Best man, then top-12 in Iron­man bat­tle

North West Telegraph - - SPORT - Robert Dougherty

Pil­bara ath­lete Nathan Groch has proved he’s an iron­man and the best man, step­ping in to do the hon­ours at a mate’s wed­ding just a week­end be­fore com­pet­ing in the Iron­man 70.3 Sun­shine Coast.

Groch mixed his re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to the groom with some sport­ing prow­ess as he fin­ished 11th out of 1162 com­peti­tors in the 1.9km swim, 90km cy­cle and 21.1km run held in Mooloolaba, Queens­land on Au­gust 26.

“The week­end be­fore the race I was best man at a mate’s wed­ding so ac­tu­ally had some down­time pre-race, which is nor­mally not ideal but I think it worked out quite well for me,” he said.

Groch said he was stick­ing to the lead pack at the triathlon but ended up lead­ing the sec­ond group dur­ing the cy­cle and run af­ter be­ing swamped by a wave half­way through the swim.

“There was 35 pro­fes­sional men start­ing so we had a dry start from the sands, a sprint off the beach into quite big swell and I man­aged to stick with the lead pack of guys for the ma­jor­ity of the swim,” he said.

“That was the far­thest I went with the lead swim group ever.

“They ended up swim­ming one minute and 10 sec­onds per 100m and I was at 1.14 so I stuck with them for half of the 1.9km.

“The pace was quite fast (on the bike). There were was a few guys in my group who were try­ing to split it up so it was quite surge-y, up to 60km/h then back to 40 then 60 again.

“We got off the bike to­gether and it turned into quite a fast run­ning race. For the first 10km we sprinted it for a cou­ple of stages to try and break the group up.”

Groch said he had high hopes for two up­com­ing races in China, boosted by new con­fi­dence to re­main with the first group of com­peti­tors, and support from Hed­land res­i­dents re­gard­ing his stolen race kit.

“I’ll leave for China (to­day) — I’ve got two races there with an Olympic dis­tance triathlon and an Iron­man 70.3 Chongqing,” he said.

“If I get out of the swim with that main group, I’ll be com­pet­ing for a po­ten­tial win I think.

“The dif­fer­ence is that every­one in front of me is a full-time ath­lete. It’s been heart­warm­ing to get the mes­sages (about my miss­ing Cebu race kit) . . . It’s nice to know the com­mu­nity cares.”

Hed­land's Nathan Groch in the Iron­man 70.3 Asia Pa­cific Cham­pi­onships in Cebu in the Philip­pines.

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