READY: Gympie ironman and triathlete Bernard Smith is chasing his own personal goal in Hawaii later this year.
READY: Gympie ironman and triathlete Bernard Smith is chasing his own personal goal in Hawaii later this year. Greg Miller

54-year-old Ironman heading to Hawaii for World Championship

What is the triathlon you are competing in?

It's called the World Ironman Triathlon Championship and will be held in Kona, Hawaii on October 10.

There will be around 2000 competitors and out of that number there are 100 legacy positions.

I have been able to gain a legacy position in the event as I have completed 12 ironman triathlons. Eighteen Australians were offered entry, including myself.

How far do you have travel in each leg of the race?

An ironman triathlon consists of three legs: a swim, bike and run.

First you must swim out to a point and back for 3.8km before riding for 180km followed by a 42.2km run.

These are the same distance for all events I have competed in.

What is the hardest section of the race?

Being the last part of the race, the run is the hardest.

It definitely makes you question why you have done it but after a few days you are wondering when the next one is.

The run for Hawaii will be across the lava fields, making for a tough course.

What is the fastest time you have ever done?

My quickest time was 10hrs and 35mins but it depends on the weather conditions because it can get windy.

If there is a strong head wind it makes it a lot more difficult.

When did you start competing in triathlons?

I first started competing in 2005 and have competed in Melbourne, Port Macquarie, Busselton and Cairns.

After watching the World Ironman Triathlon Championship previously I knew I wanted to start competing.

Since growing up on a farm the swimming leg of the race was going to be a challenge, so I filled in the missing link by achieving my bronze life saving medallion.

The last three years I have been particularly focused on completing the 12 triathlons I needed to qualify.

What training will you do in preparation for this particular event?

I will begin to increase the distance in which I train and will prepare seriously in the next three or four months before the event.

It is important to manage your body and training while maintaining a sensible diet.

During a week I would ride about 300-400km, swim 8-10km and run 40 or 50km.

I am lucky Gympie has a lot of hills; it is hard work but good training.

Do you have or have you had a coach?

Yes, I have had coaches in the past but you need to be flexible and recently I haven't due to my busy work schedule; it makes it difficult.

Have you suffered any injuries while training or competing in an event?

No, I have been very fortunate not to obtain any injuries but it is all about recovery after stressing the body.

Was making it to Hawaii a major goal for you?

It was absolutely a goal. Most people who compete in triathlons would want to make it to Hawaii.

The world championship is the pinnacle of the sport and ultimate achievement.

It is very rewarding for that kind of commitment.

What do you hope to achieve?

It is more about achieving a personal goal and doing the best that I possibly can while gaining a unique experience.

Player profile

Name: Bernard Smith

Age: 54

Born: Mortlake, Victoria

Occupation: Chief Executive Officer for the Gympie Regional Council

Favourite food: As the saying goes, you cannot beat a good roast, must be my rural upbringing

Favourite TV program: British comedy

Favourite music: Eclectic mix, depends on the day

Favourite movie: Action/drama

What other sport have you played: Football and rowing in school

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