McNamee doesn’t re­gret switch to Iron­man

The Herald - Herald Sport - - GOLF - MARK WOODS

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.”

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