Well we are all back in New Zealand now. I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone for their support and summarise the final part of our Ultraman Australia journey.
After waking on Wednesday morning after the Ultraman Australia Awards Ceremony it was a last chance to view the beautiful sunrise across the ocean from our apartment in Noosa.
Derrick had said to me “Do you know what you have achieved personally?” This was a comment that took a few days to sink in, but a comment that I am so proud of.
Personally, Ultraman Australia gave me three new records:
- Day One – the longest distance (10 km) I have ever swum;
- Day Two – the longest distance (275 km) I have ever ridden;
- Day Three – the longest distance (84.4 km) I have ever run.
I learnt so much about myself from this event. The highs and the lows within. Dealing with the infamous brick wall, that I didn’t just hit, but smashed into at the 70 km point and pushed through to the end of the double marathon.
I was certainly given a personal test. Coach Ray asked me what were the highlights. There were so many from within, almost too many to list. The highlights far outweigh the few low points.
- The finish line each day and especially on the last day I will always cherish.
- The support from everyone back home with the messages read out to me or written on the road in chalk by the support crew each day.
- The supportive comments from other athletes and support crews each day as we constantly leaped frogged each other.
- The support from the Race Directors and their tireless crew whenever they saw you.
This was simply an event like no other. An event full of mate-ship from everywhere!
I sat on the massage table after the double Marathon downing a sausage roll my crew got for me from god knows where, along with a sponsors coconut milk and said to myself, “That’s it, bucket list achieved / completed the hardest endurance test of my life. I’ll stick with Ironman”.
Within several hours … when devouring the team fridge in the early hours of the next morning, I knew from within it wasn’t the end. I wanted more, but didn’t know what.
Dave Carroll and the Race Directors gave me that answer at the Awards Ceremony. I knew that with winning the Military Division that was my answer.
“When you win the title you have to return to defend it. You shouldn’t just take it and let it automatically go to someone else. Any title in any sport should be defended by its holder and be happy to win it again or hand its journey over‘. They never said that, it was simply the answer from within.
When flying home I knew Ultraman Australia will always be a special Ultraman home for me. I always return to Ironman New Zealand in Taupo to compete as that is the first Ironman that totally changed my life around for a number of personal reasons and keeps me focused. On occasion I will find other Ironman events, but Taupo is the home of Ironman for me. I can say the same for Ultraman Australia. I may compete in one of the other Ultraman events on the world stage, but Ultraman Australia will always similarly be Ultraman home to me as the location of my first event.
I would even come and crew for a complete stranger if they need help and to see it from the other side of the fence.
My message of thank you
I will start with the Race Directors and their team, Tony Horton for accepting my entery and being ever so supportive with his encouraging words to the group and individual words when he chose that avenue. His words lifted each and everyone of us.
Dayle, the tireless behind the scenes lady who kept everyone rocking including the Race Directors. What a lady.
The Paramedic whom I affectionately called ‘Doc’. I couldn’t wait to see him each day as that meant another day was complete.
The crazy photographer who was just everywhere.
The other unsung heroes such as Jo from the Noosa Surf Life Saving Club, the sports massage team who worked magic, the crazy #8in8in8 guy (Craig Percival) with his words of encouragement and simply everyone in an official, unofficial or volunteering role.
My Support Crew who were from different parts of the country (New Zealand). Once we got to Brisbane, within a matter of moments I knew we would gel and that I had the right crew for me. I have heard horror stories of other events where a support crew didn’t work.
Ray Boardman (Qwik Kiwi Endurance Sports Consultants), Derrick McMillan, Scott Cordwell and for the swim as my official paddler, 12 year old Lily. You all simply rock. You kept me honest, kept me going and understood the dark moments I found and shared the highs and tears of joy and emotions I found at the finish line and during my Awards Ceremony Speech.
Everyone that supported me from afar. I received Facebook messages primarily from New Zealand, but even some from various quarters of the globe from friends monitoring my event progress. Friends, family and work colleagues, you all rock and I know that where I work in Defence House in Wellington that you were watching eagerly, particularly as the double marathon progressed for my longest and toughest day.
My sponsors, Off-Limits, the New Zealand Defence Force Singapore Fund and Anodyne Services Australia, whom provided the two 4WD vehicles for us that were the envy of many a support crew. This eased the financial burden on me immensely and I will be forever grateful.
My bike mechanics, Brendon Reynolds from Huka Cycles in Taupo and Keith and his team at Trilogy Cycles in Noosa. Everything went smoothly for the pre-overseas tune up, stripping the bike down at Huka Cycles and Trilogy Cycles for putting it all back together for me and then stripping it down again for the return travel. If I did it, I probably would have had a few spare parts left over. Thank you.
Last but definitely not least, the support of my partner, whom I wasn’t aware at the time was going through hell with worry. It wasn’t until I returned home that she said she was scared I was going to die as this was beyond uncharted territory of a personal endurance test for myself.
Regards John Humphries (UltraHumps)!