THE World Triathlon Series stage in Auckland last week may have drawn the curtain on an epic season of endurance racing, and athletes could be forgiven for turning their attentions to some R&R ahead of the festive season.
But for Magherafelt� athlete, Ironman and personal trainer Anthony McKenna, it’s a time to prove his �practice what you preach� philosophy.
When his 2013 calendar is pinned to the wall on January 1, the first date to be marked will be May 18. Below it will read �Lanzarote Ironman�.
Just as well calendars don�t leave room for small print.
The event motto says it all... �Normal limits do not apply�. A 3.8 km swim, followed by 180.2 km on a bike before a 42.2 km run, in a race designed to test strength, character and mind-body excellence in an �unrivalled manner�.
Daunting for most, but for Anthony and his Awen Sport fitness company, it’s a chance to show his clients that setting goals is the way to achieve success in the world of fitness. His impressive sporting background includes ironman triathlon, triathlon marathons, adventure racing, mountain biking, cycling, rugby and surfing. He is also a sports massage therapist and has worked and trained with rescue teams, which require top performance levels at short notice.�
Pretty impressive, but when it comes to making the trip to Lanzarote, he’ll be in good company.
The Magherafelt man will team up with up to 10 Mid-Ulster endurance athletes, including the �deca�impressive Bob Davison, from Cookstown.
The super fit triathlete last year completed one of the toughest challenges of his life for charity, the grueling Decaman triathlon at Eskragh Lough, Dungannon.
He teamed up with his cousin Keith Clarke, from Dungannon, and Andrew Hassard, from Ballyclare to swim 24 miles (further than the English channel), cycle 1,120 miles (four times the length of Ireland) and run 262 miles (or 10 Belfast marathons)� all in 10 days.
Anthony was part of the support team for the arduous event.
“Lanzarote will be my third Ironman,”� he said.
�”But that just pales in comparison to what Bob and his team achieved at the Decaman. The experience of having people like this around will be massive for us in Lanzarote.”�
“I was there supporting the Decaman effort, providing nutritional input and daily sports massage for the team, and I can tell you that was tough enough. Putting in 23 hour days was a massive challenge� and it wasn�t even me who was putting in the hard yards.”
“Lanzarote has a tough reputation and I have no doubt it will be a huge challenge, but I tell my clients about the importance of setting achievable goals on a daily basis.”
�”You have to be prepared to practice what you preach,”� said Anthony.