Grief-stricken heart healed by triathlon. Leanne Smyth lost her mum to Leukemia two years ago and throughout her grieving process, Leanne found solace in triathlon.
“I have only been competing in triathlons for 12 months,” said Leanne. “Just over two years ago my mum passed away from Leukaemia at the age of 63. I spiralled down into a black hole and to deal with the grief I started running at the beginning of 2015. It led me to compete in a couple of half marathons in 2015.”
An old school friend of Leanne’s – who competes at Kona every year – helped her find a coach and encouraged her to start training. With a heavy day job as a lawyer and two children aged 13 and eight, she always makes time to train as Leanne finally feels like she’s found her ‘thing’.
“I train approximately 13-15 hours per week and most of the time I can’t wait to get out there,” he continued. “With my family and my job, it means I’m often training very early in the morning or late at night. Training is my time out. It helps clear my head. And it’s the first thing I’ve had that is just for me since I had my daughter 13 years ago… I love it.”
Like most age-groupers, Leanne is a little apprehensive about running the 21.1km course after the 180km ride today at IRONMAN 70.3 Western Sydney.
“I ran a full trail marathon in the Blue Mountains earlier this year, Leanne added. “It was the toughest thing I have ever done. But I did it and I keep telling myself that if I can do that, I can do anything. I want to show my kids that giving up is not an option. My family will be there to cheer me on and I want to make them proud. Also, I can always hear my mum cheering me on when it gets tough. She was my biggest fan.”
Completely shattering the notion that even age-group athletes all come from an intensely sporty background, Leanne is a true inspiration to age groupers everywhere as well as her own children.
“We lead a very busy life but my husband and kids have been behind me the whole way,” she said. “I love this sport so much. I’m not a strong runner and I never really rode a bike until 12 months ago, but I can’t imagine my life without triathlon now. I’m very nervous about the IRONMAN 70.3, but I’m also excited. I know I’ve done the work and put the hours in. I can’t wait to get out there, be a part of it all and see what I can do.”
Triathlon helps man achieve incredible weight loss
37 year-old Michael Radley from Port Macquarie needed a long-term goal to inspire his weight loss. That goal became triathlon and the result was a loss of 50kg over 12 months. “Triathlon has been pivotal as it’s given me a goal and something to work towards,” explained Radley. “Ultimately my goal is to do the IRONMAN Australia next May.”
“I am a lot more outgoing and confident in both work and social life,” he added. “When we go out… [I used to linger and be the one] sitting, watching my wife dance. [Now] I am up there with her. My mood is a lot different; it’s much happier than it was before.”
His advice for people wanting to lose weight is simple: find something that drives you and concentrate on portion size, not deprivation.
“The first couple of weeks is always the hardest but stick to a plan and have a crack! If you crave something don’t just push it away, if you feel like chocolate have some, but not heaps. Focus on portion size,” Radley said.
Michael and Leanne will be racing at IRONMAN 70.3 Western Sydney today and we wish them all the best of luck.