Hi All, In my younger days the big macho thing in sport was to run the Comrades Marathon from Pietermaritzburg to Durban in RSA – 87km that took all day with fun-loving crowds cheering you on all of the way- still a must do experience for anyone aged 20-60. Nowadays, however, the emphasis is more on triathlons and, for those with sheer will and guts the ultimate is the Ironman – 3.8k swim; 180k cycle; finishing off with a standard 42km run – if you can complete that in under 12 hours then have achieved a milestone.
When I went to Australia last year it was to compete in another standard Triathlon with my younger daughter (30) and her boyfriend in Kingscliffe near the Gold Coast 10 days ago. It is such a wonderful thing to do a sport with your kids – highly recommended – in a field of over 400 starting in different waves the 2 of us finished 6 seconds apart.
The flight back to Zim stops over in Perth so I decided to use the opportunity to enter the Busselton Half Ironman. The town and perimeter are completely flat. So one can expect fast times in the run and the cycle. The seawater is this beautiful aquamarine blue that was very calm on race day.
The organisers decided to combine the full and half ironman races on the same day with different starts – total of 2500 entrants – we (1/2) started at 5.30 so were finished by 12 noon – just before the intense heat started to kick in – the closing time for the full ironman was midnight (17.5hrs).
The Half ironman is, I feel, a much more manageable event that one can train properly for without giving up your day job. Each entrant has a chip tied around the ankle with Velcro so they had a staggered start with 2 swimmers going into the water every 2 seconds and the yellow direction buoys were easy to follow – clear 2m deep water white beach sand and small fish swimming amongst the green and brown moss below us. Ironman is a franchise and so well organized – lots of water / aid stations along the cycle and run – there was a 25k Easterly headwind going out. A day to be remembered – repeated?
The Half Ironman comprises a 1.9km swim; 90km road cycle along country roads between tall Australian Trees; finishing off with a 21km run along the beachfront.
It would be great if we could put together a bunch of Zim Competitors for next year’s half Ironman – Busselton (2.5 hrs south of Perth) is just 70km from Margaret River where one drives along Jeffreys Bay type beaches with Stellenbosch like vineyards and Winerys around every corner. One should spend a full week after the event taking in all there is to see in this most beautiful part of Australia.