Raes ready to shine on Hawaii

Multisport Mecca - - Ironman World Championship -

WILL­ING to do al­most any­thing to race along­side his fa­ther Ken at this year’s Iron­man World Cham­pi­onship in Hawaii, op­por­tu­nity knocked for Noosa’s Ryan Rae.

He also man­aged to get a US$15,000 bike as part of the ticket.

Af­ter Ken earned his slot at the holy grail of Iron­man triathlon in China’s 70.3 Xi­a­men last Novem­ber, Ryan was des­per­ate to be by his side but failed in his qual­i­fy­ing at­tempt at Iron­man New Zealand.

Ven­tum then re­leased the Kona An­niver­sary Edi­tion Bi­cy­cle, which for a short time of­fered a Kona slot to buy­ers.

“Dad bought one and he was the first per­son in the world to buy it. Iron­man did a film about it in Brissy,” Ryan said.

“I jok­ingly said if it meant I got a ticket I would be buy one too. He said ‘be care­ful what you wish for, they have just re­leased an of­fer’.

“I hit the f***-it but­ton. You have to spend the money some­times. It is an ob­scenely ex­pen­sive bike, the wife kinda said ‘just do it and get it out of your sys­tem’.”

That led to a seven-week build to the big­gest day in Iron­man rac­ing. The Rae duo will now be on the start line to­gether with am­ple fam­ily sup­port.

For Ryan, his pri­mary av­enue to reach­ing Kona would have been via the legacy pro­gram – only avail­able to those who have com­pleted 12 Iron­mans. Adding up en­try fees, train­ing and travel costs, he’s prob­a­bly ended up in front fi­nan­cially...and taken a short-cut.

Com­pet­ing in the 35-39 age group, Ryan is headed to the Big Is­land with no ex­pec­ta­tions, just to get around the course with a smile.

Ken will also be mak­ing his de­but but in the 65-69 cat­e­gory. He just wants to make it to the start line in­jury free.

The 66-year-old has en­dured an event­ful rocky jour­ney on his way to Kona.

It was Ryan who in­spired his in­volve­ment in triathlons about a decade ago while they were liv­ing at Raby Bay – home to some of the an­nual Queens­land Tri Se­ries races.

“Ryan said stop drink­ing beer and start hav­ing a crack at this triathlon game,” Ken said.

“From there I moved up to Olympic, half and full. I had done noth­ing prior to that.”

Work­ing in ac­com­mo­da­tion man­age­ment and re­tail since mov­ing to Aus­tralia from Eng­land in 1988, Ken said in those days he rarely had time for catch-ups with friends, let alone get­ting out to swim, ride or run.

Two years ago he crashed at the Hamil­ton Is­land sprint triathlon and suf­fered a bro­ken col­lar­bone in three places, as well as seven bro­ken ribs and a cracked hip. Then last year he broke the same col­lar­bone in a train­ing ride ac­ci­dent one week be­fore at­tempt­ing Iron­man Cairns.

Yet the triathlon gods fi­nally aligned at Xi­a­men last Novem­ber. Orig­i­nally sched­uled to race at He­fei, the race was can­celled so Ken shifted his travel plans and en­try to Xi­a­men.

Fac­ing op­po­si­tion pri­mar­ily from Amer­i­can Wal­ter Arnold, Ken proved too strong, win­ning his age group by nearly 15 min­utes with an ef­fort of 5hr 39min 46sec.

It was his first age group vic­tory in the 70.3 ranks and af­ter see­ing the Ven­tum spe­cial edi­tion ad­ver­tised, he was en­cour­aged by his wife Mau­reen to grab one for what could be his only crack at the Iron­man in Hawaii.

“She said I de­served it. By qual­i­fy­ing we got a dis­count,” he joked.

PHOTO: IAIN CURRY

FAM­ILY GATH­ER­ING: Ryan Rae (left) will join his fa­ther Ken to com­pete in the iconic Hawaii Iron­man this year.

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