I have been trying to qualify for two years now with my first attempt being at Busselton in 2012 where I came second in the 18-24 AG. 2nd wasn’t good enough. I was then fired up to try again at Melbourne in 2014 before I got really sick and didn’t think I would be able to race. I managed to turn my health around and by August 2013 I started training again. I still didn’t think I would be fit enough to race IM Melbourne but the Enduranceteam program got me fit quick and by January Ironman Melbourne was back on the cards. I had a great day out setting the 25-29 Age Group course record and qualified for Kona.
My preparation for Kona has been great except for my swim which has always been my weakest leg. I was lucky enough to swim with Michael King on the Sunshine Coast for a few months before coming to Kona which was ideal. The days leading into the race I knew my fitness was the best it had ever been and that I was a real chance to win my age group. One of the more obvious things that could bring me undone was lack of experience on the day.
The swim was unlike any another IM swim I had ever done. IM swims are renowned for being rough but usually at some stage you get some clean water and people let up, not here. As swimming is my weakest leg I was stuck in the middle which meant several beatings, at one stage I had to swim with one eye as the other side goggle had been knocked off and cut my cheek. I was prepared to be back in the field out of the swim but I wasn’t expecting the hostility that I experienced. But it is the World Championships and everyone was there to win.
The bike was much the same. The bike leg is a strength of mine as I’ve been so comfortable on my Giant Trinity for a few years now, so my plan was to pick people off here without going too hard, sounds simple but there are a lot of great cyclists racing with the same plan. It was difficult to overtake the large packs at times and when you did they would soon be back on your wheel,which was frustrating but that’s just the way it is. It was a very tough ride with the legendary Kona winds at their best, which I liked as it split up the packs during the climb to Hawi.
Coming off the bike I thought I would still be back in the field, but I ended up in a great position with only one athlete in my age group in front of me. When you start the run along Alii Drive the atmosphere is amazing, its hard to contain yourself. I made sure I soaked it up but kept a close eye on my pace to make sure I was running within myself. I soon overtookfirst place and when I saw my competitors form, I knew as long as I ran smart and didn’t do anything silly he wouldn’t catch me. But that didn’t mean there wasn’t someone behind him trying to do the same as me, so I was very mindful of that.
It’s a strange feeling once you run up Palani onto the Queen K, suddenly you’re all alone and apart from the aid stations you could easily forget that you’re even in a race let alone World Championships. Things started to hurt at about the 35k mark (as they do for everyone) but I managed to push through it. I would like to take this opportunity to say sorry to one of the competitors who I accidently ran into at the aid station here. Sorry mate I didn’t mean it, my brain was focused on water and ice….
Just before the decent down Palani heading towards the finish line I knew I was in the clear for the AG win, but I ran solid anyway. I caught up to Female pro Caroline Steffen which made me laugh as I pretty much ran most of the marathon with her at Ironman Melbourne,so it was nice to run with her again. Once I was on Alii Drive I soaked up the great atmosphere and gave high fives to the crowd before hearing Mike Reilly say the magical worlds “you are an Ironman World Champion”!!!
I’m going to enjoy a short break and catch up with some family and friends as well as work hard to get some money back in the bank for next year. I would like to thank my sponsors CBD Cycles, Hammer nutrition, Mizuno, Compressport, The Greater city of Geelong and HUUB. Without their support I wouldn’t have been able to achieve what I did, so thank you for your support and great products. I also need to thank my family and friends who even more so made it possible for me to achieve my dream, you all know who you are and I could never thank you enough for all you have done for me.
Thank you for reading and train smart!