Melbourne Half-Ironman


Melbourne half Ironman 70.3 November 2022.

Well race day arrived and I made it to the start line. Firstly, a huge thanks to Phil for all his support and assistance to get me and all the equipment to and from training and the event – couldn’t have done it without you. 

Thanks so much to Fab for coaching and being my Guide for the event.

The race

Great news, on the Saturday afternoon when the organisers confirmed that the swim would go ahead. Despite all the talk through the week about poor water quality and thunderstorms. I was very happy about this- although happy to embrace whatever the conditions were.

A bright and early start , up at 3.30am – (not to help my bros milk cows) to have some breakfast and double check we had all our gear, nutrition and fluids prepared. Made it so much easier having an experienced long-distance coach + guide that could talk me through what nutrition I should have when, this took a significant amount of stress out of the process.
Navigated the challenge of simply getting a park near the event arriving around 4.40am – it was already a buzz of activity.

We had a ‘rockstar’ place in transition- They had allocated myself and another Para- Athlete our own transition area against the fence with our own cover. Got our transition set up without too much worry – confident we had plenty of food. Only minor issue with some initial confusion as to whether Fab needed a timing chip or not, in the end they decided he did and he needed to pick it up at the swim start.

So, a second quick bathroom stop then get the wetsuit on – water temp was 18 degrees and very calm. A fairly long walk to the swim start.

Elite men starting a 6.05am, elite women 6.07am and then us at 6.08am with age group athletes and teams following in wave starts from 6.10 on. I am definitely not a confident swimmer – growing up I don’t think I could swim 1 lap on the local 33m pool – so the prospect of 19km in the ocean was not on the radar.

The swim course was a big ‘L’ shape – straight out – left turn then 3 right hand turns. So in my head I just had to focus on each sector- every time I got to a turn that is 1 more section ticked off. I roughly knew how many breaths it takes me to complete 1 lap of the 50m pool so I tried to just break the swim into block of 300m. It was nice to start the swim with clear water- but I knew at some point other athletes were going to come – and sure enough they did, and as predicted some did try to swim between Fab and I and got caught it the tether.

Fab did a fantastic job keeping me from to much bash and crash but was still the occasional grabbing of my feet and copped an elbow in the nose. But I just kept swimming my own race and occasionally thought ‘Dory’ from ‘Finding Nemo’- “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming”

I didn’t really notice any large right angle turns so I just had to focus on my breathing and in my head I had about 300m to go when Fab tapped me on the shoulder to indicate we were out the Beach- so stand and start jogging.

Brilliant, the part I was most concerned about was already complete sooner than expected – start the jog up the beach, start to remove the wetsuit, people cheering the Athletes out of the water.
CRASH! tripped on a step coming off the sand – fell over my left foot on to my knee,- an audible gasp from the crowd. Fab was very apologetic – was fine, just embarrassed more than anything – and concerned about a potential tear in my beautiful new wetsuit that had just served me so well. I just said – “If I am going to trip can you just try to time it so it is somewhere we don’t have an audience”. With a slightly bruised ego we carried on jogging to transition for the bike leg. Our location in transition made it so much easier to exit to the bike leg not having to compete with multiple other bikes/athletes.

90km ride.

The new bike rode really well. Conditions on the ride were good and the forecast rain/thunderstorms stayed away. We settled into a good rhythm and finished much quicker than we had anticipated. Ate and drank as planned with no major dramas. For the most part athletes we all very respectful of each other.
Volunteers at the aid stations were doing an amazing job.  Oh, can’t forget to mention Fab did run over a cone at one point….Whoops- I think he got distracted looking at his own reflection in a shop window.

21km run.

Roughly 2hr 39min and we were back into transition to commence the 21km run. We had anticipated being close to 4hr 30mins by this point and we were only 3hr 30 – so well ahead of what we thought. Roughly 10am by this point and weather was still holding out,- slightly humid but occasional breeze made it a little cooler.

Run leg was 2 laps of 10.5km out and back course. Course was a little narrow at times meaning had to concentrate when we run side by side tether with athletes in front and behind and coming the opposite direction. It was getting hard to keep consuming food, but, knowing it was going to be important I kept following Fabs advice just taking small portions, mix of gel and snakes after more solid food on the bike leg.

By the aid station a quick toilet stop was needed. Push and half way through the first lap. Was so lovely to hear so many people offering support and words of encouragement.
Was brilliant to get support from fellow Athletes especially when they were saying “good job Dan” Well done Daniel” (only post race did I find out my race number had my name on it—I just thought I was a superstar! )

6-7km quads were starting to feel a little tight and chest was a bit sore so had to ease off and walk a bit. I continued a pattern of jog / walk and got through the first lap.
Appreciated the cheers from Phil arriving to complete the first lap (wasn’t anticipating him there so soon. There was also a number of supporters that knew Fab that provided a huge cheer and ringing of the cow bells.

10km down and 11km to go, time was ticking away, but I was just keen to finish. I kept taking water at drink stations but Fab advised I should mix with some food and electrolytes to keep on top of salt/fluid balance. 

The support and encouragement continued from volunteers, supporters and fellow athletes—my favourite comment was the man that said- “You’re a f###ng legend mate!” – I replied “thanks mate” – this made my smile. I continued my pattern of jog/walk – just over 2km to go and we were at about 5hr 47min – so they goal became to try finish under 6hr. I managed to keep up a jog for the final 2km and finished in 6hr and 8 seconds.

It was awesome to cross the finish line! again the cheering and encouragement from the supporters was incredible!
What a fantastic event. Incredibly well organised. Huge thanks to all the race/event organisers, sponsors and volunteers. Especially thanks to the volunteers, they did an incredible job and couldn’t have been more helpful.

Thanks again to Fab for being my Guide to allow me to complete this event. Thanks also to Josh, Dot and Fab who have helped me with training.
Thanks to everyone who has sent me messages of support and encouragement, really means a lot. Thanks to those people who have supported my fundraising efforts for Pain revolution – Esther, Ryan, Tash, Laura and Jas, Mum, Dad, Grandma, Matt and Emma.

Not to late to jump on board and sponsor

None of these things are achieved in isolation- so once again a massive thanks to Phil for all your help, support and encouragement to enable me to be able to train and participate in these events, would not be possible without you!

PXL 20221112 042030579Ironman 2