TWO Melville men will be among the more than 3000 triathletes lining up for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships on the Sunshine Coast next month.
Both Rob Shannon and Warren Lund only took up the sport three years ago and have followed very different paths to qualification.
Competing in the 35-39 age group, Shannon stamped his ticket with a third-place finish in 4:19:23 at the Mandurah Ironman 70.3 in November last year.
Lund is one of 25 wildcard entrants, his name randomly drawn from finishers of Australian Ironman 70.3 events in the past year.
“I was very surprised,” Lund said.
“I had an injury after the Busselton Ironman 70.3 (which Lund finished in 5:08:42 – or 101st in the 40-44 age group) so I hadn’t done any running and only a little bit of cycling and swimming when I got the call up.
“I’ve had to ramp the training up since then and also buy my first proper triathlon bike because I’ve always just used my old road bike.”
A member of the Fremantle Triathlon Club, Shannon has completed two full-length Ironman races already this year and said he was enjoying the decreased training load for the half.
“I’ve carried a lot (of training) through from the couple of races that I had at the beginning of the year,” he said.
“Every course is different so I don’t know if I’ll set a new personal best but I’m hoping to go anywhere under four and a half hours.”
Shannon is looking to bounce back from the disappointment of a blown tyre in the Cairns Ironman in June.
“I was going pretty well and was actually on track to qualify for the (full-length) Ironman World Championship in Hawaii when I got a puncture,” he said.
“I guess that is one of the exiting things about triathlon though – you can prepare as much as you like but you have to be able to keep your cool on the day and take whatever comes in your stride.
“Your goggles can get kicked off in the swim, you can get a puncture, your nutrition might not go down so well or you could cramp on the run. There is a lot of uncertainty around the sport.”
The Ironman 70.3 World Championship is in its 10th year and for the first time ever is being held in Australia on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast on September 4.
The 70.3 refers to the distance of the race in miles; in kilometres athletes complete a 1.9km swim, 90km ride and finish with a 21.1km run.