Triath­lete puts best foot for­ward

Southern Telegraph - - News - Hay­ley God­dard

Cy­cling through lava fields in 40C tem­per­a­tures and 72km/h winds is a chal­lenge 55-year-old Rock­ing­ham triath­lete Glo­ria Stewart looks for­ward to tack­ling next month.

Com­plet­ing the Bus­sel­ton Iron­man in De­cem­ber last year in 11 hours, 12 min­utes and 16 sec­onds, af­ter a two-year break, was a per­sonal best and earned Glo­ria a place in the World Cham­pi­onships in Kona, Hawaii, where on Oc­to­ber 10 she will com­pete against more than 2000 peo­ple.

Hawaii is con­sid­ered the birthplace of the triathlon, af­ter a navy cou­ple ini­ti­ated the course in 1977 as a way to chal­lenge ath­letes who were suc­cess­ful en­durance swim­mers, run­ners and cy­clists.

Glo­ria took up the sport about 25 years ago af­ter her hus­band David founded the Rock­ing­ham Triathlon Club.

“I de­cided it was some­thing we could do to­gether in­stead of sit on the side­line watch­ing him,” she said.

“I started with fun runs, then learnt how to swim, took up cy­cling and de­cided I could do it.

“Ini­tially it was pretty hard be­cause I wasn’t very fit.”

De­spite a six-week set­back in Jan­uary when Glo­ria broke her foot while run­ning at Point Peron, she has been train­ing two to three ses­sions a day, rain, hail or shine, for the 3.8km swim, 180km cy­cle and 42.2km run.

She said the ses­sions var­ied but in­cluded a swim of up to 4km, a 90km ride on week­days with up to 170km routes on week­ends, and run­ning be­tween six and 20km a day build­ing up to three-hour runs on the week­end.

“It’s ab­so­lutely hor­ri­ble train­ing in the dark, wind, cold and storms,” she said.

“If I think about how warm it is in bed I wouldn’t get there.”

Glo­ria thought her days of com­pet­ing were over but said tak­ing charge of her health with a nu­tri­tional cleans­ing pro­gram paired with iso­gen­ics had given her a “new lease on life”.

“I have so much energy and my body is ca­pa­ble of any­thing,” she said.

“I have im­proved my per­sonal best by 30 min­utes.

“I’m train­ing less but get­ting bet­ter re­sults.

“I’ve been work­ing on my swimming tech­nique to re­duce my time and a pro­gram with coach Justin Brown.

“I’m over­whelmed — I feel I’ve been gifted a sec­ond lease and never in my wildest dreams did I imag­ine I would be com­pet­ing in a world cham­pi­onship.”

Glo­ria said she was un­sure how she would cope with the heat, but had been train­ing in the mid­dle of the day and will ar­rive two weeks prior to the race to ac­cli­ma­tise.

“I’d be happy to fin­ish but it would be ab­so­lutely amaz­ing to win my age group,” she said.

“What I’ve achieved is the pin­na­cle of my sport­ing goals.”

Pic­ture: Hay­ley God­dard

Rock­ing­ham 55-year-old triath­lete Glo­ria Stewart is ex­cited to com­pete at the World Cham­pi­onships in Kona, Hawaii, next month.

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