August 17, 2015

Road to Kona

The Triathlon club is very excited to have 3 athletes who are heading to the Hawaii Ironman World Championships in October.

For those not up to speed on the Hawaii Ironman, it is a full Ironman distance race (3.8km Swim, 180km Ride  & 42.2km run). It is the World Championship race every year & what every Ironman athlete dreams of racing at. It is set in a tropical atmosphere where temperatures average anywhere between 31-35 degrees on race day, with unbearable 90% humidity & to top it off, winds on the bike course have gone as high as 100kmh. This is widely considered the toughest 1 day sport on the planet. And to make things more interesting, you need to qualify for the Hawaii Ironman race, through either top results at any full distance ironman race in the previous 12 months (usually a top 3 finish in your age group) or other very difficult qualifying guidelines (ie completing 12 full ironman races and entering a lottery to gain your entry.)

So, with that in mind, the Club has 3 athletes heading to Hawaii this year.

We will follow this up with some stories on the current athletes who are KONA bound this year, John Flood, Geoffrey Graham and Ben McDermid.

1 athlete is Ben McDermid, below is Bens road to KONA;

Ben first watched the Hawaii Ironman on TV in 1994, Greg Welch won the race, but this is where Bens triathlon journey began, from that day forward he was hooked. 

In 2014 Ben became eligible to enter the Hawaii Ironman by completing his 12th full Ironman race; he promptly entered the lottery for the 2015 Hawaii Ironman. In March 2015 this year "lottery recipients" were announced and unfortunately Ben was not lucky enough to be selected. Fast forward to June 13 and Ben received an email from the World Triathlon Committee (WTC), it asked him when he was available to take a phone call from the USA to talk about the Lottery. Ben's phone rang a few days later from a US number & after a few missed calls and calling back, he finally got onto WTC and with a thought they might offer him a spot to Hawaii, he convinced himself to be calm and ask questions and more importantly ask for a few days to make a decision, so he can discuss with family etc. Once on the phone, he was formally offered a spot to Hawaii!!! He immediately accepted (who needs to talk this through with the family anyway?!?!) So after getting off the phone and breaking the news to his wife Lisa (and Lisa obviously saying yes) Ben now has 16 weeks to prepare his body (whilst carrying a few injuries) for Hawaii – his 14th full Ironman race. Ben, Lisa & the 2 boys immediately jumped online, booked flights and accommodation - one thing everyone knows about the McDermids, where Ben is racing, Lisa and the boys are there cheering him on and they certainly wouldn’t miss this amazing opportunity!!

Ben is now well on his way with his training. His current training program sees him complete 10 hours of riding a week, 12kms of swimming & 5 & 1.2 hours of running spread over about 11 different sessions, with a combination of technique, speed, combinations of swim/bike/running and also the ever crucial long days in the saddle and long runs.

Ben is still pinching himself that he achieved one of his life’s goals, he’s going to Hawaii, Ben knows as well as anyone a lot can happen on the lead up to an Ironman race, but as Ben has done with everything in the past, he takes everything in his stride and we look forward to all the amazing pictures and updates that Lisa will provide on race day, as we’ve enlisted Lisa as our official club media representative in Hawaii this year.

For those that know the McDermids, we all know this is a dream come true, Ben lives and breaths triathlon, he constantly talks it up and posts on social media about it. He is a real life “tri-geek” and he wouldn’t have it any other way.  Ben & Lisa have endured what can only be considered a torturous and exhaustive few years, after having some very serious health scares over that period. Both Ben and Lisa (& their beautiful boys) have been incredibly brave through-out their well publicised journey (you can read up on that on http://shittytittiebangbang.com/) but the one thing that has remained constant through-out it is their love and passion for Triathlon and Ironman & everything that goes with it. Lisa is always there to cheer you on, she cheers louder than anyone out on course (take note other family members!!!) She’s always snapping pics with that amazing photographic eye she has and the boys are ALWAYS on hand to ring some cowbells and hand out much needed high fives to keep the spirits up – personally those high fives have helped this writer through some dark times on race days - When you go to an event the McDermids are at you just know you’re going to get so much support and love and it’s because of this that the Bendigo Triathlon Club couldn’t be happier and prouder of Ben and his family’s dream to come true

We’d like to wish Good luck to Ben and his family! Now get back to training Ben….