Husband and wife duo complete first Half Ironman together

IRONMAN 70.3 Melbourne 2023 Results

It’s no mean feat training for a Half distance when you are a working parent. The balance of getting the training done, along with prepping children for school, after school activities, homework, lunches, dinners and everything else between that comes with being a parent. Not to mention being a husband/wife to your partner ! ;-p

Well what happens if you put both parents into the mix of training for a big race! That’s what athletes Evelyn and Shaun Wilton did on the weekend when they BOTH competed in this years Ironman Melbourne 70.3 – both as their fist half distance race.

When you share training time with your partner / other half in can sometimes lead to some friction – who’s doing more, who’s taking more of the training time, who’s more tired and deserves more rest… Other families choose to not race at the same time of the year. Many I have trained generally have key races at different times of the year to their partner so they can share the training load better and balance home life – as it works better that way for them. If you have been there / are there, I think you will know what I mean! ;-p

But for Evelyn and Shaun, their children are at an age that having a shared goal actually worked in their favour.

“Our kids are teens, and pretty much ignore us unless they’re hungry or want something.  😊 They are also self-sufficient to a degree.  They also sleep in, so week-end mornings and weekday evenings are generally the time we train.  We make sure we’re there for sports, pick up and drop offs and everything in between.” wife Evelyn reflected.

So for this family, having a shared goal was what worked for them. Being able to spend training time together, share the experience together, and the highs and lows that go along with it.

Shared goals, wow, massive! The ability to go out together early on Sat for our swim, early on Sun for our ride, etc, so much easier as there are no expectations on each other to be home by a certain time, or frustrations due to either of us being out for long periods.” hubby Shaun said of their shared goals.

And Evelyn agreed – “I think… it was easier for us to have a shared goal. We could share the tiredness, the nutrition, the 101 things that needed to be done. We’re on the same path, similar mindset and can help each other. Lastly, and most importantly we have lots of laughs.  We do this because we enjoy it, it’s fun. (Most of the time)” ;-p

So for this couple, they managed to take it all in their stride. Of course there were some compromises along the way, and it required planning and balancing, but they did what was needed, including ensuring their children’s needs were being met as well as their own, open communication being at the forefront.
“Another important thing is open and honest communication with your kids. We would often ask them questions such as “Are Mum and Dad out training too often?” “Are you OK with the time you are spending at home along?” “Please let Mum and Dad know if it is too much”. All this communication made sure the kids felt they had a say in it all and could speak up if it was getting too much.” hubby Shaun said of their experience.

For a family with teens, and both working, I asked how else they managed to ensure the household kept up and everyone managed as at times training topped out at around 10hrs a week including importantly strength and conditioning sessions. And Evelyn shared some of her top tips:

Outsourcing: “We are a big fan of outsourcing to free up our time.   Things that need doing, such as cleaning, mowing, meal kits, online shopping.  Anything that will give us extra time is appreciated.  It costs extra, but that’s the reason we work so hard.

Reducing mental load “As above, anything that reduces the mental load, such as coaching.  We don’t have to think about what next, or should I go swimming, running, cycling, everything is mapped out.  I don’t have to think or choose an option.   I just need to tick it off my list.”

Limited social life: “Other than the occasional birthday celebration, we pretty much keep to ourselves.  Our weekends are structured around kids activities and training and that’s pretty much it.  Now that the race is over, we’re catching up with friends and social circles outside of triathlon.”

Group Training: “Training as part of a group helps so much, the time goes quicker and it’s great to have a shared goal with others.  If one of us is getting ready for group training, it’s almost an obligation for the other to go, even when we didn’t want to!”    

And how did their races end up?

AMAZING ! First and foremost on the top of both their lists was to enjoy the experience. To be in control of their races and not have the race control them – or unravel – which you can often see in long distance racing. To ttick to their race plans but be flexible in their approaches. If something isn’t working, then to change it up. And they both did this brilliantly. Not everything went to plan – and that often can be long course racing, but regardless, they both stayed headstrong in their goals of completing their first Half Ironman and embracing the journey along the way! And what fantastic attitudes and outlooks they both have. Shaun finishing in 6:02.55 (if only he knew he was so close to a sub 6!) and Evelyn 7:04.23. Both loving the experience, the learning and the training process along the way. What an awesome team effort from both of them!

View full Ironman Melbourne 70.3 results here

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