TEAM GEMM: Sam, Phil and Gemma Weinheimer will tackle the Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast.
TEAM GEMM: Sam, Phil and Gemma Weinheimer will tackle the Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast. Robyne Cuerel

Team Gemm ready to run, swim, cycle

SUFFERING over a 1.8km swim, 90km ride and a 21.1km run is nothing compared to what Gemma Weinheimer faces each day.

Twenty-year-old Gemma suffers from cerebral palsy, epilepsy and spastic quadriplegia, but she will be at the start line of next Sunday's half-Ironman distance triathlon at Mooloolaba.

She will compete with the help of her parents Phil and Sam.

In the swim Gemma will be towed in a small dinghy by Sam. Phil will then ride using a specially designed bike and the pair will then share duties pushing her in a wheelchair over the half marathon.

The family's triathlon journey began in early 2011 after an email landed in Phil's inbox.

That email contained a video, which featured father and son combination Dick and Rick Hoyt.

In 1989, Team Hoyt tackled the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii for the first time.

Dick pulled, pedalled and pushed his disabled son Rick through the course in 14:26:08. In 2008, they were inducted to the Ironman Hall of Fame.

"In 2011, when Gemma was in Grade 12, we found out that the school participated in the Noosa Special Triathlon, so we made a mighty push to have Gemma included," Mr Weinheimer said.

This event was the start of something big for Team Gemm.

After that race, the family, who live in Maryborough, were invited to participate as Team Gemm with the Hervey Bay Triathlon Club.

Since that day, they have completed 30 different events.

Fast facts

What: Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast.

When: September 14.

Who: More than 2000 competitors will take part.

Distance: 1.8km swim, 90km cycle, 21.1km run.

The event is called a 70.3 because it is the total distance in miles.

Competitors will toe the line from 6am, with the swim course looping from the surf club before finishing in front of Loo With a View.

They will then ride on the Motorway toward Coolum, completing two laps. From Mooloolaba Rd transition, they will then run to Cotton Tree pool before returning to the heart of Mooloolaba then undertake another lap before finishing on Mooloolaba Esplanade.


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