Dad's Ironman Weekend

As a retirement type activity my father Laurie Wesley took up doing triathlons. Some swimming, a little bit of cycling and then a run. The biggest granddaddy of these events is called the Ironman, so what better for a grandfather of 72!?!

The last time I was a spectator for my Dad in the 2006 Ironman the weather decided not to play ball and the swim part of the event was cancelled. Luckily I found myself still in New Zealand this year and so joined mum, my aunt and two sisters, as the cheerleading support crew for the 2009 Taupo Ironman, Dad's eight event.

The swim start certainly is an incredible sight, with the 1400 competitors all in the water for when the cannon goes at 7am. It is like a giant school of fish all thrashing around in the water, arms and white water everywhere. Even a third through the 3.8km swim though the line of swimmers is well spread out into a long even line.

Then it is onto the bike for the 180km out around a course that requires two laps. We managed to time it just right to see Dad off on his first lap before our breakfast and a cup of tea, and then starting his second lap before we had cake and a morning cup of tea, and then when he completed the ride, just after we had finished lunch and a cup of tea (you get the idea). Dad's bike is easily identifiable by the yellow ironman yellow ducky on the handlebars.

Finally the run at the end of the day is a marathon of 42.2km, which of course takes many hours, making the finish after fourteen and a half hours well after dark, with hundreds of supporters in the stands to cheer and wave. It really is a great fun weekend event for a supporter, and I guess maybe one day (when I'm older) I might just have to think about giving it a try as a competitor.


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