I have known Ron and Beryl Wilson since I started triathlon through the Balmoral Triathlon Club. They moved up to the mid-North Coast at about the time I started but there was a lot of love for them at the club. I have since watched them complete a number of Ironman triathlons and have enjoyed cheering them on from the sidelines and finally as a fellow competitor at Ironman New Zealand this year. They are always easy to spot at the races and there is a heck of a lot of love for them out there.When it comes to Ironman triathlon Camden Head locals Ron and Beryl Wilson are like a fine wine, they get better with age.
The husband and wife, who will be on the start line for the Toyota IRONMAN Australia on May 4, started competing in Ironman triathlons in 2004, and this year at the age of 62 Beryl was named the number one age grouper in the world for her age category under the ‘All World Athlete Champions’ system.
“It was a bit of a surprise as I’m certainly not the fastest in my age group in the world (especially at Kona). But it was just the luck of what races I did and where I got in them and the way the points system works,” Beryl said.
The Age Group Rankings program offers age-group athletes a way to earn points based on their race finishes and to measure their race performances against their fellow competitors regionally, as well as from around the world, in one cumulative system.
Racers are rewarded for their top three performances throughout the year with the combined points determining the champion for each division.
Given their late start to the sport, they were both in their 50’s when they took up triathlon, they are certainly making up for lost time.
In March this year Beryl won her age group at IRONMAN New Zealand and 63-year-old Ron finished 8th.
“I felt comfortable in the swim and cold at first on the bike until it warmed up. The return legs from Reporoa got increasingly harder as the headwind came up. The run felt like it went to plan so I was pretty happy. The crowd support was absolutely tremendous. The weather was great as well,” Beryl said.
“I was very happy with my race as it was my fastest on that course by 20 minutes. Unfortunately, there were some faster guys out there this year as I finished second last year,” Ron said.
Doing so well at Ironman New Zealand provided some synergy for Ron and Beryl, it was in New Zealand that they first discovered the sport of triathlon.
“In 1984 we were running Marathons and doing a few lake swims when a new sport called triathlon arrived in New Zealand. It sounded like fun so we decided to give it a try. It was the Les Mills Ironman-1km swim, 30km ride and 16km run. We really enjoyed it so did a few more. Soon after we did a short triathlon in Taupo-the first ever there, and really enjoyed that as well,” Beryl said.
Over the next 30 years the loving couple raced when work commitments and the arrival and age of their two children allowed, and now in their twilight years they train and race together.
“We train at the same time, but aren’t really competitive as our paces differ in the different disciplines. We are closest on the swim, Beryl said.
“We are lucky we both do the sport and can spend the time together training, travelling, racing and having a good time in between. We enjoy doing races away from home and the travelling involved.”
With that said both are looking forward to racing in stunning Port Macquarie.