Ironman Australia in Port Macquarie, race wrap up and results
It was an awesome day for the return or Ironman racing in Port Macquarie! Including the Ironman 140.6 and 70.3 Half race distances.
Rain had dumped over night (and most nights leading in!) making for a soggy transition, but a beautiful morning to kick start the day. Athletes took to a calming sunrise swim, a little tide made for some slightly slower times, but the cloud cover aided in easy sighting. Light rain came down on the bike and there was a bit of wind around (and hills!) but this didn’t dampen anyone’s spirit! Overall it was a nice mild temp, overcast and the rain (mostly) dried up for the run, leaving a little humidity, but otherwise they were pretty good conditions for racing!
The day started with our Half Ironman Distance athletes and what great races they each had including a first place finish for Caroline Houston!
Once the 70.3 athletes were out on the bike course the full distance athletes started their day. The swim for many in the Ironman is a source of anxiety, but knowing they had done the work, and with plans in place, each came out of the water with great swims and in control of their races from the get go. Regan showed her swimming prowess coming out of the water in second place and set herself up for a great race.
Out onto the bike course – which isn’t an easy one, with around 1400m of climbing over the full distance – including the famous Matthew Flinders Hill, and all on rough roads and it definitely takes it out of your legs. But each athlete had their race and nutrition plans set and worked their way around the 180km course.
But as many know, it’s the run in where the Ironman really becomes one. Over do the bike and it WILL come and bite you on the run. Start out too fast, and you will know about it later. Pacing is KEY. And what amazing work our Ironman athletes did. In control. Ticking the boxes (kms) as they went. Was so good to be out there cheering each of them on. Special mention also to athlete Janelle who made the trek and offered her support on course also!
HALF IRONMAN Caroline Houston 7:14.25, 1ST F65-69 ! Sarah Mulkearns 5:06.38, 4TH F40-44. Sharon Smith 7:04.11, 11TH F55-59 Full results here.
FULL IRONMAN Regan Hollioake 10:28.27, 3RD F30-34, and 5TH AG female overall. FIRST IRONMAN. Darren McKemmish 14:38.19, M50-54. FIRST IRONMAN. Ollie McNulty 15:37.38, M45-49. FIRST IRONMAN. Full results here.
Athlete Darren, shares some of his training journey heading into his first Ironman. It’s been a long time in the making, when 2020 was the plan, but finally we are about to embark on the final leg of his Ironman journey – the race itself this weekend! So keep reading to follow his journey and how he relates Ironman to that of ‘eating an elephant!” ;-p
Give us your back story – who is Darren and how did he get into triathlon?
Most people know me as Dazza or Dazzler, I’m based in Country Victoria, where I live with my partner of 32years Sue. I actually stumbled across triathlon after finding a bike in 2016. I had bought a steel frame bike at a garage sale and repaired it to get it rideable. A friend encouraged me to get out on the road and we would go riding Sunday mornings and I was terrible. I’d have to stop often, but every week it started to get a bit easier, and we’d get a little faster and I really started to love it. We started doing some running as well. And in 2017 I decided to do the local triathlon. Again I was terrible! The swim was only 250m and I was last out of the water, I had to breaststroke, my ride was slow, and the run was HARD! I came third last, but what I remember was how supportive people were during the event. But I knew I had a LOT of work to do. So I started some run training with a local running group, did a 12km run event – the furthest I had ever run! And later that year did my first sprint distance triathlon. And I survived.
Fast forward, I joined the local triathlon and cycling clubs and gradually got faster and stronger and in 2019 completed my first half Ironman in 6:38hrs, and 4 months later cut that down to 5:41. I was well and truly hooked now, and realised with consistent training, I could actually do ok!
When did you set yourself the goal of IRONMAN and how has that journey looked?
From there I knew I wanted to complete an Ironman, but the plans of Cairns 2020 got put on hold, 2021 was a write off but now here we are !
The Journey has had its ups and downs, a few stop signs and side steps along the way, a couple of mechanicals, road blocks, a destination change, but some great guidance over the past couple of years from Coach Sarah and some awesome company along the way and now I’m ready for my long awaited first crack at an Ironman!
What challenges have popped up along the way and how have you managed them?
COVID would be the biggest one. Not being able to swim much as all for such a long period of time made it tough getting back in the water and a little shoulder niggle thrown in there too. But we worked our way through that and feel comfortable now that I’ve done enough to get through. Having to train mainly solo during covid was tough at times, but my me and my training buddies kept supporting each other and encouraging each other which helped and which meant we all continued to train through which set up in good stead for when things opened back up again.
Work is another big one (isn’t it for everyone!) haha But I have some seriously long and tiring days at work, I often start at 4/5am and work through to late arvo, So training in the mornings weekdays is near impossible, and often in the afternoon I’m work tired. But Coach Sarah worked with me on this and helped make it work. I also have an understanding boss who provided some flexibility at times which was super helpful. So I found communicating with those around you super important.
Have you learnt anything new along the way ?
I learnt that making training fun was important to me, so we made that work by incorporating things I love into my training program including:
– I run with my dogs often, which they and I love! So they joined me on many of my runs – Riding with groups, as it makes the time go much quicker and more enjoyable ! So I’d include additional riding before and after to clock up my long weekend ride and not have to do it all solo. – Including our local tri races and crit racing on a weekly/fortnightly basis allowed us to include some intensity into the training, while for me enjoying it with others. So these became regular inclusions in my training over summer.
What parts of your program / training have given you the most confidence leading into your first Ironman?
Long rides for sure. Just knowing you can do the distance and not be absolutely smashed at the end is important. And practicing is nutrition and getting that right. As they say – nutrition is the fourth discipline of triathlon ! But really, just having a coach who can lay out the program for you and not have to think too much about what is needed has been so good. To have Sarah as a sounding board, to adjust my training when needed, give me a little push when I was slacking off and help me balance around work and family life ensured I was able to get to this point in a far better space than if I tried to tackle it myself!
Any pieces of advice tips/tricks (or what not to do!) from others you have had along the way that you will take into the race with you?
I’ve had plenty of advice and words of wisdom for others, a few that stick with me.
From Luke Barlow: “it’s like eating an elephant – one piece at a time!” I loved this. It made me laugh, but totally makes sense!
Don’t do too much to early
Don’t burn too many matches
Keep it under control
Pacing is key!
It’s about getting from the start to the finish as fast as you can but as WELL as you can (thanks coach!) I’m still learning these! (I tend to go all in!) HA! So lets hope I’ve learnt enough to put this sound advice into practice this Sunday….
Can you picture yourself crossing that finishing line yet?! And what do you think that will look and feel like?
I’m thinking it will be quite emotional. A lot of time and effort and mental and physical energy has been put into this event, so I may just shed a tear! It will be awesome to see my partner of 32years Sue at the end. She’s been just invested in this as what I have.
And importantly – how do you plan on celebrating / rewarding yourself? 😊
We’re having a well earned holiday afterwards and I can’t wait! Sleep in here we come !
Any plans post Ironman?
I have recently purchased a vehicle that we are planning on doing some trips in where we can take my bike, sleep in it and can explore the country side riding and running. We can’t wait.
I would like to get some stuff done around the house too! Sue has bee amazingly supportive during my training, so it’s time to finish off the garden for her and do a few more things for her and what she would like to do. It’s all about give and take! So time to give back. 🙂
Amazing work Dazza, I can’t wait to support you on the sidelines this weekend, cheer you on, and feel those goose bumps as you hear those words down the finishing chute “Darren McKemmish YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!”
Following in his wife’s footsteps into the triathlon realm only 12 months ago, Shaun too caught the ‘triathlon bug’, and has thrown himself into his training and now has his sights on his first Half Ironman !
Name: Shaun Wilton
Nickname: NONE! (maybe we need to change that…) ;-p
Age / Age Group: 46
Lives: Box Hill North, VIC
Targeted Sport: Triathlon
Years in the Sport: 1 !
How did you get started: My wife joined a 6 week “Get into Tri” program with the Nunawading Triathlon Club back in Jan 2020 and raced in two of the 2XU races that season. She then joined the club formally and continued to train after the season finished. Leading into the 20/21 season and watching my wife train all year for it, I thought I would give it a crack and joined the same 6 week program in Jan 21. It was a big step for me as I have never been a ‘sports’ person but really wanted to improve my health and fitness.
Why I choose CPC: My wife (there is a theme here!) engaged with CPC to help her prepare for both the 2XU season as a whole and, more importantly, her first Olympic distance Tri. After seeing first hand the approach CPC took to coaching, I knew it would be the right choice for me as I felt I needed the structure in the off season as well as ramping up to my first 70.3 in November 2022.
What I ‘get’ from my sport: I love the people, both at the Nunawading Triathlon Club, but as a whole. The triathlon community is so welcoming, supportive and fun! Having so many motivated, happy and helpful people around you has such a positive impact. I also love the races, as I have never played a sport or competed in anything in my life until now. Whilst I am not chasing podiums, it is the thrill, the nerves and adrenalin that you get to experience!
Ultimate Goal: Still trying to figure this one out… maybe just being able to commit to a goal!!
What I couldn’t live without: Sugar… sigh, I really need to do something about that!!
Biggest love: Overseas travel with my family… it’s been a while!!
Pet peeve!: The lack of common courtesy these days.
Interesting fact about me: I have, what looks like, a second left knee cap. Caused by Osgood Schlatters from when I was a teenager.
I haven’t written a blogpost in ages. Since July 2021 to be exact! Yes I’ve written up race results and share our athletes amazing achievements. And I write regular newsletters and do I haven’t written a blogpost in ages. Since July 2021 to be exact! Yes I’ve written up race results and share our athletes amazing achievements. And I write regular newsletters and post a weekly video blog for our crew, but I haven’t sat down and ‘written’ about something that just resonates with me, or something I am passionate about, or to share an experience or my knowledge in over 8 months. But it wasn’t until I did something last week that made me realise this was missing. It took me stepping away and making some space to realise that I missed writing. That I missed sharing this with my athletes, friends and the wider triathlon and endurance community. So I encourage every athlete (read person!) to keep reading, and check in with what I did, to see if there is something you are missing also…. But you just didn’t realise…..
What was it? Keep reading – as I share my experience and lightbulb moment…
I recently spent a whole 1.5days (!) away from home. Away from my kiddos, away from hubby, away from work, and ‘everyday life’ and spent it catching up with some special girlfriends, as well as having pampering afternoon at a day spa. Something hubby had bought for my birthday nearly 3 years ago but something I just hadn’t made a priority to use. We’d been back to Melbourne numerous times since we moved to the country, I could have easily ducked back anytime also, so I’ve had many opportunities to use this voucher but ‘I don’t have time’ or ‘I can’t I have too much work on’ always seemed to be the answer. Plus who would look after the kids, do the washing, the cooking and generally just ensure the household ran as I liked it. ;-p
Yet I would make training a priority, I’d always make time for family, I’d attend friends birthdays and gatherings, I’d organise outings with the kids. (You get the picture) but when it came to giving back to me, I would always falter. ‘I don’t need that. I don’t need the afternoon off, I don’t need a pamper, I don’t need a night away from our children‘…..
What I had forgotten was it isn’t always about what is needed on the surface, but what is truly needed on the inside. And that ‘life’ will still be there, and it will still function even if you step away for a moment (or two).
Hubby WILL be able to get the kids to kinder (albeit late) 😜 he will be able to feed them, work can wait one day. Washing can too! Because this ‘stuff’ really doesn’t matter.
And most importantly. Others will understand. And if they value you, they will actually encourage you too. ENCOURAGE you to take a break, a moment to yourself, (and no mums – going to do the grocery shopping by yourself is not a ‘break’ as much as it might feel like it).
Granted some of my time away from home was work – because two birds and all that, but most of this time was purely for me. To do as I pleased. And man it was exactly what I needed and I didn’t even realise it. And boy do I feel AMAZING!
So my friends and I made plans to catch up for brunch. And I booked in that LONG overdue pamper session. I literally unplugged. For 3hrs! 😲 I can’t remember the last time that happened! There was no outside / external stimuli in the infrared sauna, in the float tank, or during my relaxation massage. (Oh and what a novelty – a massage that doesn’t turn your muscles into pulp, and you can actually nearly nod off!!) 🤣 It was just me. In my own headspace, in my own mind. Reflecting. Imagining. Creating. Exploring. Sitting with happy thoughts, and uncomfortable feelings. Feeling some home truths, and using these to enrich my day to day life. For ME. Because if I do it for me first and foremost, then that will flow and resonate into those in my life and into my work.
But without stepping away I likely wouldn’t still have written a blog. And you most definitely wouldn’t be reading this one. It took me stepping away to actually come back and make the time. Because I love sharing my experiences and my learning and my knowledge, as a coach, as an athlete and as a mother. I hope that by sharing, others will resonate and take something away. Because although I write to share with others. Primarily I write for myself, because I love it. And the by product is others get to share in that too. So as much as I write for others, first and foremost I write for me.
So this is YOUR reminder to not get so stuck in that daily routine, the weekly grind, that before you know it another year has passed and you haven’t done something TRULY for yourself.
Go fill up your cup! Even if just a little bit. It doesn’t have to be that week long health retreat with yoga and mindfulness every day. It can simply be some time in nature (unplug!) it can be turning your phone off for the day (how liberating !), giving yourself space to set / reset some goals, or new boundaries, or plan something amazing! But often without giving yourself the ‘space’ you may never find it…. Ever wonder why writers / business owners / entrepreneurs go away on writers/business retreats? It’s where they give themselves the space to allow MAGIC to happen! Away from the ‘busyness’ of every day life.
BUT don’t bring any guilt along with you. Mum/dad guilt not allowed in the space of giving back to YOU. Because by giving back to yourself, you ARE giving back to your family, or your business, or your work.
I came back with so much more clarity, feeling more relaxed and also more grateful. For the love that I have for my family. And for the work that I do with and for my athletes. And no-one should ever feel guilty about that. 🙌🏻
So here’s to making the space in your life for not just the things you need to do, but the things you WANT to do, and LOVE to do. Those things that light your fire.
Oh – and thanks to my hubby for firstly gifting me my pamper session and then allowing the space for me to enjoy. 🙌🏻
Melbourne – how we have missed you the past 2 years! And for that, we now forgive you because you have put on the goods again for the last race of the 2XU Triathlon Series in Melbourne. What a cracker way to finsh off the season!
Well done to all athletes who took part in the series, whether it was a one off race, used as lead up races or you focused on the series. It’s great to see the sport alive and well in Melbourne!
Congrats to our CPC female athletes who took the stage the this week:
OLYMPIC Johanna Clark: 2:17, 3rd F 35-39 AND 2nd overall in the series. Jo Finished a well fought out 3rd place for a race we haven’t trained for at all but we decided last week why not give it a crack! And what a race Jo had, nailing her power and pace numbers could not have asked for anymore. INCLUDING having the fastest overall bike split for the day in a smoking 1:02, 38.2km ave!
Evelyn Wilton, 3:13, 17th F45-49 Coming off her first ever Olympic Distance only 2 weeks ago, Evelyn threw herself back out there to finish off the season with another. A little illness leading into the race didn’t stop her getting on the start line though and finishing off her season on a high. 🙂
SPRINT Elise Fookes, 1:44, 12th F30-34 Coming off a bike specific program, Elise jumped into the deep end literally in throwing herself into this race. With no specific preparation other than starting back some run training and a couple of swims. Elise can be proud of her efforts (especially clocking the 2nd fastest time in her AG) and now set her sight on getting some work done for bigger things to come! 🙂
Esther Toh, 1:46, 9th F45-49 Esther has had her sights and focus on some long trail runs and walks this season and nothing like throwing in a sprint event 1 week before a 100km Great Aussie Hike next weekend! Well done Esther. 🙂
Darren McKemmish – Crowned Club Crit Champion.! Although training for an Ironman – only 5 weeks away! Darren has been geting amongst the local crit racing scene every fortnight and last Friday Night saw him race a strategic and smart race and he crossed the C Grade finish line in first, taking the crown of Echuca Moama Cycling Club C Grade Club Crit Champion for 2022! Mighty fine effort Daz !
Kathy Wilkinson & John MacNamara – Snowy Mountain Classic Both Kath and Macca made the trek to Jindabyne in the Snowy Mountains for a spectacular 110km 1600m ride through the Snowy Mountains. What an amazing event to do, one to put on the ‘to do’ list if you haven’t ever done this one before or ridden in this area!
Robyn Bourke – Australian Grand Traverse A 30km hike from Falls Creek to Hotham with 1400m+ of elevation (read climbing!), 8hrs on the feet. What an experience to do this with mates just 1 week post Ironman Melbourne 70.3 and Geelong 70.3 only weeks before that! (I’m sure Robyn apologised to her legs a few times!) haha. “Epic fun, epic views, epic quad engagement! epic company. Five stars” Robyn shared after the event. Now to give those legs a little rest! ;-p
Janelle Wolski – Softball Grandfinal x 2 ! Who said it was all swim, bike and run. One of our athletes Janelle paired her triathlon pre season training with her end of Softball Season which saw he land in not one but TWO Softball Grandfinals over the weekend. Back to back headers! Although they didn’t win the converted grandfinal trophies, Janelle was super impressed with her teams efforts and just a little bit chuffed about hitting a home run – over the boundary on the full! Something that doesn’t happen very often but when it does – what an awesome feeling, and to smash that out during a grandfinal! There’s a celebration right there! Well done Janelle. 🙂
A mum of 3, a triathlete, a softballer and a mean cook. Janelle returns to the CPC fold after having a hiatus from structured triathlon training and racing and ready to reap the benefits again!
Name: Janelle Wolski
Age / Age Group: 45-50
Lives: Newcastle, NSW
Targeted Sport: Triathlon and softball during summer
Years in the Sport: triathlon 6 years / softball very many years
How did you get started: Triathlon – I was the swimmer in many team Tri events . I never thought i could do all 3 disciplines because I struggle with running but I had a go in 2016 and loved it .
Why I choose CPC: Sarah’s great , she coached me towards Forster Half/70.3 a few years ago and I am keen to get back onboard with Sarah , take the guess work out of my training and get the work / life balance right
What I ‘get’ from my sport: Sport is therapy , it is challenging , rewarding , you meet great people and it makes me happy. 🙂
Ultimate Goal: get to western sydney 70.3 in September feeling good / fit and ready to race . A bonus will be to beat a previous time .Marathon.
What I couldn’t live without: My husband and 3 boys and family
Biggest love: My house full of boys and pet dog Daisy (I think we need to see said dog. Who doesn’t love a dog pic!) :-p
Pet peeve!: Finding an old open gel in my bag (ohhh yesss we know that feeling!)
Interesting fact about me: I cook an awesome potato bake ! (I think we need to TASTE said potato bake!) 🙂 🙂