TRIATHLON: When former elite basketballer and ex-Collingwood AFL player Ben Richmond hits the water at Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast on Sunday he will have one word running through his head…believe.
It is the word that drove the 22-year-old to represent his home state of Tasmania in basketball before earning a scholarship to the AIS, going on to spend two years playing professionally.
It is the word he drew on when, at the end of his AIS scholarship, he moved to Melbourne and was picked up by Collingwood.
Through all the challenges he faced as a professional athlete, it was this simple word from his mum that helped him overcome them.
Then, once he was de-listed by Collingwood, he focused on triathlons.
In December, Richmond was forced to further draw on the advice of his beloved mother when the cancer she had been fighting for two years took her from him.
"She was incredibly strong and unbelievably inspirational throughout her entire battle and I wanted to race for her," he said.
"I knew if she could go through everything that she had and still be as strong and as positive as she was that I could accomplish anything. I now race with 'Believe B.A.J' written on the top of my hand, that's the one word she always used to say to me when I was struggling and those are her initials."
That simple word, and the memory of his mum, will be what Richmond draws on when the pain and exhaustion of an ironman 70.3 race start to take hold.
More than 2000 age group and 50 elite athletes will compete on Sunday.