Ironman Performance

Photo courtesy of Amanda Collett
Photo courtesy of Amanda Collett

Western Australia had a world-class visitor last week at the SunSmart IRONMAN 70.3 in Mandurah, one hour south of Perth. The very talented triathlete, Craig Alexander. I had the privilege of interviewing five times World Champion Craig ‘Crowie’ Alexander, for my book Ready, Set…Go and he is the epitome of peak performance.  He is also the oldest male (38 years of age) in history to win the infamous Ironman Hawaii and broke the course record in the same race.  His results are unmatched across all triathlon distances: three time Ironman World Champion (2008, 2009 and 2011), two time 70.3 Ironman World Champion (2006 and 2011), six time Australian Long Course Champion, more than two dozen Half Ironman victories and countless podium placing’s in every race format from sprint to full Ironman. He has been named as one of the 10 Greatest Male Iron Distance Triathletes of all time. Craig made his debut into the triathlon world at the ripe old age of 21 years in Cronulla, NSW and placed 2nd in his very first race. He posted similar results in a number of races over the next couple of years that led to a wild card entry into the World Cup Race in Sydney in 1995. As they say, the rest is history. The Hawaii Ironman is an extraordinary race.  Imagine swimming 3.8km in the ocean, followed by a 180km cycle down an endless stretch of road surrounded by lava with a blistering wind bearing down on you and then finishing it all off with a 42.2km run through the same landscape. Held in October each year, the conditions can vary but the extreme heat and strong winds are a given.  The gun is fired at 7am and competitors have 17 hours to get to the finish line before they are disqualified.  This might sound like plenty of time but having been a support person twice, I can vouch for the challenging conditions and that’s just from the sidelines! Along with many other Australians, I was at the finish line when Craig made his victory run down Ali’i Drive for his first win in 2008 waving my Australian flag. There were goose bumps on my goose bumps! I felt so proud to be Australian. This man smashed the course record, broken by him again three years later in 8 hours 3 minutes and 56 seconds. That is what you call moving. Triathlon is like no other sport for demanding time. For Craig who divides his time between his home in NSW, Australia and Boulder, Colorado, this means training for 10 hours each day. Add spending quality time with his wife Nerida and three young children into the mix, plus sleeping and eating, and you have one dedicated, focused athlete, dad and husband. This exceptional athlete readily admits that time management, support systems and great relationships are key to his success. Aside from his daily gruelling physical schedule, Craig has sponsorship commitment’s, and is a sought after speaker. With all this dedication and focus packed into his 70 kg frame, it is a relief to discover that this dedicated world class Ironman is a chocolate fiend.  Not fussy, he loves any type of chocolate but has a special kind of attraction for M and M’s, in any colour or flavour.