Train­ing stepped up

Rotorua Daily Post - - OUR PEOPLE - Iron­man

Josh Te Kowhai is a hum­ble man who prefers not to be the cen­tre of at­ten­tion.

The man nick­named the ‘Sher­iff of Koutu’ has had to get a lit­tle more used to the spotlight, how­ever, since be­ing named a re­cip­i­ent of the Tony Jack­son Schol­ar­ship for Kel­logg’s NutriGrain Iron­man New Zealand eight weeks ago.

Sur­rounded by friends, fam­ily and work­mates when he was sur­prised in a staged re­veal, 44-year-old Te Kowhai is still a bit em­bar­rassed by the fuss, but hum­bled by the sup­port.

“To be hon­est it was quite sur­real, I ran back in and ev­ery­one was clap­ping, and I was just go­ing ‘what is ev­ery­one clap­ping for?’ I tried to duck out of ev­ery­one’s line of sight and I looked up and saw the cam­era on me and I thought ‘oh my gosh’, it was so sur­real.

“I re­alised what was hap­pen­ing then when I saw the Iron­man lo­gos on the shirts, but it was so sur­real — and amaz­ing, all mixed in to­gether.”

Left wrecked by a car ac­ci­dent in 2004, when liv­ing in Australia, Te Kowhai broke all the bones in his an­kles, shat­tered both knees, smashed his jaw and all of his teeth and broke both wrists and arms.

He was told by doc­tors he would never walk or play sports and would need to look at a new ca­reer. At that time, he was at the peak of his rugby ca­reer play­ing pro­fes­sional rugby for the Brumbies feeder team.

A long jour­ney fol­lowed, one that saw him re­turn to rugby and then even­tu­ally home to New Zealand, where he has since es­tab­lished him­self as a per­sonal trainer, work­ing with those in the Ro­torua com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing atrisk youth.

Used to supporting and men­tor­ing oth­ers, Te Kowhai is en­joy­ing the sup­port of­fered to schol­ar­ship ath­letes, step­ping up his train­ing as he maps out a plan to March 2 next year.

“Thanks to the Tony Jack­son Schol­ar­ship, Boost Coach­ing has come on board to help me out. They are send­ing me daily work­outs which is good.

“I had ac­tu­ally started swim­ming the day be­fore the big re­veal, with Iron­man in mind. I was think­ing I will see how I am go­ing in Novem­ber and de­cide if I should en­ter or not.

“So since then ev­ery­thing has picked up a bit. Swim­ming is my weak­est leg, so I have been work­ing hard on the drills that Boost has sent me. I do all my swim­ming by my­self, but the drills have been great, and the swim­ming is com­ing along al­right.

“My knees strug­gle along as a re­sult of the crash, and the weather has not been kind to my arthri­tis this year, so the run­ning has been hard. I am hop­ing that the im­prov­ing weather brings that right though.

“We have been wind train­ing on the bikes for over a year with a solid group of peo­ple who do that and ride to­gether ev­ery week­end as well.”

Te Kowhai is a former New Zealand rep­re­sen­ta­tive in rugby and box­ing so knows what’s needed to be suc­cess­ful. He also knows that Iron­man New Zealand is a very per­sonal jour­ney for him, but one that can in­spire oth­ers.

“I am do­ing this for my­self first and fore­most. It is a big goal, but I am also, hope­fully, go­ing to in­spire peo­ple around me to do what­ever they want to do, whether that is a small triathlon, jump­ing in the box­ing ring or maybe like me, do­ing an Iron­man.

“I think the need for that mo­ti­va­tion to be ac­tive is huge in our com­mu­nity, I call them the Plays­ta­tion gen­er­a­tion and I think they need all the en­cour­age­ment and help to get out­side and get into sport.”

You can rest as­sured that Te Kowhai knows how to pace him­self and give him­self ev­ery chance of not just com­pet­ing but en­joy­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence.

“I am very happy, I am try­ing to not overdo any­thing, and I am not pan­ick­ing. I have told ev­ery­one I am en­joy­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence and that is how I want it to be from start to fin­ish, through train­ing and the race. I want to en­joy the en­tire process.”

PHOTO / SUP­PLIED

Ro­torua’s Josh Te Kowhai has been train­ing hard for this year’s Iron­man New Zealand.

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