Ipswich triathlete rises above sad loss to take on world
WELL-travelled triathlete Greg Lebeter is the first to concede he's not in the top group of finishers, even in his more seasoned age group.
However, the latest senior monthly sportstar is setting a terrific example after the hardship of losing his wife to cancer.
Rather than meander into retirement, he's decided to help triathlon in whatever way he can while competing in major Queensland series and representing Australia on the world stage.
"I want to keep doing triathlon as long as I can while I'm healthy enough,'' said Lebeter, who turns 65 next year.
"And to see the world and compete in the sport and also to officiate.
"If we don't officiate, we don't have a sport.''
The Ipswich Triathlon Club treasurer and life member recently returned from Chicago where he competed in his third International Triathlon Union World Championships.
He placed in the top 50 in the 60-64 years age group after also qualifying to represent his country in London in 2013 and Edmonton in 2014.
Each course provided different challenges.
"I improved my position in my age group so I was quite happy with everything in Chicago,'' he said.
In his sprint competition, Lebeter swims 750m, rides 25km and runs 5km.
"In London, we swam in Hyde Park where the water there was quite cool at 14.5 degrees,'' he said.
"It rained on the bike. There were a few nasty little corners you had to be careful on but I got through all of those.
"Chicago was completely different - 28 degrees just like here in Queensland. The water temperature was 19 degrees.
"Edmonton was quite comfortable, about 20 degrees when we raced, and it was a hilly course compared to London and Chicago, which are fairly flat courses.''
Ipswich born and bred Lebeter has been involved with the sport for 25 years, competing and being a technical official for Triathlon Queensland.
"I love them,'' the former Bundamba and Bremer State school student said of triathlons.
"They are just great fun to do. You meet different people.''
But it wasn't until the tragic loss of his wife Tricia a decade ago that he followed the advice of his adult children.
"The kids said to me: 'you've earnt some money, we don't need it, you enjoy your triathlons so go and do what you enjoy and see a bit of the world','' Lebeter said.
The Flinders View-based semi-retired delivery driver agreed it was time to take his sport to another level.
"I never thought I would get to see the world so this is one way of seeing it and doing something I enjoy,'' he said.
Lebeter trains regularly with another Ipswich triathlon stalwart Craig Rule.
Lebeter qualified for the latest world championships after competing in a series of races last season. He is the QT-City of Ipswich senior sportstar for August in the new series of awards for 2015/16.
Another triathlon season also starts this weekend with Lebeter off to Bribie Island, which is one of the technical courses he enjoys.
His favourite leg is the bike section, having represented the Ipswich Cycling Club many years ago at state titles.
In coming events, the former draftsman is hoping to qualify for next year's world championships in Mexico, where he would move into the next age group.
How to nominate
IPSWICH City Council offers Sport Excellence Bursaries of up to $300 to amateur junior and senior Ipswich residents who represent Queensland or Australia at a sporting event.
Applying is easy through the online application form available on Council's website at ipswich.qld.gov.au/
People awarded a Sport Excellence Bursary automatically go in the running to receive a monthly Ipswich Sports Award.
At a Glance
August sportstar Greg Lebeter
- Recent successes (in age group): Third in Triathlon Queensland sprint distance and qualifier for 2015 World Age Group Triathlon Championships in Chicago; first in Kingscliff Triathlon; second overall in the Bribie Island Triathlon Series.
- Favourite courses: Kingscliff, Bribie Island.
- Toughest venue: "Melbourne (last year) was a horror course. The day we raced down there it was a storm coming and instead of being on a flat where we were swimming, we had a metre and a half swell. Half the field pulled out. On the bike, you were leaning over 30 degrees to hold your bike up straight in the rain.''
- Typical training week: Monday - one hour run and one hour swim at Ipswich State High. Tuesday: indoor gym session at Blackstone. Wednesday: one hour interval session at Bill Paterson Oval. Thursday: swimming session at Ipswich High. Friday: 10-13km run from Mt Crosby Oval. Saturday: fast, short sessions on each discipline. Sunday: Competition or a social ride.