in triathlon is,” says Jewett. Currently, articling at a law firm in Toronto till June 2019, Jewett has a lot going on. “Originally, I was planning on going back to the track, but I’ve made a lot of progress in triathlon.” Now at the end of the triathlon season, Jewett will take some time to talk things over with her coach and move forward. But, if her debut season is any indication of her potential, it would seem she has a bright future in triathlon.