How we met: ‘He was handsome, with a dad vibe. And he lived in Wollongong!’ | Life and style

When Nicholas first laid eyes on Trent, he didn’t expect to feel a spark of attraction. “I had recently separated from a marriage,” he says. “I enjoyed triathlons, so I’d gone to Canberra with a group of friends to take part in a race.” The event took place on Australia Day 2017, which turned out to be one of the hottest days of the year. “Someone mistakenly put diesel in the pace car and the race was delayed,” he says. While waiting to start, Nicholas saw Trent. “I started chatting to him as we didn’t know how long we’d be held up,” he says.

Trent noticed that Nicholas was “handsome” with a “dad vibe”. “He was nice but I was mainly focused on the race,” he says. “I tend not to chat to my rivals much on race days. I became more interested when he told me he was living in Wollongong, because it’s where I grew up. We had that connection straight away.”

Nicholas soon realised that Trent was an accomplished athlete. “There I was, barking on about being a weekend runner,” he laughs. Towards the end of the race, they spotted each other again and shared a smile. After they both completed the course, they said congratulations to each other. “I assumed one of the women he was with was his wife,” says Trent.

Although Nicholas wasn’t looking for love, something about Trent sparked his interest. He’d always questioned his sexuality, but, after marrying young, it wasn’t something he’d explored. He found Trent online and added him as a friend on Facebook. “It took me two days to create a short message to him,” he says. “I suggested meeting up for a coffee or a run in Sydney where he lived when I was next visiting.” When he received no response, he assumed Trent wasn’t interested.

“I didn’t see the message until six weeks later, when I was going to Wollongong for a race,” says Trent. “I wrote to him to ask if he was going to be there.” As Nicholas was also competing, they exchanged numbers and agreed to meet for coffee after the event. Trent admits he wasn’t sure if Nicholas was interested and brought his brother along. “I think I’d already fallen for him when we went to the cafe,” says Nicholas. “There was something about him that made me think he was the one for me. I asked him to stop by and show me his medals later.”

Trent was a bit more reserved. “I really liked him but valued the input of my brother,” he says. “He thought Nicholas was definitely interested in me.” He went to Nicholas’s home later that day and immediately bonded with his dog. “While I was there, Nicholas flew in with a kiss. I was a bit taken aback but I knew there was something between us.”

Working around Trent’s busy schedule, they arranged to go out for a run together. “I was trying to make out I was a better runner than I was,” laughs Nicholas. After that they began meeting regularly for bike rides, activities and brunch.

In May, Trent left Australia to travel and take part in races around the US and Canada. “The trip was a few months long and I was upset because I was really into him,” says Nicholas. They stayed in contact every day. “I even sent him old-fashioned postcards through snail mail,” says Trent. He returned in October and the pair moved in together in January 2018. “I told my parents about my relationship and then my children a few months later,” says Nicholas. “Everyone was really happy for me.”

Nicholas works as a horticulturist while Trent does remedial massage therapy to help people prevent sports injuries. They recently moved to a home in Coffs Harbour, north of Sydney, where they live with their dog, Astro, and their rabbit, Stella. The couple became engaged in 2020 and hope to marry now the lockdowns have lifted.

Nicholas says there is nothing not to like about Trent. “He’s honest, sweet and kind and never says a bad word about anyone.” Trent loves how thoughtful his partner is. “He always puts my needs first and is selfless. He’s extremely caring.”

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