'Hard part is over': Training partners all set for Cairns Ironman challenge


Howard Salkow

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(L-R) Port Douglas group Rob Cooke, Cameron McKay, Peter Brown, Julie Rose and Michelle Potter (front) have been training together in preparation for Sunday's Cairns Ironman. IMAGE: Newsport.

PORT Douglas tri-athlete Cam McKay is not displaying a hint of bravado when he says he’s lost count of the number of triathlons he has competed in and finished.

And after 24 years of hitting the surf, chasing time on his road bike and pounding the roads, you could say he’s seen it all.

Yet, this weekend, along with partner Michelle, the 44-year-old will be back in the saddle competing in the Cairns Ironman along with a number of Port Douglas athletes including training partners Peter Brown, Rob Cooke and Julie Rose.

“I am doing the half-triathlon which encompasses a 1.9km swim, 90km bike ride and a half-marathon.

“I am not too sure how I’ll travel as I’ve been struggling with sciatica in my back, which may be from Ultraman Australia which I did last year,” he said.


McKay and his group have been training for the last six months in preparation for the Ironman.

"The hard part is over," he said with a wry grin, knowing full well the real challenge begins on Sunday.

"In the week leading into the event you back off your training, so we've already put in the hard yards."

McKay achieved the ultimate in his 24-year career by finishing a highly credible 14th in a field of 40 in the gruelling and torturous three-day Ultraman Australia, a 515km endurance race, which took place on the Sunshine Coast.

He completed the event in 27 hours, 27 minutes and eight seconds.

On day one, the 10km swim took him 2:56:27 and the 145km bike ride 5:21:35. On the second day, he completed the 273.6km cycle in 9:50:25 and on the final day, he completed the 84.3km double marathon in 9:18:39.

McKay is also a winner of the 2009 Super Sprint Triathlon on the Gold Coast; the Coral Coast Triathlon and the Cairns 70.3; a Top 10 world place in the 70.3; plus a century of other triathlons.

The Cairns Ironman will take place this Sunday with the cycle leg of the full marathon coming to Port Douglas.


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