‘When I was about 11 or 12, I watched my dad do a half ironman at Busselton and I did the kids triathlon,’ the Doubleview resident said.
‘In that race I did breaststroke as I was too scared to put head under the water. I rode my mum’s bike which was five times too big for me and I couldn’t touch the ground but I have always been good at running so I focused on that.’
Since those humble beginnings, Vernon, now 22, has become one of WA’s best triathletes.
Earlier this year she won the Putrajaya Ironman event in Kuala Lumpar and in doing so qualified for the upcoming World Championships in Canada. She will compete in both the short course and ironman events at Mont-Tremblant in Quebec in September.
‘I have five days between the two events which isn’t much time but my coach Mike Gee has a program set to make sure I can compete in both,’ Vernon said.
‘Four athletes from my Black Fins squad are going over. The first week we will spend training in Banff which is at quite a high altitude, which will be quite different.’
Vernon said she trained 15 to 20 hours a week to prepare for competitions, including the Busselton Ironman where she has come third twice.
She balances training with work as a nurse at Princess Margaret Hospital.