THIS weekend, Trigg resident Kate Vernon will compete in one of the most gruelling physical and emotional tests, the Ironman World Championship.
The 25-year-old will join 2000 athletes who take on a 3.8km swim, 180km ride and 42.2km marathon in the harsh Hawaiian conditions in Kailua-Kona.
“I’m expecting 30 C heat and 70 to 80 per cent humidity so it’s going to be hot and really windy, the conditions in Hawaii are the hardest they come,” she said.
“In previous years people have been blown off bikes and ended up in hospital, and I’m really not the biggest person so I’m praying that the wind doesn’t pick up too much.”
The coastal suburb she calls home provides the perfect training ground for Vernon’s 20 hour a week regime of swimming, running and cycling.
“Training with a squad really helps; it is always good to have someone to train with because those long sessions aren’t so fun by yourself,” she said.
“When you’re out there for that many hours, it can take 10 or 11 12 hours to complete, it’s long time to be stuck in your own head.
“My squad are like my family, you go to the deepest darkest places with these people they see you at your worst, they see you when your in tears because you just so exhausted and they are the ones that pull you through it.
“It is a massive mental game; 20 per cent physical but 80 per cent mental.”
Vernon said she first competed in a junior Ironman at 12 and has been hooked ever since.
“My dad got me into it because he had done Ironmans before and I wanted to do my first one with him but unfortunately he got an injury, so I took it up from there,” she said.
For the Princess Margaret Hospital nurse, the addictive quality of the competition and sense of pride are the reason she persists with the demanding sport.
“The respect people give you is really cool,” she said.
“After Busselton Ironman in December last year, a friend’s dad came up to me; his daughter had just done her first Ironman and he said I’m just so proud of my daughter and I’ve got you to thank for that.
“That was a really amazing moment for me to know that I can have that effect on people.”
The Ironman World Championship is in Kailua-Kona Hawaii on October 8.