DETERMINED: Matt O'Brien is ready to have a crack at a carer in tri.
DETERMINED: Matt O'Brien is ready to have a crack at a carer in tri.

Noosa triathlete keen to go full on

ONE Noosa novice is about to throw himself headlong into the pain barriers that await in Mooloolaba at the Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast.

Matt O’Brien’s New Year’s resolution was to follow his heart and make his dream a reality, temporarily shelving his studies at the University of Queensland to be a part-time barista and full time triathlete.

Matt is making his debut at Sunshine Coast this Sunday to have a crack at qualifying for the world championships for his age group and to see what he is capable of, with the right training and advice.

“I needed to reset and this year I decided to take a step back to have a look at what I wanted to do,” Matt said.

“I am really glad I made the decision to train fulltime because even if nothing comes of it, I can say I gave it a crack, or I am giving it a crack. There will never be what if’s and no regrets.”

“My parents live in Noosa, it is really good place to train and there are a lot of really experienced heads in the local area.”

Matt said he sought out veterans Justin and Belinda Granger, who said not too wait too long to follow his dream.

“So it was now or never. They thought ‘Why not, you may as well. You are only 19 once in your life and you don’t want to have regrets’ and that is what my dad was telling me.”

If everything goes right, the former Tasmanian could be following in the footsteps of another lad from Ulverstone, Craig Walton, who moved up to the Sunshine Coast to follow a dream and became a triathlon legend.

“We used to holiday up in Noosa a fair bit and would come up when the triathlon was on and I was nine we moved up because the family loved it.

“I was a bit of surf club kid growing up, so I was always around the beach and Noosa was always on around the same time as the surf club season was on, so I always knew it was going on but I was more into basketball, AFL when I was younger.”

“The first time I was involved in triathlon was in a team in Noosa about 2017, so it wasn’t that long ago.

“I went to the University of Queensland to study Exercise Physiology and I joined a tri club down there and that was when I started to really get into it.”

“I only did my first sprint distance in January 2018, a QTS race in Caloundra and my memory is the blisters on my feet from running with no socks on.”

He loved every minute of it and decided that it was his new love.

“Caloundra was my first individual race and then my first Olympic distance was Noosa Triathlon last year.

“I learned a lot at Noosa because I thought that more is better than less, and I took in a lot of carbs and caffeine and not enough water.

“I got off the bike with massive cramps, it was insane. So, learned a lot about the importance of nutrition in a very short period of time.”

Matt is working with Sunshine Coast coach Rob Dendle but living in Noosa there is no shortage of experienced people training there, willing to offer sound advice and a flexible boss to assist with training friendly shifts.

At 190cm and 85kg Matt says physically he is better suited to the 70.3 style of racing and he is looking forward having a crack on the very familiar Mooloolaba course.


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