Cairns Ironman for 16 locals
MONTHS of preparation will be tested this weekend as 16 of the region's finest triathletes head north to tackle the Cairns Ironman 70.3 event. With a 1.9km swim at Palm Cove, 90km cycle up and back along the Captain Cook Highway and a 21km run in Cairns waiting; athletes have been busily readying themselves for the challenge.
Darren Wadsworth, Martin Gartrell, Adrian Roberts, Joan and John Hunter, Cassie Carman, Graham Lockett, David Stielow, Sarah Osborne, Ryan Palazzi, Paul Fraser, Kaira Biss, Travis Clarke, Mel Blank, Karon Handy and Steve Jackson will all tackle the gruelling test, but have been training hard in the lead-up. For a number of the brave locals, this will be their first attempt at the 70.3 event.
A 70.3 is a big step up from regular triathlons, but that hasn't discouraged Adrian Roberts - who will tackle the Cairns event as his maiden triathlon.
Likewise Darren Wadsworth and Martin Gartrell boast good triathlon stories, having lost more than 30kg in their short careers.
Joan Hunter has been an avid triathlete for years but never dreamt that one day she would be capable of such a heat, but with her husband John and training partner Cassie Carman by her side, the local triathlon club is tipping her to succeed. The challenge for Proserpine High teacher Bernie Laverty and Hamilton Island environmental officer Kyle Pevitt-Scott will be when they hit land for the run, with both boasting strong swim games.
Fresh from her selection in the Australian Age-Group World Championships in the Olympic distance, Mel Blank is using this event to build her fitness base before taking on September's titles in Chicago while the experienced hands of Karon Handy, Steve Jackson and Graham Lockett will rely on their years in the game.
David Stielow and Sarah Osborne have been training under Ryan Palazzi's guidance in the hope of lowering their PBs while Saturday's race will be a first for Hamilton Island's Paul Fraser, Kaira Biss and Travis Clarke.