Decade of endurance: Footy player morphs into triathlete
A FORMER Whitsunday Brahmans player will this weekend line up for his 10th Hamilton Island Endurance Serious Triathlon.
Back in 2009, Airlie Beach's Darren Wadsworth competed in the very first Hamilton Island triathlon.
He's come a long way since first racing in his footy shorts, having now competed in triathlons throughout Queensland, including a half Ironman in Tweed Heads.
When he crosses the finish line this Saturday, the footy player turned triathlete will have fronted the shores of Hamilton Island for every race but one in the event's 11-year history.
Wadsworth will also be celebrating his 47th birthday on Saturday.
His commitment to the event is unwavering, which he attributes to the idyllic location of the race.
"It's a magical location,” Wadsworth said.
"The atmosphere and the way it's organised, it's a fantastic event.
"We even get a few of the pros who come out for it every year.”
The triathlon includes a 750m swim in Catseye Bay, a 20km cycle around the southern part of the island, including the airport runway, and a 5km run around the marina and resort.
There is also a junior triathlon included in the event.
In a mentally and physically challenging sport, Wadsworth said it was the camaraderie that kept him committed to the sport.
He's dedicated hours each week to improving his technique and adding kilometres to his tally throughout the three disciplines of swimming, cycling and running.
"What keeps me going is the support and mateship found within the sport,” he said.
"I joined the Whitsunday Triathlon Club and started going to a proper swim coach - Andrew Mitchell and Mark Ericson at the Cannonvale Cannons have really helped me improve my technique.”
Ahead of this year's triathlon, Wadsworth said although he always got a kick from hitting personal best times, he was usually happy enough just making it to the finish line.
"It's always good to cut a bit of time off but I don't concentrate too much on that,” he said.
"Hopefully I can get around the course and finish and have a good time.”
The triathlon is the third event out of a four-part Hamilton Island Endurance Series.
The series is made up of the Hilly Half Marathon, the Great Whitehaven Beach Run held earlier this year and will finish with the Whitehaven Beach Ocean Swim this Sunday.