Just back from a stellar weekend of triathlon down in Busselton! The fifth running of Ironman Western Australia turned out to be a record-breaking affair, where up until midway in the race, the world Ironman record from the late 1990s was under serious threat! And in fact, a massive "big-up" needs to go out to Matt Illingworth who smashes the 180km bike record averaging 42.0km/h!!
Our athletes had been training consistently for this event since June and (as is usually the case with training for such an event) had encountered their fair share of ups and downs. They say that making it to the start line of the Ironman is as much of an achievement as actually finishing the event, and I'm sure everyone who trained for the event, can sympathise with that. However, we're not here to make "excuses", but to celebrate the inspriring nature of our athlete efforts when the going got tough. As a profound example of this, I shared an interesting conversation with James "Forbsey" Forbes halfway through the run which went a little like this:
JF: You have no idea how much I hate this type of event! It's so hard!
PN: Mate, no-one is forcing you to do this....
JF: Oh yeah!
At that particular moment in time, I can only hope that James realised that whilst the Ironman is indeed a massively tough event, it is also one which he and 1200+ people had personally chosen to enter for the sheer thrill of doing something which very few people ever do! And as Glen kindly shared with the crew in our final team meeting, "whether you finish in 9 hours or in 17 hours, at the end of the day, you are still and Ironman if you finish!"
So, without further ado here are the results:
Paul and Bridget (who have been training in the 730am squad swim sessions) have sadly had to return to New Zealand but we wish them the best of luck for the future!
Paul had a strong all-round race and was over the moon to finish in 9:16 - rightly so! Matt did exceedingly well to hold onto his run form given an achilles issue several weeks out from the event and also considering such an awesome bike split. Bridget had a simply perfect race out there, looking super strong all day long and winning her age-group convincingly. Nelson, the dark horse that he is (!) proved that when he puts his mind to it, is totally unstoppable! Despite rugby tackiling two villains in Subiaco 4 weeks ago and badly damaging his left knee, Glen went on to record a massive PB time and still be fresh enough immediately post-race to propose to his girlfriend Anita...and yes, she said yes! Despite limited running since an injury in late August, Andrew had a strong performance and toughed it out on the run surprisingly well - well done that man! Forbsey never fails to impress on limited training availability and showed that despite walking 2.5km in the middle of the run to spur on his close mate and Australian Olympic representative swimmer (Jono Van Hazel), he still had what it takes to run home strongly. Anthony experienced some frustrating blistering of his feet which prevented much running in the first two laps of the run course but did really well to still finish well under 12 hours. Dan also snook under 12 hours and totally surprised himself with a sub-75 mins swimming, fearing that to be his biggest hurdle of the day. Sue took out a top-10 finish in her age-group and (as ever) had a massive smile on her face all day long! Again, Nimal regularly doubted his ability to take on such an event despite good consistent training, and provided an excellent show of dedication and enthusiasm on the day. Lastly (but certainly not least!) was a brilliant performance from Ursula - beating the swim cut off by well over 30 minutes and then the overall cut-off by 2 hours, she never looked like she wouldn't finish and in doing so achieved a massive personal accomplishment.
So, on behalf of myself and the rest of The TEAM CORE, Paul, Matt, Bridget, Nelson, Glen, Andrew, James, Ant, Dan, Sue, Nimal and Ursula - we salute you!! Good work guys - we're very inspired!!!