Riley trials for Ironman series
IT came a few years earlier than he expected, but Riley McGregor is not about to let his opportunity to make the Nutri-Grain Ironman series slip through his fingers.
The 18-year-old Bundaberg Surf Life Saving Club star will come up against some of the best ocean athletes in Australia today at the Ironman series trials on the Gold Coast.
Trialling for the event was the last thing on McGregor’s mind before Surf Life Saving Australia invited him.
“I’ve only really competed against people my own age, this is a huge step up,” McGregor said.
At Tugun, Ironman greats such as Ky Hurst will go head-to-head with McGregor for the 22 spots up for grabs.
Over the next two days the athletes will compete in swim, ski and board events.
McGregor was one of two rural athletes from across Queensland to be selected, with accommodation subsidised by Surf Life Saving Australia.
While he is realistic about his chances in the Ironman series he is also aware that anything is possible.
“I’m not really nervous because I don’t think there is any pressure on me to make the event,” he said.
“I never expected to be here, this is my first year in Under-19s.
“But while I’m here I’m going to make the most of the experience.
“I’ll have the chance to test myself against some of the best ironmen in Australia.”
Bundaberg’s top surf life saving official, Craig Holden, said the invitation for the event had taken McGregor by surprise.
“He hadn’t been planning to trial for a couple of years, but this is a great opportunity for him,” Holden said.
“He’ll be testing himself against the best competition there is out there and I’m sure he’s not going to take it for granted.”
Holden has no doubt the experience will help McGregor achieve his eventual goal of competing in the series.
“He’s obviously not getting too carried away about his chances down there, but he knows his time will come,” Holden said.