Four Musketeers go to Kona – An Ironman Training Group with a Difference

By Karl Hayes

Four Sydney guys, all bound for Kona, have decided to make the long hard slog of training more interesting by teaming up, adding in some big challenges on the way and support a charity.

Four-Kona-MusketeersCalling themselves the ‘Four Musketeers’ John Mergler, Brenton Yates, Andy Reynolds and Todd Israel have introduced some unique challenges for themselves as they prepare for arguably the hardest race of their lives. (Four Musketeers Website)

Kona is not new to John Mergler and Todd Israel. John has raced at Kona over 12 times and Todd raced there last year with a disappointing (for Todd) 9:10 after a less than perfect run. Todd was in first place in his age group after exiting T2. In addition to John’s 12 Hawaii Ironman Championship races he has completed over 70 iron distance triathlons and holds the bike course record for over 40’s at Kona. 4:45.

The Four Kona Musketeers – John “Athos” Mergler, Brenton “Aramis” Yates, Andy “Porthos” Reynolds, and Todd “d’Artagnan” Israel – have all qualified for the Kona Ironman World Championship taking place in October 2011.

All Kona Ironman competitors must earn their spot by placing in their age groups in qualifying races.

Todd qualified by finishing Ironman Busselton in 8:50, John qualified by finishing Ironman Busselton in 9:17, Brenton qualified by finishing Ironman New Zealand in 9:14 and finally Andy qualified by finishing Ironman Port Macquarie in 9:48.

The idea behind the group originated at their Falls Creek training camp at the start of the year. Todd and John had already qualified for Kona, Breyton would later at NZ and finally Andy qualified in May at Port.

(Follow the Four Musketeers on Twitter)

The Four Musketeers have completed some amazing feats of training to date. One training session consisted of a 285km ride to Canberra on Friday 29th July followed the next day by John, Andy and Breyton setting off on the 60km Bush Marathon in Canberra while Todd completed the 25kms race. The following day all four then road back to Sydney to put another 285km in to the bank.

This last Saturday saw the guys ride from Sydney to Wollongong and back, a 180km round trip, followed up by a 180km time trial loop at Kurnell on the Sunday with some solid runs off the bike.

Wednesday (August 31) will be one of the toughest days with the challenge of completing a 360km time trial at Centennial Park, Sydney. This will be tough as the guys deal with the mental challenge of riding around Centennial Park an estimated 95 times. The Musketeers have decided to support a charity while training for Kona. The charity is one that has close ties to Velosophy Bikes who are have supported the Musketeers. Redkite provides support to children, young people and their families through cancer and has done so for over 26 years.

The guys invite everyone to come down and ride a few laps at least to support them and help break up the monotony of the long ride.

Some key companies and brands have hopped on board to support the team such as Velosophy Bikes at Fox Studios in Sydney in conjunction with Scott Bikes, INOV-8 Running Shoes, Shift60 Training in Bondi, 2XU Performance Centre Paddington.


Centennial Park 360km TT Details


Velosophy’s Four Musketeers will attempt to complete a 360km team time trial in Sydney’s Centennial Park in under 10 hours. Starting at 6.00am, the ride will aim to raise awareness for Redkite’s annual Sea 2 Summit Challenge which is to be held on 19 November 2011.


Venue: Centennial Park Grand Drive – Start and finish at the Restaurant/Fountain

Time: 6.00am

Distance: 360km

Laps: 95

Riders: The Four Musketeers

Redkite Donations:

The Four Musketeers are inviting all cyclists and cycling clubs in NSW to join them for one or more laps to help keep them motivated and bring awareness to Redkite, which supports children, young people and their families who are living with cancer.

The Four Musketeers will also be participating in Redkite’s Sea 2 Summit Challenge. In the words of John ‘Athos’ Mergler: “We were introduced to the great work that Redkite do for kids battling cancer. As part of our Hawaii preparation, we had committed to doing this ride in November and so thought to ourselves what else we could do to promote the Sea 2 Summit and also raise some more money and awareness for the cause?”

The Sea 2 Summit Challenge covers 248 km, climbs a total of 5,500 meters and traverses some of the most stunning landscapes in south-east Australia. The entry deadline for Sea 2 Summit is Thursday, 1st September.

For more information on Redkite, or enquiries in participation or donation for the Sea 2 Summit Challenge, please contact Beth Palmer, National Manager Event & Community Fundraising, Redkite, on 02 9219 4006 or [email protected] 




Karl Hayes

Head of Rest and Recovery

Karl is a keen age group triathlete who races more than he trains. Good life balance! Karl works in the media industry in Australia and is passionate about the sport of triathlon.