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25 September, 2020

Cairns Iron Woman ready to race

Bikes are being racked, marquees are going up and local athletes are elated that the Cairns Airport IRONMAN Cairns Asia Pacific Championship will finally take place this Sunday September 27, after being postponed over for three months due to theCOVID-19 restrictions.

By Tanya Murphy

Tablelands resident Megan Hendry is one of the highest ranked locals in the female 30-35 age category and said she was beyond excited to finally get back into competing after a year marked by numerous race cancellations. 

Megan has been triathlon racing since 2014 and in previous years, competed in two full and two half Ironman Cairns events, as well as the Ironman 70.3 World Championship, and said she felt well prepared for Sunday’s race. “I was lucky enough to compete in triathlons in Geelong and Mooloolaba earlier this year but there haven’t been any other races since March because they all got cancelled due to COVID-19, so it’s been a long time without racing,” she said.

“When I found out about the Ironman being postponed, it definitely threw a bit of a spanner in the works but I just had to modify my training schedule, which gave me more time for preparation and base building which will hopefully work in my favour. 

“Public swimming pools closed during lockdown which made it tricky for some people, but I was spoiled because I live near Lake Eacham so I was training there two or three times a week.” Megan said she trains up to three times a day, seven days a week and said it was a big commitment fitting it around her three part-time jobs, but balance was important. 

“It’s definitely a matter of time management to make sure you have time for yourself and your friends and family, and I’m lucky I have super supportive parents, family and friends,” she said. 

Megan said her tip for first-time competitors was to enjoy the day and make the most of it. “The Cairns course is one of the most beautiful Ironman locations in the world, it’s a stunning cycle route to get to ride without any cars, so enjoy it,” she said. 

“You’ve done all the hard work now, it’s just a matter of going out there, enjoying the day and taking everything you can from it.” She said she would spend Saturday relaxing with her feet up and carb-loading with spaghetti Bolognese and garlic bread. Ironman spokesperson Craig Heydon said the support for the event had been amazing despite the challenges it had gone through to adjust to COVID-19 regulations. 

“Although the event normally attracts up to 3000 competitors from around the world, this year we have around 1000 competitors registered which is great considering that nearly all of them are Queenslanders,” he said. 

Event organisers have worked tirelessly with the Queensland Government departments, local councils and others to develop an approved COVID Safe Event Plan to enable the race to go ahead. 

Spectators are assured of an exciting race, but grandstands will not be provided at the finish line, teams will not be allowed to run over the finish line as a group, hand sanitiser will abound, and COVID safe officers will patrol the event to encourage spectators to maintain social distancing. Booking a table at an Esplanade restaurant or bar will be a good way to view the event comfortably while following social distancing rules.

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