Jason Shortis is one of Australia’s most accomplished Ironman triathletes, over 60 races, five Ironman wins, seven second places and four thirds.
A glutton for punishment the 42-year-old is back again to try his luck at IRONMAN Australia, Port Macquarie.
â€œIRONMAN Australia is where it all started for me, which is why I love coming back again to support the race as much as I can,â€ Shortis says.
For Shortis, racing here must be like visiting an old friend, after making his debut in 1992, he went on to establish himself as a perennial threat at the race, and along the way became a fan favourite, all of which lead to his induction into the IRONMAN Australia Hall of Fame in 2005.
The Gold Coaster’s record at this race is certainly one to be proud of having finished on the podium six times, with the top spot the only position still eluding him.
This year’s race will be a bit of a throwback to what Shortis certainly considers the good old days. Fellow Aussie Luke Bell will again be going head to head with Shortis; the last time that happened at IRONMAN Australia was in 2002, the year Bell made his debut in Ironman.
I always enjoy racing at home against great Aussies. Luke has been around as long as I have and his career started at Forster when it was IRONMAN Australia. It is going to be a good hard race against a very tough, fast athlete,â€ Shortis said.
At 42 Shortis is closer to the end of his professional career than the start, but right now Ironman racing still motivates and inspires him to put in the long hours of training.
I have always felt that training and racing an Ironman is a bit like a big jigsaw puzzle that you try to put together to get the perfect race. I guess I am still trying to get that perfect race,â€ he says.
â€œWith that said retirement is not that far off now. I am planning on racing pro this year and possibly a little into next year but that will be it. I am nearly 43 so I suppose I should grow up some time.â€
Shortis is happy with where his training is at and excited to test himself at IRONMAN Australia.
â€œMy training has been going pretty well, but I have a lot on at the moment between finishing off my uni degree and coaching, it is an interesting juggling act.
The 226km race will take place in Port Macquarie and the surrounding regions of Camden Haven. The course will include a 3.8km swim in the Hastings River, 180km bike from the city centre extending along the stunning coast line followed by a 42.2km run to the Ironman Australia finish line, located at Town Green.