Why all-rounder Jarrod thrives on overseas 'dogfight'
HAVING made sacrifices at the "right time'' of his life, Ipswich athlete Jarrod Harvey wanted to prove he deserved to be up with the best when he turned professional.
After his first podium finish at the recent Taiwan Ironman Triathlon in Penghu, Harvey's commitment paid off.
After a swim leg shortened to 500m due to poor weather, Harvey stamped his authority during the 180km bike ride and 42.2km marathon run to finish second behind seasoned Italian triathlete Daniel Fontana.
Ripley-based Harvey was delighted with his latest overseas performance.
"My whole goal in my first season as a pro is to just look like I belonged and that I've made the right choice,'' Harvey said.
"That gave me the confidence that I can actually do it.''
After growing up in Boonah, Harvey dreamed of one day becoming a full-time professional athlete against world-class opponents.
As he made great strides as an amateur triathlete in recent years, the Ipswich school teacher continued to pursue his "next level'' sporting goal.
So he took 12 months unpaid leave from West Moreton Anglican College before changing to relief teaching five days a fortnight at St Augustine's College. That provided more consistent hours for Harvey to devote to his sporting mission.
"I just thought I'd give it a red-hot crack,'' Harvey, 28, said.
With the support of his wife Bree who Jarrod married in September last year, the Ipswich achiever turned professional.
He finished top 10 in this year's Hell of the West Triathlon in Goondiwindi before another encouraging ironman result in Port Macquarie.
"I'm sort of versing guys that have been doing it as pros for 10 or 15 years,'' he said.
However, it was his astute decision to head overseas in peak condition that elevated Harvey to his best result yet.
"I just sort of picked the races that I thought suited my strength,'' he said.
"That's somewhere upwards of 30 (degrees), really high humidity and really windy.
"My biggest strength is making the race like a bit of a dogfight . . . like really hot, humid conditions where the pace isn't really high but it's like a battle of attrition.''
On the Taiwan island, Harvey delivered what he had hoped despite 35-50km an hour winds that chopped up the water.
Organisers were forced to reduce the swim to 500m in a more protected bay in the scenic province of Penghu.
"That probably worked against me because a lot of the European guys that I was racing at Taiwan actually can't swim that well,'' Harvey said.
"I was hoping it would be a full length swim.''
However, he built a lead coming out of the water and through the bike leg, holding top spot until about 25km into the marathon.
Harvey's time for the three disciplines was seven hours, 29 minutes. Two-time Olympian Fontana won in 7:47.35.
"I would have definitely PB'ed if you add another say 50 minutes for swimming,'' Harvey said.
"I love racing in October and I tend to find that I get quite fit at this time of the year.
"I'm in pretty good shape and it's time to strike while the iron's hot.''
Delighted with his performance after arriving in Penghu on a small aircraft, Harvey flies out again on Wednesday to contest the Thailand half marathon.
Sunday's competition features a 1.9km swim, 90km bike ride and 21.1km run.
He's planning to also compete in the Busselton ironman event (Western Australia) in December.
Harvey said working with new coach Bevan McKinnon had helped him make a transition to professional racing.
"My old training used to just be a lot of steady, stable work,'' he said. "My new coach has got me training either very, very easy or really, really hard.''
He does a lot of his work at Bundamba pool and cycling around Middle Road and Peak Crossing.
Harvey said completing the gruelling Hawaiian Ironman age group events in 2016 and last year in pleasing times were also valuable on his path to professional status.
"It definitely helped, just knowing how to pace myself,'' he said.
Catch-22 need to keep performing
LIKE any professional athlete, Jarrod Harvey appreciates the support of people helping him achieve his dream.
His wife Bree and new coach Bevan McKinnon are among those providing valuable assistance.
However, the highly motivated Ipswich all-rounder is keen to keep excelling in the hope of attracting sponsorship support.
"Probably the next step for me in my development is trying to get some more results so I can get some more sponsors and pay for me to be there,'' he said. "So I can train more and work less and get better results.
"It's sort of that catch-22. You've got to get the results on the board in order to be on board as an ambassador for people.''
However, after years of persistence and gaining recent rewards, Harvey has shown he's the real deal. "We don't have kids. The time is right to go all in with it,'' he said.
Harvey welcomes any sponsorship backing via: firstname.lastname@example.org.