AGE SHALL NOT WEARY HIM: Tony Bryan takes a break from training at the pool in the lead-up to the Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast this Sunday. Inset: Bryan’s training partner, Robbie Andrews.
AGE SHALL NOT WEARY HIM: Tony Bryan takes a break from training at the pool in the lead-up to the Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast this Sunday. Inset: Bryan’s training partner, Robbie Andrews. Brett Wortman

Ironman just a training run before Ultraman

THE Sunshine Coast will be full of crazies on Sunday, but Robbie Andrews and Tony Bryan register a little higher on the loony scale than most.

For the 48-year-old amateur triathletes, Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast's 1.9km swim, 90km bike ride and 21.1km run is little more than a tough training session.

As well as trying to win today's 45-49 age group race, the pair is preparing for the 10km swim, 420.2km cycle and 84.3km run that is next May's Ultraman Australia race in Noosa.

What would make anyone want to commit to a challenge like that?

"We're crazy," Bryan said.

"We all are, everyone who does triathlons.

"My wife regularly asks me why I do it and I just tell her that we're idiots.

"But it becomes a lifestyle and your life becomes about that feeling you get from challenging yourself."

Not that long ago, Bryan and Andrews were like many of the age group competitors who will crowd the start line at Mooloolaba Sunday morning - first-timers wondering what they had gotten themselves into.

A lifelong off-road motorcyclist, Bryan got into triathlons only eight years ago because he was looking for ways to stay fit and improve his performance on the bike.

"When you get older you realise you need to work to get fit," he said.

"When you're younger, just getting on the bike was enough."

His training went to another level when his job as director of Ausmar Homes led to a meeting with Andrews, a likeminded fitness fanatic three months his senior whose thirst for punishment matched his own.

"You know he's going to make it to a training session if we set one at 4.30am or something like that. He won't let you down," Bryan said.

"You need that. You need to find people who you can train with and who can push you on because if you had to do it alone you wouldn't do it. It wouldn't be possible."

Andrews' commitment to training is so ridiculous that it has halted the wheels of time. Knocking on the door of 50, he has been completing triathlons faster than he did when he was a 38-year-old spring chicken.

"I went to Hawaii in 2003 and I did it in 10-and-a-half hours and last year I did it in 10 hours," he said.

"The course is the same and the conditions are always challenging, but over the years I've got a bit smarter in how I prepare myself."

He travels to Hawaii again next month to compete against the top athletes in the 45-49 age group at the Ironman World Championships, hoping to once again improve on his personal best time.
 

START TIMES

Age group start times:

30-34 male: 6.03am

18-34 female: 6.08am

35-39 male: (A-K) 6.11am, (L-Z) 6.14am

45+ female: 6.17am

50+ male: 6.20am

35-44 female: 6.24am

40-44 male: (A-K) 6.29am, (L-Z) 6.34am

45-49 male: 6.39am

18-29 male: 6.44am

Teams: 6.50am


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