Kona beckons for Navy Ironman

Published on CPL Mark Doran (author), ABIS Sarah Williams (photographer)

Location(s): Taupo

Topic(s): Training, HMAS Stirling, Sport, Triathlon

Volunteers of the 10th annual Huskisson Triathlon watch over the participants of the swim leg, who are required to complete a 2km swim. (photo: ABIS Sarah Williams)
Volunteers of the 10th annual Huskisson Triathlon watch over the participants of the swim leg, who are required to complete a 2km swim.

One of Navy's leading triathletes, Leading Seaman Electronics Technician Joel MacAllister, of HMAS Stirling, was fastest sailor across the line in the Military Division in Ironman New Zealand at Taupo in early March.
 
The race was also the Asia-Pacific Military Division qualifying event open to full-time members of military forces around the world.
 
Leading Seaman MacAllister joined the official team of 16 Australian Defence Force Triathlon Club athletes to compete against military rivals from other nations.
 
He won one of the 10 slots available in the World Championship in October at Kona, Hawaii. Army won five and two were Air Force.
 
The remaining slots went to entrants from New Zealand and France.
 
Following perfect weather in the lead up to the race, strong winds made it a rough 3.8 kilometre swim, forcing 35 competitors to withdraw.
 
The wind continued to hamper competitors on the 180 kilometre bike leg, with athletes reporting they were the most difficult conditions they had raced in and facing a 42.2 kilometre marathon seemed like a bridge too far.
 
Leading Seaman MacAllister said it was a horrible start to the race with the choppy water of Lake Taupo, and although the bike leg was fast on the way out, there was a severe head-wind on the way back.
 
“It was soul destroying,” he said.
 
“The run was scenic in the hills around the lake and I finished the race in 10 hour 8 minutes and 41 seconds.”
 
Leading Seaman MacAllister has been a triathlete for about two years.
 
He has competed in five Ironmans including the World Championship at Kona last year.
 
“I didn’t perform as well as I wanted to, so I thought I should give it another crack,” he said.
 
“Normally I will train 15-20 hours each week with up to 10 kilometres swimming, 250-350 kilometres on the bike and about 80 kilometres running.
 
“The most important part is planning my training time, as well as keeping up my motivation.”
Leading Seaman MacAllister said the Australian Defence Force Triathlon Club was an excellent club that provided a lot of assistance.
 
“Even though it’s an individual sport, we all socialise before and after races,” he said.
 
“It’s a great team environment.”