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Ardmona triathlete to 'have a crack' at securing world champs spot

Shepparton Tri Club member Jason Shields plans to leave nothing in the tank in his bid to secure a Ironman World Championship spot at this weekend's Ironman New Zealand race.

MARC MCGOWAN February 26, 2013 4:37am

Ardmona's Jason Shields has big plans for Saturday's Ironman New Zealand.

Nothing about Ardmona triathlete Jason Shields’ Ironman New Zealand preparation has been by the book.

Shields, 36, plans to keep it that way on race day on Saturday.

The Shepparton Tri Club member’s major goal is to qualify for the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, within the next two years.

Shields, who caught a plane to New Zealand this morning, wouldn’t mind in the slightest if that happens as soon as this weekend.

There are four Kona slots available in the men’s 35-to-39 age group and he said he would take an aggressive approach to Ironman New Zealand in a bid to claim one of them.

‘‘I won’t be devastated if I don’t get one,’’ Shields said.

‘‘I would rather have a plan of how I’m going to get to Kona and it go wrong and the back-end of my run blow up, than me take it easy on the bike and run 3.20 — a fast run — but still be 15 minutes off the pace because I didn’t have a crack. If I’m going there, I’m going to have a crack.’’

Shields booked a spot at this year’s Ironman World Championship 70.3 with a brilliant showing at Shepparton last November, when he clocked four hours, 20 minutes and 41 seconds for the half-ironman distance.

He said that championship in Las Vegas would remain his No.1 priority, regardless of if he qualified for Kona at New Zealand.

Shields said he felt ‘‘amazing’’ heading into his second ironman, which follows his injury marred debut at Ironman Western Australia two years ago.

‘‘I’ve definitely learned from my experiences and I don’t think it matters how old you are — it takes two or three years to get the strength into your legs to be able to do the miles,’’ he said.

‘‘I don’t train the miles that 50 per cent or more of people do, because I don’t believe I have the strength, so I don’t push it.

‘‘I definitely have more to give and two years’ time is when I’ll be able to do a really good run and be able to run with the top, top guys.’’

Shields said he was capable of a sub-9-hour time if everything went right in the 3.8km swim, 180km bike ride and 42.2km run.

‘‘I was 10 minutes off the lead hopping off the bike in Western Australia two years ago and, between the swim and the bike, I’m going 10 minutes better than that,’’ he said.

‘‘I can’t see any reason I’m not going to get off at the front. The run is the unknown and even in training I haven’t run more than 26km.

‘‘But every time I stopped at 26km I still knew I had a lot left in me. My legs have got the kays in them to do it one time a year.

‘‘A lot of people think they have to run an ironman every weekend to try and train for an ironman, but you only have to do it once.’’

Wade Hicks and Ben Kneebone are the other Shepparton Tri Club competitors contesting Ironman New Zealand and it will be their first attempt at the distance.

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