From pandemic to paydirt: Non Stanford revels in Couples win

Non Stanford was “excited and relieved” on Sunday after she and fiance Aaron Royle pocketed $100,000 for winning the inaugural Couples Championship.

For Non the success was extra special after a difficult build-up which saw her battling COVID-19 a few short weeks ago.

She put in a terrific performance on Sunday, overtaking Kirsten Kasper on the run to come home in front of the other 12 couples taking part.

Troubled build-up

Stanford said afterwards: “I’m just so excited and so relieved. Haven’t had the best build-up to this, having had COVID a couple of months ago – so I was a bit unsure about how we’d line up against all these long-course pros who are so good on the time trial bikes.

“I knew he (Aaron) would be amazing, but I was just worried about carrying my side of the deal out.”

Stanford raced second after Royle had led off in the relay, giving her a luxury that she never normally benefits from in short-course individual relay.

When asked her favourite part of the day, she admitted: “Probably the swim – I never get the novelty of swimming on my own and not being touched. Obviously in short-course racing, it’s a bit of a washing machine, so that was quite nice.”

Then came the question that often arrives in interviews with people who have just won a lot of money. What are you going to do with it? For Non and Aaron, the windfall is well-timed.

The big pay-off

“We’ve got a wedding coming up at the end of the year but also it would be great to pay off our mortgage. This is so so good for us – this will make a huge huge difference.”

Royle meanwhile was ecstatic at the win, and a payday which is unusually large in professional triathlon.

“I just wanna say thanks to Waterfall Bank (the sponsors and organisers) and what they’ve done,” he explained.

“Very few professional triathletes will ever get the chance to win $100,000 and for them to support us athletes is absolutely amazing.

“Huge hat off to them and everyone involved to get this race and to support triathlon the way they have done.”

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