Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Hawaii, here we come

Seymour triathlete Dale Mountjoy finally achieves his dream.

CHALPAT SONTI March 12, 2014 4:02am

Seymour triathlete Dale Mountjoy is off to Hawaii to take part in one of the world's great sporting events after qualifying through the New Zealand Ironman recently.

‘‘For me it’s not about being the best or the fastest, it’s about setting a goal and going out and getting it, without much natural ability.’’

Those are the words of Dale Mountjoy, and he should know.

The Seymour triathlete recently fulfilled a long-held dream to get a start in the grand-daddy of all triathlons, the Hawaiian Ironman at Kona in October.

And didn’t he do it the hard way. His journey to qualify for Hawaii began on the other side of the nation, at Busselton in 2011, then the Asia-Pacific Ironman championship in Melbourne a few months later. Mountjoy got closer to his goal in each of those events, then heartbreakingly missed out by one place at Port Macquarie in May last year.

That might have been enough for most, but not Mountjoy.

‘‘That was pretty hard to get back up from,’’ he said.

‘‘You can have this goal but sometimes you have to be practical and know when to call it a day. But I got so close I just had to have another go.’’

That involved a trip to Lake Taupo, in the middle of New Zealand’s North Island for the ironman there on March 1. And Mountjoy made every post a winner early in his bid to finish high enough to get to Hawaii — even if the weather was a lot warmer than he had prepared for.

First out of the water in his 55-59 age group in 61 minutes for a 3.8km swim, he began the 180km bike leg well in front of the main opposition, but was passed after about 30 minutes. With son Jason tracking the opposition via computer and telling Dale what was going on, Mountjoy senior had further cause for worry when a second rival went by after 90 minutes.

‘‘I was about 10 minutes slower than I hoped on the bike but it was very hilly and a slow surface we rode on and when I look back on it I was quite satisfied with my ride,’’ he said.

But worse was to come about 30 minutes into the marathon run when he dropped to fourth.

‘‘At that stage I had a call of nature, my stomach was upset, and I was thinking ‘do I keep going or do I stop?’. I went to the loo, got going and then I had to go again. That was in the first 10km.’’

But with about 10km to go on the last lap, Mountjoy had the third-placed runner in his sights again, deciding to go past him then rather than wait and sprint late.

That proved a wise move because he finished the event in just over 11 hours, and was 21 seconds clear in third place.

But he didn’t think that was enough to qualify, and it wasn’t until the presentations the following day that he learned that the top three had made it to Hawaii.

‘‘It still didn’t feel real for the next day-and-a-half,’’ Mountjoy said.

‘‘I still felt like someone was going to tap me on the shoulder and say no, but it feels real now.’’

The Hawaiian event will mean training through the cold Seymour winter for a contest in hot, windy conditions, but Mountjoy doesn’t care.

‘‘I don’t mind it now — they say the excitement and the buzz over there is amazing and I can’t wait.’’

He thanked wife Rose, daughter Emily, Jason and their partners for the help he had received, as well as former employee Ken Tocock and Ralph, Lyndal and Azaria Mayhew.

‘‘Thank you to Rosie for all the time and energy and effort she puts in. It’s a hard life — I get tired and grumpy but she does very well.’’

And the family is all likely to be on the plane to Hawaii, though Dale Mountjoy will be the only one with a triathlon on his mind.

‘‘All I want to do is go under 16hours 59minutes (the cut-off time) and I’m going to train as hard as I can. The thinking is ‘I just have to finish’ and the last 100m will be the slowest 100 in Ironman history. I’ll find the family and walk it in from there.’’

And then?

‘‘This will be my last one, and if I go again to Hawaii, it won’t be on a bike. I’ll keep doing (triathlons) but not seriously. Jason wants to have a go now so I’ll support him. It’s a fantastic sport, especially with the other athletes being so supportive and encouraging.’’

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