Tamara says aloha to world's toughest triathlon
USING a coffee cup with Hawaii on it as motivation, Bundaberg's Tamara Green is about to race in the toughest race on earth.
This weekend the triathlete will compete in the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, the hardest race of its kind.
In an event that punishes each competitor in brutal heat and humidity, each person is pushed to the limit through a 4km swim leg, a 180km bike ride and a 42km marathon.
And now Green is about to embark on that adventure after becoming the first person from Bundaberg to qualify for the event.
At a recent race in Cairns, used as one of the qualifying events, Green finished third to seal her spot at the Hawaii event.
"I was shocked,” she said.
"I thought I was fourth when I finished and when I ended up outside after a medical check everyone was elated.”
"They showed it to me on the mobile tracker and I knew I had third place (and qualified).”
With the plan almost 12 months in the making, Green said last year's event at the same place was the motivation to make it this year.
"We analysed the post race results last year, where I finished 9th in the same age group, and we thought this is actually a possibility,” she said.
"At that stage the goal turned to Kona.”
It hasn't been easy though.
"I drink out of a Hawaii coffee every morning at work,” she said.
"So days when it becomes too hard it shows me that this is the goal, this is what I want to do and this is why I train so hard.”
And Green knows what is coming.
With competitors collapsing and experiencing extreme fatigue, Green is making sure she is ready.
Training every day since qualifying in August, she eats as many calories, if not more, than any growing male teenager.
Combine that with at least four to five hours of training a day and Green said she was making sure she was ready.
"It is meant to break people,” she said.
"The bike leg goes through lava fields where heat swells up off the ground.”
"Thankfully I've been training in Papua New Guinea which has 36-degree heat and it has tested me mentally.”
Currently in Hawaii, where she will prepare for the race over the next week, Green will compete in the 30-34 year-old age group.
Without setting expectations for the race, Green had one simple goal for the event.
"My goal is to finish with nothing in the tank,” she said.
"If I can collapse over the line with nothing left then I will have done well.”
She said it would take her about 12 hours to complete the race.
The Ironman World Championship event is on this Saturday Hawaii time (20 hours behind local time). You can keep an eye on how she does at http://bit.ly/2dlEUdL.