Well I never actually went anywhere, but here is my story!

When I completed Ultraman Australia 2016 on the Sunshine Coast, I won the Military and Emergency Services Division Trophy.  Me being me, I knew I had to return in 2017 and defend my title. To me it wasn’t anything that should be simply handed over to the next winner without the current holder defending his title.  For those that don’t know, an Ultraman is a 3 day event covering 515 kilometres of swimming, cycling and running. Day One is a 10 km Ocean Swim followed by a 140 km Cycle.  Day Two is a 280 km Cycle and Day Three is a Double Marathon of 84+ km.

However when I completed Ultraman 2016, I strained my Peroneal Tendon which curves around the ankle.  It gave me grief at the end of the cycle, but I could run on it okay, so I wasn’t too worried. But with training for the 2017 Ultraman event it wasn’t coming right and I just pushed through without saying too much (mistake # 1, always keep Coach Ray informed of injuries).  

I finished the 2017 Ultraman event, but I wasn’t in great shape at the finish line. My support crew on a couple of occasions on Day Two had to remove my cycling shoes and massage my right foot, much to their delight. I also hadn’t warned Coach Ray of an impromptu family wedding at short notice (mistake # 2).  As such his major training schedules weren’t carried out when he planned and I completed the 2017 Ultraman pretty much on Coach Ray’s Ironman training formula.  

When Coach Ray found a window to put me through the paces he had noticed I was constantly showing signs of fatigue in my training. Being an insomniac wasn’t paying dividends, so Coach Ray elected to rest me before the event. I didn’t win the Military and Emergency Services Award in 2017, but I was quietly ecstatic that I made it to the finish line in the allocated timeframes and was the first to congratulate the new winner of the Military and Emergency Services Award (an Australian Fireman).

When I returned to New Zealand from Ultraman Australia 2017, Coach Ray gave me 5 weeks to recover before getting me back into training.  I took this time to go to physio.  They sent me for Ultrasounds etc and discovered my left Peroneal Tendon was 2mm in thickness and my right one was swollen to 4 times the size at 8mm thickness.  When they asked how I did it, they just about fell off their chair when I explained the event, let alone the training commitment.

For my 5 weeks off I all but turned my back on the sport. I knew I hadn’t finished with it as it had turned my life around, but I did nothing.  I ate junk food and put on as many kilograms as I had weeks off.  I’d occasionally go to the spa pool at the local swimming pool and smile to myself how happy I was that I wasn’t training. But by about week 4 though, I couldn’t wait to pick myself up and get back into it.

I only completed 3 events though over the 2017/18 season, being the December Iron Maori Half Ironman, which I always enjoy and support as it is to them about supporting health and wellbeing.  I also tackled the January Port of Tauranga Enduro, as this was a new event with a distance of between 2/3 and 3/4 of an Ironman. Then in March I returned to Ironman, all of which I finished and was happy with my timings under Coach Ray’s guidance…so now what?

It was time to lift my game and I was always intrigued by the Erin Baker / Cameron Brown Award and became interested in the Iron Maori / Port of Tauranga Legend Series.  As such after a discussion with Coach Ray and my partner, I decided to put the two series of events together and come up with the following events that make up the Erin Baker / Cameron Brown Award and the Iron Maori / Port of Tauranga Legend Series as follows:

  • 04 Aug 18 – Taupo Half Marathon (Erin Baker / Cameron Brown Award),
  • 03 Nov 18 – Iron Maori Quarter Ironman (Iron Maori / Port of Tauranga Legend Series),
  • 24 Nov 18 – Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge (Erin Baker / Cameron Brown Award),
  • 01 Dec 18 – Iron Maori Half Ironman (Iron Maori / Port of Tauranga Legend Series),
  • 12 Jan 19 – Port of Tauranga Enduro Event (Iron Maori / Port of Tauranga Legend Series),
  • 10 Feb 19 – Kinloch Triathlon (Erin Baker / Cameron Brown Award),
  • 23 Feb 19 – Across Lake Taupo Swim (Erin Baker / Cameron Brown Award), and
  • 02 Mar 19 – Ironman New Zealand (Erin Baker / Cameron Brown Award).

I ticked off the Taupo Half Marathon, with 7 events to go to achieve the busy schedule of events that make up the Erin Baker / Cameron Brown Award and the Iron Maori / Port of Tauranga Legend Series.

Will I return to Ultraman, when I struggled through the later stages of the Double Marathon at Ultraman Australia 2017? I said to myself “never again”!  I   am sure we have all said that before.  You bet your bottom dollar I will return. Stay tuned for progress reports as the events unfold.

Regards John Humphries (Aka Ultrahumps – QWIKKIWI).


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