Once you get to a certain age it’s rare to have the tag first timer attached to anything you do.
But that’s exactly what 65-year-old Gary Brandon from Bargara in Queensland will be when he takes on Sunday’s Toyota IRONMAN Australia.
With a long history in triathlon IRONMAN was always on Gary’s bucket list, but as is often the case life got in the way. But now that he’s retired he’s decided the time to tick that box is now.
“IRONMAN Australia was the logical race for me as it has always been such an iconic race. I was also inspired watching my brother Paul and two of his daughters, who entered and completed the 2013 IRONMAN Australia race together as part of celebrating their Dad's 60th birthday,” he said.
“I felt that I needed two years to prepare myself for such a gruelling event and that time has passed very quickly. To be part of the 30th anniversary Toyota IRONMAN Australia along with my brother Paul is pretty special,” he said.
Even though the brothers reside in different states Gary credits Paul with helping him prepare for the challenge that lies ahead.
“He has finished 31 IRONMAN races overall and we share a joke that hopefully I will be able to say that after this IRONMAN Australia that between us we have now finished 33 IRONMAN races," he said. “We have trained together over several weekends in the two years since I made the decision to give it ago. We continue to have chats about our training and preparation for the big event.”
Gary’s main goal in his first IRONMAN is to make it to the finish line in one piece. And while he’d love to finish at the same time as Paul, younger legs and more experience means that may not happen.
“In November we raced IRONMAN 70.3 Western Sydney and finished within 5 minutes of each other (he won) so we'll be keeping an eye out for each other,” Gary said
“But in regards to IRONMAN racing he well and truly has me covered both in experience and his knowledge of the course, but you never know!
Race day will also include over 1800 age group athletes chasing their own personal bests.
Race day is on Sunday, 3 May 2015.
Courtesy: Ironman Asia-Pacific