News

'Here, hold my beer': Athlete commits to weekend of pain

ULTRAMAN: Ben Johnston is attempting the three-day Australian Ultraman Title in Noosa, May 12-15.
ULTRAMAN: Ben Johnston is attempting the three-day Australian Ultraman Title in Noosa, May 12-15. Contributed

DURING the day, Gympie's Ben Johnston is an information technology infrastructure analyst, but this weekend he is an ultraman.

The 42-year-old is attempting the Ultraman Australia title, a three-day "sufferfest” which starts at Noosa today and ends Monday May 15.

It starts with a 10km swim off Main Beach followed by a 145km bike ride through Cooroy, Pomona, Kin Kin toward Gympie and back again.

Day two consists of a 421.1km cycling loop beginning and ending in Noosa, taking in Boreen Point, Amamoor, Kandanga, Imbil, Kenilworth, Eumundi, Bli Bli and Mudjimba.

Then there is the tear-inducing Monday, day three, a 84.3km run to Twin Waters and return.

Each tortuous day has a 12-hour cut-off for the athletes.

DO YOU LIKE SPORT? FOLLOW THE TOPIC BY CLICKING HERE.

Johnston said he got into the sport because he thought it was a good idea at the time.

"It seemed like a good idea at the time. A classic case of 'Here, hold my beer'.

"I watched some of the 2015 event and thought at the time that it looked like a supreme challenge. I looked up the entry requirements, and set off down the road to qualifying. As it turns out, qualifying was the easy part.”

He has since trained his socks off day in, day out, sacrificing much of his life in the pursuit of pain.

"Missing social events with friends and family. I miss sleeping in and waking with the sunrise. Coming to terms with lack of sleep, training fatigued, and backing up day after day, and sticking to the program when I'd like to do something a bit different from time-to-time.

"I'm lucky I have a great group of people from Atlas Multisports who've been training with me.

"I feel like I've been training forever. This event has been a gradual progression from 2013 when I decided to give triathlon a go.

"Yes, that's right, I've only been in this sport for four and a half years. I could barely swim 50m, and I didn't own a bike when I started.

"Ironman Australia in 2016 was my qualifying event, and each race after that was with the purpose of building toward Ultraman 2017.

"The peak weeks have been upward of 20-25hrs covering all disciplines, with majority being long runs and rides. I lost all feeling in my butt months ago, my legs don't talk to me anymore, and my cat no longer recognises me.”

Johnston said he had worries about the race but stopped short of admitting fear.

"The run. It's not a fear, just a concern about how to deal with the accumulated fatigue over three days. Every step beyond the first marathon will be a personal best for me.

"I'm relying heavily on my crew to keep my mind off the sheer size of the task ahead of me. Letting go of the details and allowing my crew to take over has been a challenge for me.

"It'll be hard, very hard, but I'm hoping it will also be fun and I'm wishing all the competitors a great few days.”

Gympie Times

Topics:  cycling gympie sport running swimming triathlon ultraman australia



'Obsessive stalker' jailed in Gympie court

STALKER: A Gympie court has jailed a man described as an obsessive stalker after he repeatedly offended against his former girlfriend

Man gets further jail for continued stalking of his ex-girlfriend

Inskip sinkhole drama relived on TV

Footage captured at the scene of the sink hole opening up at Inskip Point in 2015.

'No one knew who I was - They thought I was stealing their beer.'

Man escapes from wreck after rollover

Emergency crews have responded to a single car crash.

Emergency crews respond to single car crash north of Woolooga.

Local Partners

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy a slick, impressive effort

New Uncharted game for PS4 hits the shelves

Bride and Prejudice's Chris reveals more family heartache

Grant and Chris feature on the TV series Bride & Prejudice. Supplied by Channel 7.

His dad’s health has dealt a massive blow to their happy life

Nicole's ready to bust out of Doctor Doctor's love triangle

Nicole da Silva stars in season two of Doctor Doctor.

New season gets a fresh injection of relationship dilemmas.

MOVIE REVIEW: Tom Cruise flying high again in drug drama

Tom Cruise plays pilot Barry Seal in the movie American Made.

FILM STAR delivers his best performance in some time.

The Project will now be on six nights a week

The Project presenters Waleed Aly, Carrie Bickmore and Peter Helliar.

The Project is expanding with a Sunday night edition and a new host.

Click your fingers, tap your toes

Helen Peters, Elisabeth Wallis-Gaedtke, Evalee Sharples and Kemal Avunduk rehearse for Fascinating Rhythm, Sunshine Coast Oriana Choir's performance of hot jazz, sizzling samba, Latin beats and smooth swing sounds at Lake Kawana Community Centre on August 26-27.

Libby to set beat for Fascinating Rhythm this weekend

Margot Robbie is unrecognisable in London

Margot, is that really you?

MARGOT Robbie looks completely unrecognisable as Queen Elizabeth I.

REVEALED: New shops for Coast centre's $12million revamp

Coast retail centre expands as part of $12million refurbishment

FREE: Guide to Gympie's hottest suburbs in The Gympie Times

Look out for SOLD ON in The Gympie Times on Wednesday.

The first Gympie edition of Sold On is in today's Gympie Times.

Residents fear sand mine sell out by State Minister

Sand mine opponents attend the Nambour Council Chambers.Cou

Further testing undertaken on site, despite claims of significance

Investors quick to snap up property in key growth corridor

High-profile commercial site sells at auction for $4.920m