Tough times in tri: 'The hardest race I've been in'
WITH sweltering heat, blustery wind and choppy water, six Bundaberg triathletes braved some of the worst conditions imaginable to compete at the ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championships.
There were many anxious faces among the more than 700 triathletes when they realised they would need to swim 4km in freshwater with no wetsuits.
Kephren Izzard, Jodie Brighton, Sherry Ey, Troy Austin, Dwayne McKay and Sue Phillips had been training for about six months to undertake a gruelling 4km swim, 120km bike ride and 30km run.
They all completed the agonising race, and when you consider almost a third did not finish, that in itself was quite an achievement.
Leading the team was Izzard, a veteran of many ironman competitions, who described the race as one of the toughest he had endured.
"I have completed four ironman comps and this is the hardest race I've been in,” he said.
"It's the first race I've ever wondered if I was going to finish.”
Doubling as coach of the team, Izzard said he was proud of the incredible effort each of the Bundy triathletes had to produce to finish the race.
"Whenever any of them crossed the line I had tears in my eyes,” he said.
"I've seen where they have come from and what they've sacrificed.”
McKay said the tough conditions meant times went out the window.
"There was a lot of bodies being pulled out of the water,” McKay said.
"It was mania. It was crazy. It was great.”
Phillips, who took up triathlons 18 months ago, finished fifth in her age group.
"It was an epic journey from training to the race,” Phillips said.
"It was awesome seeing those international athletes and competing with them in those conditions.”
Ey said once the water temperature was taken, and found to be above the 24.5 degree threshold, race organisers decided wetsuits were out.
"That made it a lot harder because the wetsuits give you some buoyancy,” Ey said.
- Kephren Izzard 4th 7:47
- Jodie Brighton 9th 9:05.34
- Sherry Ey 4th 9:08.10
- Troy Austin 13th 8:15.18
- Dwayne McKay 8th 7:56.14
- Sue Phillips 5th 9:51.08