Finding Passion and Pushing Limits: Get to Know Merle

Finding Passion and Pushing Limits: Get to Know Merle

Merle Maud is a New Zealand triathlete who is a force to be reckoned with. Last weekend she clinched first place female at Ironman 70.3 New Zealand. From her early days as a track and field athlete, to her current roles as a successful triathlete and coach, Merle embodies the spirit of dedication and perseverance. We recently had the pleasure of speaking with Merle to discuss her journey, her remarkable achievements, and her insights for aspiring athletes.

From Landscape Architect to Thriving Coach

Currently residing in New Zealand, Merle has embraced diverse cultural experiences, having previously lived in Estonia, Sweden, Dubai, and Singapore. Today, she shares her home in Auckland with two adorable Bengal cats, and her primary focus now lies in coaching swimming and triathlon full-time. Prior to relocating back to New Zealand Merle established successful training squads in Dubai and Singapore fostering a supportive community within the sport. Interestingly, before embarking on her coaching career, Merle pursued a successful career as a landscape architect. 

Discovering Triathlon: A Catalyst for Lifelong Passion

During her childhood, Merle thrived in track and field, but swimming has always held a special place in her heart. Merle participated in swimming throughout her youth. Upon relocating to Dubai in 2013, Merle came across a vibrant group of sea swimmers, and their infectious enthusiasm piqued her curiosity. “Before I knew it, I was drawn to the challenge and excitement of triathlon, and I haven't looked back since!" said Merle. 

Triathlon has become an integral part of her life, not only for the physical and mental challenge it presents, but also for the incredible network of individuals she has met along the way. It brings her immense joy and constantly motivates her to push her limits and strive for excellence.

From Sprint Distances to Racing in Kona 

Qualifying for the Ironman World Championship in Kona with Merle’s very first Ironman race in 2014 remains a defining moment in her career.  “Completing the race in 10 hours demanded immense dedication and rigorous training. Witnessing all that effort culminate in such a remarkable achievement was incredibly rewarding,” said Merle.

Before achieving this feat, Merle honed her skills in shorter distances, starting with sprint and Olympic distances during her time in Dubai. “Additionally, I've participated in several long-distance swims, including a 10km swim and a team crossing of the Rottnest Channel,” added Merle. 

Looking ahead, Merle is brimming with excitement for the upcoming season. Her race calendar included the Tauranga 70.3 in January and Ironman 70.3 New Zealand - in both races she was the overall fastest age group female, and looking ahead she’s gearing up for the full distance Ironman Cairns in June. 

Embracing the Journey Through Hardships

The path to success is rarely without its challenges. The past 18 months have not been the easiest for Merle, as she battled a running injury, and just as she was recovering, Merle unfortunately concussed while training in a public pool. Injuries can be incredibly frustrating, especially because they necessitate taking a break from training. “However, I come to understand the crucial role of prioritizing healing before resuming intense training. This experience has instilled in me the importance of listening to my body, recognizing when it needs rest, and understanding when it's ready to push again,” Merle gave her advice on getting a proper recovery. 

A Passion for Purpose: Why Merle Believes in the Brand

"I am a fervent admirer of Purpose's commitment to delivering high-quality training and racing kits. More athletes need to experience the exceptional performance and comfort these products offer! “, said Merle.

“Having used them in both Singapore and New Zealand, I can confidently attest to their ability to perform exceptionally well in diverse climates. Especially in hot and humid summer weather, having reliable and comfortable apparel becomes even more crucial for optimal performance,” said Merle. 

Encouraging Newbies: Words of Wisdom from a Seasoned Athlete

Merle reminded us that the journey will bring both successes and challenges, prompting moments of self-doubt. However, she suggests staying true to one's initial purpose, the "why" behind the journey, will serve as an anchor during difficult times. 

“Consistency is crucial for progress, requiring a balance between pushing oneself and incorporating rest.” She also encourages newbies not to be afraid to ask guidance from a coach. She says a good coach can help you with anything from how to set achievable goals, how to deal with difficult moments, how to tackle your strengths and weaknesses, how to get the training and life commitment balance correct, or even just be a listening ear.

Most importantly, however, Merle stresses that enjoyment is key. “One should embrace the process and celebrate each step of progress, no matter how big or small,” said Merle.. 

Follow Merle’s journey with Purpose at

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