Qwik Kiwi is the Coaching business owned and operated by Coach Ray Boardman, whom I knew previously in his primary employment in the NZ Army as a Physical Training Instructor (PTI). I hadn’t really had much to do with Ray due to serving in different Camps in New Zealand, but did know of him (such is the size of our small Army). I did come across him though in Afghanistan when I was rotating in as part of the new contingent and he was in his final week or so preparing to return to New Zealand. I remember him asking me to join in with a couple of others for a physical training circuit session, of which I declined saying I had already ran up what was known as the infamous PT Hill (for those that had served there you will know what I mean). Ran… well rather walked due to the hit of altitude which had all of us new in theatre struggling to get used to finding oxygen for the lungs. Ray said, okay then I’ll let you away with it this time. Bugger, he got to me so I joined in with the circuit, struggling to keep up. I had no idea at the time that later Ray would become my Coach, let alone any idea I would ever compete an Ironman, let alone have multiple Ironman events now under my belt.
I have previously documented why I chose Ray as my Coach, but to refresh memories I was simply struggling with the Ironman course in 2014, after only being able to train in Timor-Leste in a less than average size swimming pool, on an exercycle due to the road conditions and local dodgy driving skills. Running always appeared to be dodging wandering livestock and of course those dodgy drivers. Ray had stayed on the Ironman course that day to support me, simply because he knew me. His focus was his Qwik Kiwi clients who had finished their Ironman and he stayed on the course with a fellow PTI Kelly Carter and her partner Tim to get me to the infamous finish line with their ever enthusiastic comments. So when I knew it was time to train properly I chased down Ray. I thought that if he gave that much support and loyalty to someone who wasn’t his client, I wanted to be part of what he gave to his clients.
So during this week I found myself starting to wonder about the upcoming Ultraman Australia, where I will test myself to the extreme of 515 kms of swimming, cycling and running over 3 days, with time cut-offs on a non-catered course (need to bring my own support crew to feed me energy supplies etc). As one can imagine the mind wanders with highs of belief and lows of self doubt. I was paying attention ‘on-line’ to the athletes from Qwik Kiwi and what their goals were and more importantly what they had achieved. I really started to get into their stories regardless of what levels or distances they were striving for.
Three people immediately come to mind. The athleticism of Gerard Bell is awesome. He may be many years younger than myself, but I am in awe at what he has achieved. Austin Powell’s blog of achieving his first Ironman and his journey to get there and many more from the Qwik Kiwi team. One article had me fixed to the computer and I read it over a couple of nights… Di Chesmar. She talked of her journey from getting started in 2006 until now, with event stories of highs and lows (no holds-barred), competing in various endurance events that would make the mind boggle. When I read about her conquering ultra endurance rides such as 10 laps of a 101 km course I was inspired to say the least. I think I only read one Did Not Finish (DNF) listed out of multiple events each year for 10 years and I know she had a Did Not Start (DNS) this year due to injury. This was an event she probably would of done, however she was saving herself for the larger event of Challenge Wanaka a few weeks later to ensure she had overcome the injury.
All the athletes that publish their dreams, which become their goals, which become their achievements, on the Qwik Kiwi Facebook page have all inspired me, but I wish to make special mention of Di Chesmar who is slightly older than me and has certainly inspired me with her drive, sheer determination and making it to the finish line under all sorts of environmental conditions. Her biggest thank-yous are to her husband and our Coach Ray Boardman. Thank you Di.
I know that with my extreme challenge of Ultraman Australia that Team Qwik Kiwi has my back and they are all there with me all the way. Thank you Team Qwik Kiwi and thank you Ray for taking me on two years ago. You’re stuck with me for many years to come.
John Humphries (UltraHumps)!