McNamee doesn’t regret switch to Ironman
EIGHT hours. And then some. In the saddle, on the roads, in the open sea, completing an Ironman triathlon is not for those with short attention spans or even the above-averagely fit.
Converting to the uber-distance of 2.4 miles, 112 miles cycling and then running a marathon was never going to be a walk in the park, David McNamee acknowledges, after deciding to take a leap of faith to switch from the shorter Olympic variant following the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
It wasn’t just a requirement to push mind and body for long enough to get through the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy with a popcorn stop. “Coming from Olympic distance, you think you understand the sport but you don’t,” the 28-year-old from Ayrshire confirms. “Until you do the long distance events, you don’t know where your strengths and weaknesses lie.”
Instead of what he foresaw as a senseless pursuit of the omnipotent Brownlee Brothers in a race towards Rio, McNamee will criss-cross the globe this summer on the Ironman circuit, serving both himself and his new Swiss-based Cereneo team. It all starts today in Lanzarote, where he will aim to book his place in October’s world championships in Hawaii at the first available opportunity.
“I feel like I want to get that done so I don’t need to worry about it afterwards,” he admits. “But I really want to perform. The top objective is to get the ticket to Kona stamped and then to shoot at the podium.”
In his rookie incursion to the Pacific last year, he came 11th. Enough return that he will have no regrets when several of his former contemporaries hog the limelight at the Olympics. Instead, for him, it will be witnessing the 1500m freestyle that will cause pangs of envy.
“That was the original aim, when I watched people like Grant Hackett and Ian Thorpe. Maybe when I watch Stephen Milne, that will be when I have a little envy. But that dream died a long time ago. Of course it’s sad I never got to go to an Olympics but stepping away was the right idea.”
Of course, triathlon is relatively new to the Olympiad. The Ironman organisers could always offer their variant as a spectacular addition to the schedule come 2020. Or perhaps it will forever stay outside the fold. “It’s something that makes Ironman a bit special, being a little different,” McNamee adds. “Not being in an Olympics is maybe a good thing.”