The three-time Israman champion is a hometown hero for more than just her success at the Israman. She's inspiration personified.
February 8, 2019 | PERSONALITY|
The next time you’re thinking you don’t have time to train, or that you just don’t feel like getting that swim workout done, I’d like you to think of Antonina Reznikov.
The 36-year-old single mom took her third Israman title a couple of weeks ago. During the run she was cheered on by her two children – an 11-year-old son and her 12-year-old daughter, who is autistic.
So, while you and I might be laying in bed trying to come up with the motivation to head to the pool for an early morning workout, Antonina Reznikov manages to juggle her pro triathlon career around taking care of her kids.
The woman is tough as nails – as you would need to be to win the Israman once, let alone three times. Her story gets even more incredible, though, when you find out how she got into triathlon. Reznikov is 36. She moved to Israel 20 years ago from the Ukraine. About five years ago she was working at a hotel in Eilat, the resort city at the southernmost tip of Israel, where the Israman Triathlon takes place. She looked out the window and saw all the commotion on race day and thought to herself “I want to do that.”
A year later she did her first Israman triathlon. She was second that year in her division in the half-distance race. A year later she was third overall in the half. The following year, in 2016, she won the full-distance race at the Israman, finishing eighth overall. She won again in 2018 and set a new course record this year with her 10:37:13 clocking that put her over 16 minutes ahead of runner-up Parys Edwards.
At the super-tough Israman, though, 16 minutes isn’t a blowout. Reznikov was pushed to the limit by Edwards, she said after the race. Feeling lots of pressure coming into the event as she’s literally the hometown hero, Reznikov found herself trailing Edwards on the bike.
“I decided that I wanted to be in front by the run,” Reznikov said after the race, explaining why she pushed so hard over the last 10 km of the bike to get into the lead. “I didn’t want the pressure of having to catch someone on the run.”
At the first turnaround Reznikov saw that her lead was only a minute, so she kept pressing. She would keep pushing as hard as she could right to the line, where she collapsed.
Last year Reznikov had hoped to follow up her big win at the Israman with a trip to Lanzarote, another race renowned for its tough cycling course. A week before the race she was hit by a car while training, breaking a bone in her arm.
“If I show you the picture, you’re going to faint,” her coach. Avi Haim says, pointing at the long scar on her forearm. Reznikov went to Lanzarote to see the course, watching Haim compete, and hopes to get there this year to compete herself.
While Reznikov did race at Ironman Nice last year, she hadn’t done much training due to the arm injury. Her next big effort came at the famed Zofingen Powerman event, the ITU Long Distance Duathlon World Championships, where she finished third, despite being taken off course by the lead biker and running an extra 700 m.
Suffice it to say, this is a woman who is attracted to tough events. In addition to Lanzarote and Zofingen, she says she really wants to compete at Ironman Wales at some point. Go figure – another of the sport’s toughest races.
The bottom line: Antonina Reznikov is nothing short of amazing. A woman who simply gets it done, no matter what the conditions or challenges.
So get out there and train, will you? If you’re struggling for motivation, think of her.