On 18th February 1978, 15 people set out to complete a race in Hawai`i thought to be impossible – swimming, biking, and running 140.6 miles in a single day. Their dream created a community that believes anything is possible.
Four decades later, hundreds of thousands of athletes fulfil their dreams at finish lines all over the world. From one race, the Ironman and Ironman 70.3 Triathlon Series now has 154 races around the globe, and Ironman has become a company that now hosts 248 events across triathlon, running, cycling and mountain biking in 53 countries.
Established in 1985, the iconic Ironman Australia (Sunday 6 May) is one of the longest-running Ironman events in the world that has a very fond place in the hearts of the thousands of competitors who return year after year and become an integral part of life on the New South Wales mid-north coast.
The 2018 countdown has begun and heading up the pro field is Aussie Luke McKenzie, the man who scorched Ironman Western Australia several years ago and who has a second place at the World Ironman Championships to his name.
McKenzie was born and grew up in Taree, just down the road from Port Macquarie, and after a quiet 2017 his ready to fulfil a childhood dream and add Ironman Australia to his nine Ironman wins.
“I am excited to return to the mid-north coast as it is a place I spent a lot of my youth and Ironman Australia is where it all started for me as an eight-year-old boy. My family and I would go out to Forster-Tuncurry each year, and volunteer at the aid stations and I idolised the Ironman athletes.”
“I always knew from a young age that one day I also wanted to be an Ironman. To think now almost 30 years later and a career of 15 years, that I am a nine-time Ironman Champion is crazy. I didn’t realise it was Ironman’s 40th anniversary, but now there is even more incentive for me to try and add my name to the Champion’s trophy on this special occasion.”
“After sitting out the majority of the 2017 season, I wanted to come back with some fresh challenges and Ironman Australia is one race I have not managed to win. I have only competed once (2008), so it’s been a long time between drinks for me in Port Macquarie.”
“My training has been going well aside from a brief period out of action due to a bike crash early on in the preparation. I have recovered well, and I am happy with how training has progressed. My expectations are high, I want to win, and I want to stamp my ticket to my 12thHawaiian Ironman.”
“I love a challenging course, and Port Macquarie suits my strengths and having lots of family and friends coming to support me makes for a very special atmosphere. The highlight for me is I get to run past my 93-year-old Grandfather’s house at Settlement Point during the run. He was so excited in 2008 when I came running past in the lead. I didn’t manage to hold on for the win that day, but I can’t wait to try again in a few weeks time,” Luke said.
Ironman Australia is an important World Championship Qualifying Race, offering 40 standard qualifying slots for the original and most famous long-distance triathlon in the world, the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.