Triathlete tests limits in ironman
IRONMAN fever hit Melbourne on Sunday as a world-class field competed for victory in the international Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship.
Frankston was the main backdrop for the gruelling triathlon, which was booked out in a record five minutes when online registrations opened last year.
About 1600 competitors from across Australia, and 39 other countries, started their 226km challenge with a 3.8km ocean swim at the Frankston foreshore.
The swim was followed by a speedy 180km bike ride and 42.4km run from Frankston to the finish line at the St Kilda sea baths.
The inaugural event was a prime qualifier for the 2012 Ironman World Championship, with local competitor Scott Lawton making the final qualifying cut.
"There is no other feeling like it, it is just pure satisfaction when you cross the finish line," he said.
"It is the best feeling ever, a great end to a fantastic event."
Lawton recorded a personal best time of 9:17, placing 12th overall at the inaugural competition.
"Ironman is still very new to me," he said. "This event was only my second competitive Ironman event."
The gruelling race saw competitors battle it out in some testing conditions with mentality taking over throughout the final leg.
"Once you get to the 30 kilometre mark in the run, that's where it all starts," Lawton said.
"That last 10-12km stretch is where your body is telling you to stop, but you know you have to keep pushing."
Lawton said mind power is key when competing, constantly reminding yourself of the satisfaction you gain when you cross the line.
"Even though it's an ironman you don't hold anything back in any leg," he said.
"It's still full gas the entire way."
The race attracted a strong professional field with Lawton facing stiff competition throughout all legs of the race.
"Competing in such an event really opens your eyes," he said.
"Coming out of it I have so much respect for the top elite guys, they are just unbelievable.
"It's truly incredible how they do it at such a competitive level."
The Rockhampton ironman praised officials for the running of the event with supporters out in full force right through the event.
"Volunteers were brilliant and the crowd ran from Frankston to St Kilda, with people lining up along the fence line," Lawton said.
Not only did the star athlete perform to the best of his ability but landed himself a qualifying time for Kona.
"I will have two weeks complete rest and then start getting back into the swing of things," he said.
"Then when July comes around I will have to put in a good solid three months of training before I head away in October."
The Kona qualifiers will head to Hawaii in October to compete at the World Ironman Championships.