TOO TOUGH: Ipswich Hospital medical intern Salome Villiger is ready for a US ironman challenge.
TOO TOUGH: Ipswich Hospital medical intern Salome Villiger is ready for a US ironman challenge.

Ipswich intern's toughest test yet

MEDICAL intern Dr Salome Villiger is one tough cookie.

She's spent six years studying to become a doctor and in her spare time trains for one of the toughest mental and physical challenges out there, the Ironman competition.

Today, Salome, who joined Ipswich Hospital in January, will compete in the Ironman 70.3 World Championship event in Tennessee, US, and she's facing a serious challenge.

Salome will cover almost 122km in the half ironman distance triathlon event.

It's an epic test of her abilities that she has been training for in between medical rotations in the emergency department, orthopaedics and general medicine with West Moreton Hospital and Health Service.

Salome Villiger in action.
Salome Villiger in action.

"I'm all in,'' she said of her approach to anything she has set her mind to.

"Most people ask how I fit it in. If you want to do it, you'll make time for it.

"I usually train 10 sessions a week and do long rides or runs on my days off.

"Triathlon is just part of my life now, it is part of my routine and I miss it if I'm not doing it.

"I would have loved to give it absolutely everything for training but work is a priority as well. My sport is still a hobby.''

This year, Salome has placed first in Port Macquarie 70.3 and sixth in Cairns 70.3 in her age group. She qualified and competed in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships held last year at the Sunshine Coast, but this will be her first outing at a world championship overseas.

Staged at Chattanooga, the event will include a 1.9km swim in the Tennessee River, 90km bike ride and 21km run.

"If you're not in pain you probably didn't go hard enough," she said, "It does hurt.

"The run can be the biggest mind game, particularly if you are pushing hard in tough conditions. The ride is often quite scenic so that sort of helps when it gets tough, you can try to take it all in.

Salome said the atmosphere of Ironman events always lifted competitors.

"The spectators are amazing. You have your name on your bib so people you don't know are shouting your name out, pushing you on. So when you're in a tough place, they pull you out."

Ironman 70.3 will also take place on the Sunshine Coast this weekend after the region hosted the 2016 Ironman 70.3 World Championship in 2016. Visit for more information.