Firstly, I am not a natural athlete, in fact I went through my early years at school hating sport. Yep, I was fairly solid during the early years. My parent’s separation was probably the turning point with sport becoming my outlet.
I was prepared to have a go at anything, I played representative basketball, swam in the summer at the local swimming club, joined the local cycling club and dabbled at golf. It was during my high school years that I decided to have a try at Triathlon. This came about as a result of watching Wide World of Sports on a Saturday afternoon, and seeing Greg Welch compete at the Hawaiian Ironman.
I completed my first triathlon in 1992 at the age of 15. I still remember the race, the non wetsuit swim, my repco superlite bike with scott clip-on bars, my orange Nike zoom runners and the 6th place finish. From this race I spent the next two seasons competing in the sport, whilst pursuing the not so complementary sport of golf.
In 1995, I commenced a Bachelor of Education (Physical Education) with Health as a minor at the University of Ballarat. It was a great course for a lover of sport although I spent more time playing golf than doing triathlons. In fact, since starting university, I probably only did 2 more triathlons and spent more time playing golf.
For the next 10 years, I crafted out a career as a project manager, completed an MBA and married my beautiful wife Em. We had some amazing travel experiences, did some awesome hikes and even managed to play in the Italian International Amateur Golf Championship in 2010. During this time, I managed to get my golf handicap down to +1, not quite enough to threaten the professional ranks though.
So why return to Triathlon? It was a pretty easy decision really, with the birth of our first born (Finn) closely followed by Fraser, the realities of trying to maintain a respectable golf handicap just wasn’t possible. The daily practice and then 6 hours away at the weekend playing just wasn’t going to work. On the other hand, I could set about completing an Ironman, surely that will give me some time back .
But honestly, Ironman as a sport provides so much more than the obvious health benefits. Its you against the clock, every breath, every turn of the peddle and at every stride, your body is tested. It teaches you patience, demands respect and tests your character. But all of this means nothing if you’re not around to be a husband and father, so I keep it in perspective, I’m incredibly blessed to be able to compete and even more so with the support of a loving family.