Voted the world’s best Ironman Triathlon, the Carins Ironman Triathlon also doubles as the Asia-Pacific Championships. The race boasts the stunning tropical waters off Palm Cove for its 3.8km swim, the world famous coastal road from Cairns to Port Douglas as the challenging 180km bike leg and the waterfront esplanade of the city of Cairns for the 42km marathon.
The championship race drew over 1300 competitors from all around the world. I had the blessing of being one of these competitors.
This year I had the opportunity to compete in this race as both a personal challenge and to raise support and awareness for a Mission Aviation Fellowship family. MAF reach some of the most physically and spiritually remote people in the world using aviation and technology. The family I was supporting, the Morrell’s, are based in East Arnhem Land and serve many Northern Territory communities.
Race day was a hard long day. Difficult swell and choppy conditions made it a struggle to navigate the 3.8km swim course. The bike also featured a strong headwind from Port Douglas to Cairns making the last 50km of the 180km a real challenge. This all added up to tired legs and bodies as the athletes started the 42km marathon in the heat of the day. Even for the professional athletes finishing in just over eight hours it is a long day. For the final competitors crossing the line in over 16 hours it is even longer. Full credit goes to these athletes who are still running late into the night.
Some highlights from my Ironman experience focused around the people. Local Pastor Geoff Snook competed in the Half Ironman distance and was sharing how the sport has helped build relationships both within his church and with the community. MAF engineer, Darren Lydeamore, also took on the Half Ironman challenge and shared the way the event draws many Christians together from the Cairns region.
Another highlight was meeting the team at Tree Tops Lodge and witnessing their ministry. Tree Tops is a joint project of MAF and Wycliffe Bible Translators. It provides accommodation and support for missionaries, accommodation for the wider Christian community and the general public. They supported me in my race preparation. The whole experience highlighted the way Christ has His people around the world, including the world of sport. He uses these connects to encourage one-another and build His Kingdom.
Jeremy Dover is a former sports scientist and Pastor
Jeremy Dover's previous articles may be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/jeremy-dover1.html