5 hours 47 minutes, baby

“If you find yourself in a situation where a white person is talking about a marathon, you must be impressed or you will lose favor with them immediately.  Running for a certain length of time on a specific day is a very important thing to a white person and should not be demeaned.  Also worth nothing, more competitive white people prefer triathlons because Kenyans can’t afford $10,000 specialty bicycles.”

Stuff White People Like

“In Europe, pretty girls on retro bikes with wicker baskets ride, carefree, to work everyday. Keeping active, while also keeping up the appearance of effortless chic. In New Zealand, by contrast, cycling is seen more as something for large groups of overweight, middle-aged men on expensive racing bikes – men who really shouldn’t be pouring themselves into fluorescent Lycra – to do on Saturday mornings, sweating and panting up the hills like sheep in the sun.”


Last weekend I completed my third Half Ironman in Taupo…

Swim Start


Finish (pipped at the post by a 5 year old!)

Some of you may remember a post from earlier this year, Start != Finish, where I wrote about my experience of the Tauranga Half Ironman in 2008.  Trying to avoid making those mistakes again, my goals for this race were mostly related to the shape I wanted to be in at the start line rather than the time recorded at the finish.  That seemed to work out for me both ways – I’ve lost some more weight and I’m as fit as I’ve ever been and feeling quite positive about that, and (as a result?) I smashed my personal best time for that distance by nearly 30 mins, finishing in an official time of 5:47.50.

In case that sounds fast, I should point out that this put in me in 205th place on the day, over 90 mins behind the winner.  One of the good things about triathlon as a sport, and these sort of events specifically, is that you can race yourself and win.

I know that entering long races seems like madness to most people, but really they are just an excellent excuse to be active, eat well, push myself, etc.  I’ve found committing to an imminent race date to be just enough motivation to tip the balance in my favour on all of those fronts.

However, I’d like to specifically recognise the anonymous person who unkindly commented on the size of my belly when I posted my finish line photo from Tauranga. You didn’t, and probably wouldn’t, say it to my face. Thing is, there really is nowhere to hide in those lycra race tops, as you could easily discover for yourself. But, anyway, thank you. To quote Michael Jordan’s acceptance speech when he was inducted in the Basketball Hall of Fame earlier this year: “You put another log on the fire”.

So, with this race done I’m on the lookout for another challenge.  Ideally this time it will be something that doesn’t involve swimming, cycling and running a long way, only to end up where I started.  Any suggestions?

14 thoughts on “5 hours 47 minutes, baby”

  1. Hi Rowan,

    A 2km swim-90km cycle-21km run in 5 hours and 47 minutes is awesome! I can’t swim, but I cycle and jog (not run) and I can appreciate the stamina it would need to complete this marathon. Don’t worry about your position in the race – that you completed it and you beat your previous time, is what’s important. (I believe perseverance, continuity, and continuous improvement is better than speed!)


  2. Hey Rowan, you should definitely check out some of the mountain biking events up in Taupo if you’re into that kind of thing – they’re absolutely amazing.

  3. Not sure if you know this but you are widely used as an example of someone who pushes themselves to the extremes in sport. Its one of those terrible situations where no one bothers to tell YOU how much of an inspiration you are doing things like this when people like me are trying to set goals and achieve a tiny part of what you can do.

    I have no idea how amazing completing that must feel but I really love reading about it after :)

  4. Fantastic! Congrats Rowan. Hard work but I’m sure every second was worth it in the end.

    Definitely an inspiration for those of us who have a lot less stamina. Love the finish line photo!

  5. Nice work!
    Karapoti 50km mtb classic, maybe next…?
    Great challenge, only 10 weeks away..you are already race fit, just need mtb skills.
    Good excuse for a new toy also ;)

  6. Hey Rowan,

    Long time no speak. Re what races to do next – how about The Crazyman? http://www.crazyman.co.nz has all the info you need.

    There’s no swimming but there is 18km of mountain running, 36km of mountain biking and a wee bit of kayaking at start.

    I’m trying to talk myself into doing it too …

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