PARALYMPIAN Michael Milton says the running leg of the Noosa Triathlon is likely to be his weakest when he announced he will compete in the prestigious annual event as part of a fund-raising drive to raise money for cancer research.
Milton, a two-time cancer survivor and multi gold medallist, has been training seriously for three weeks at home in Canberra. He’s been focussing on running which he does on one leg and a pair of custom-built carbon crutches.
â€œI had these crutches made for the Mark Webber Challenge and they’ve also done Kokoda with me. They’re light and tough and will be perfect for the Noosa Triathlon.
â€œThe run will still be my weakest leg… pardon the pun,â€ said Milton with a laugh. â€œRunning on crutches isn’t as hard as you may think but it is slow so I need to be as strong and as fit as I can.â€
Milton won 22 international medals as a skier for Australia and then competed as a cyclist at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games. He says that triathlon really appeals to him as a way to keep fit and healthy and to satisfy his hunger for competition.
â€œI’m a confident swimmer thanks to my mum who made me swim as part of my rehab after losing my leg, I’m pretty handy on a bike and I quite enjoy running. I also love to compete.
â€œBut my health is my biggest motivator. I find that I’m at my best when I am training hard and preparing for something big. After having cancer twice, that attitude could well save my life,â€ explained Milton.
He has now been cancer-free for three years and will compete in the Noosa Triathlon with Team Smiddy who, as part of a wider campaign, is aiming to raise $750,000 this year for cancer research and services.
â€œI did the 560 kilometre Midi-Smiddy bike ride around south east Queensland with them and they are a great bunch of people.Â It’s amazing the amount of money they are able to raise each year and I feel privileged to be a part of it. Obviously it’s a cause close to my heart,â€ said Milton.
The Noosa Triathlon Festival is on 27-31 October 2010. It has been Australia’s most popular triathlon for 28 years and reaches capacity earlier each year, drawing more than 8000 competitors to the Olympic distance (1.5km swim, 40km cycle, 10km run) course and 10500 people to the weekend festival.