Beijing beckons battling Bondy
Ann Bondy is not letting a back injury slow her down.
The 61-year-old Titahi Bay multisport athlete, ranked in the top echelon of her age group in the world, has her sights set on the Triathlon World Championships in Beijing in September.
But following an accident earlier this year when she came off her bike, she has been diagnosed with a pinched nerve and a degenerative vertebrae – ‘‘Geez it makes me sound old’’ – that has curtailed much of her winter training schedule.
‘‘I can’t run like I used to. I’ll kick a twig or jump off a curb and just get this shooting pain. ‘‘Often I’ll be hobbling home. ‘‘But I’ve been doing plenty of biking [including from her home to work in Wellington at least twice a week] and swimming, so that’s all good,’’ she says.
‘‘I’m really looking forward to the world [championships] and the long-distance worlds too.’’
The latter event takes place in Henderson, Nevada, not far from Las Vegas, in November.
The commitment it takes to regularly attend these events cannot be understated – it costs a lot and means time away from work.
More often than not, Bondy flies in, competes, then flies out, with little or no time for holidays or sightseeing.
With her injury and the cost, travelling to Beijing was in jeopardy. But with assistance from Mana Community Grants towards airfares, the first time she has applied for money, along with continued support from Tri New Zealand and, locally, Avanti Plus and Porirua City Council, has spurred her on to make the start line.
‘‘It was looking like it was going to be too hard and the motivation has been difficult, but I’ll get there,’’ she says.
‘‘Fundraising for athletes is getting harder and harder so I’m really grateful for the help I get, I’ve been lucky.’’
Bondy is a regular attendee of the Taupo and Kona Ironman events, the latter considered one of the world’s toughest.
She also takes part in a number of other competitions around New Zealand, including the Xterra series, Porirua Grand Traverse – although not this year – and the newly formed Ironmaori series.
Bondy takes spin and pump classes at Arena Fitness to help keep her in shape, and says the classes are often taken by people ‘‘more than half my age’’.
She says she hopes she inspiring others to stay fit.
Although there are only likely to be a handful in her 60 to 65 age group in Beijing, many of these will have the edge in terms of
is preparation and financial backing.
The course is the same as the one which Olympians raced around in 2008, and Bondy is looking forward to getting up close to the Great Wall of China. A podium finish is her aim. ‘‘I think I should do OK, it’s a hilly course, which suits me,’’ she says, pointing out her window to the hills near her home in Titahi Bay.
‘‘It will be very satisfying to go, knowing it hasn’t been easy.
‘‘I just need to get out running more.’’
Wheel ready: Ann Bondy has spent plenty of time pedalling around the local roads in her stop-start preparation for the Triathlon World Championships in two months.