Tough test 'fun' for triathletes

WHEN it comes to all-round endurance, triathletes are up with the best, especially when they tackle massive challenges like ironman and 24-hour events.

A dedicated group of regional competitors did just that recently and won their relay event at Kawana.

Ipswich Triathlon Club members Andrew Lebeter, Karl Persson and Leslie Thorpe teamed up to finish 33 laps of the course over 24 hours. Each lap featured a 300m swim, 12km ride and 2km run.

Andrew’s father Greg, 58, completed 18 laps of the Kawana course as an individual.

The distance covered by the group over 24 hours was more than that of an ironman triathlon.

“There were no major dramas except some tired bodies and dad and I experienced flat tyres and I had a small crash on the bike,” Andrew said.

“On the Sunday night, I slept very, very well, I tell you.

“What dad did was incredible. At 3am, his body hit a bit of a wall, he had a bit of a liedown but then he got back into it again.

“The weather was cold during the night and we had a little rain but overall it was enjoyed by all.”

Hearing people “enjoy” such tough challenges is a measure of the preparation they put in.

Under the watchful guidance of club president and coach Craig Rule, a group of up to 40 regional triathletes regularly train in and around Ipswich.

Rule, who has competed in eight ironmans including the world-famous Hawaii event, has been with the club since 1991. His main focus now is helping others.

Flinders View-based Andrew Lebeter did triathlons as a junior before giving it up aged 20 when struck down by glandular fever.

After playing A-grade football with the Ipswich City Bulls, he decided to return to triathlons and hasn’t looked back.

Now 33, Lebeter said training in a diverse team environment was exceptional.

“You’d be surprised some of the members we’ve got. We’ve got them from all walks of life,” he said.

Persson and Thorpe have competed in Hawaii. Peerson and Lebeter recently placed in the Bribie Island Triathlon series.

The club’s weekly training program includes runs on Monday, a 40-50km cycle out to Ripley on Tuesday, Riverlink carpark circuit training on Wednesday nights, 15-20km runs from Tivoli on Fridays, work on all three events on Saturday and a 60-70km ride through Rosewood on Sunday mornings.

The group also has training camps at venues like Wivenhoe Dam.

A number of the Ipswich Triathlon Club members are in the off-season getting ready for major events at the Gold Coast and Noosa later in the year or early in 2011.

In between training sessions, they also tackle duathlons, fun runs, half marathons and major runs like Ipswich’s Park2Park event.

Anyone keen on triathlon can contact Rule on 0412 912970.