A winner if you’re still grinning

Published on CPL Mark Doran (author), Tamara Jones (photographer)

Location(s): Port Macquarie

Topic(s): Triathlon, HMAS Yarra (M87), Ironman, Australian Defence College

Lieutenant Commander Nigel Rowan, of the Australian Defence College in Canberra, participating in the Ironman Australia Triathlon at Port Macquarie on 7 May. (photo: Tamara Jones)
Lieutenant Commander Nigel Rowan, of the Australian Defence College in Canberra, participating in the Ironman Australia Triathlon at Port Macquarie on 7 May.

Navy members of the Australian Defence Force team set fast times during the Ironman Australia Triathlon at Port Macquarie on 7 May.
 
Of the 17 Australian Defence Force Triathlon Club athletes who tested their mental and physical endurance in the triathlon, nine competed in the full distance ironman, consisting of a 3.8 kilometre swim, 180 kilometre bike ride and 42.2 kilometre run, and eight competed in the half-ironman.
 
Lieutenant Commander Nigel Rowan, of the Australian Defence College in Canberra, has been competing in triathlons for 18 months and finished 29th in his division of the half-ironman with a time of 5 hours and 9 minutes.
 
While the goal for some of the triathletes was to qualify for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, most aimed to simply finish the race unscathed.
 
The Port Macquarie bike course is known as one of the toughest in Australia and takes in some amazing New South Wales coastal scenery.
 
Lieutenant Commander Rowan said he was happy with his time, which was 20 minutes faster than last year’s.
 
“I don’t get a lot of spare time during the staff course and can’t do the training required to get a good time in a full ironman,” he said.
 
“At the moment I’m only doing about 10 hours a week of training, with up to an hour-and-a-half of swimming, five hours on the bike and three hours of running.
 
“I love the sport because we get to challenge ourselves every race.”
 
He said he hoped to break the five-hour mark next year.
 
Able Seaman Medic Imogen Clements, of HMAS Yarra, also put in a strong effort in her first half-ironman.
 
She finished ninth in her division in a time of 6 hours and 41 minutes. Able Seaman Clements said the openwater 1.9 kilometre swim was her strongest leg.
 
“The 90 kilometre bike leg was my weakest but I was happy with my run,” she said.
 
“It started to get hot as the day went on but the support from the crowd was awesome.
 
“My aim was just to finish so I was happy with my achievement. I love the mental challenge of the sport,” Able Seaman Clements said.
 
She has competed in two full marathons previously.
 
“I found the run mentally easier as I knew I only had to run half the distance”.
 
“Next year I’ll be back to do the full ironman,” she said.