(Text by Teresa Rider and Mick Flanagan from 2007)
For the past 8 years a large group of Ironman enthusiasts, supporters and competitors have gotten together at the swim start on the Friday before Ironman Australia. Some turn up to have a swim, some catch up with people they haven’t seen for a year while some finally meet face to face. They all have something in common; they are all members of the Transitions website.
The ‘Trannies’ website is used extensively throughout Australia as well as overseas. The likes of Mike Reilly, Greg Welsh, Belinda Grainger and Chris McCormack have been known to frequent the site. It is a very wide-spread e-community, currently boasting 2,500 registered members where people share their triathlon and life stories, successes, and experiences both locally and overseas.
Prior to the 2007 IM Australia, the resident Trannie stats man collated every member who was racing, their number, expected splits and total time. This allowed both the Port supporters and those following on the net to cheer on their fellow sparing member from Transitions.
Unfortunately one of those Transitions members doing the race suffered a heart attack during the swim leg and passed away a couple of days later. Ian Green was 61 and an Ironman legend in Australia. Since completing his first triathlon at Nepean in 1986, Ian went on to compete in 11 Australian IMs (multiple podium finisher), 1 UK IM (1st in AG), and 1 NZ IM (2nd in AG) to finally competing in the holy grail – Hawaii IM in 2006. Ian had also qualified for Hawaii this year through NZ. In these races, Ian toed the lines with the likes of Griff Weste and Geoff Thorsen.
Ian was a regular contributor to the Transitions website and was known as the “Green Machine”. “He was a very quiet unassuming man but when he had something to say people listened.”
Ian was well known around the Sydney running and triathlon circuit, “a man with good stature in the community”.
Born in Sydney, Ian started triathlons in earnest in his early 50’s. Coming from a long distance running background he effortlessly adapted to triathlon. His running pedigree was quite phenomenal, completing in 25 City to Surfs, 12 six foot track marathons, 1 Brindabella Classic, multiple half marathons and an incredible 72 marathons. This year will be the first time that the Sydney Marathon does not have his patronage. Not only a competitor, Ian was a proud supporter of the LAPD Tri Club and Western Districts Joggers and Harriers Club. He was a volunteer at the Sydney Olympics and Para-Olympics. The “Green Machine” was a very special person.
What renders our sport very special is when you hear stories such as this one, where a group of people rally together for one of their own. Through discussions, the Transitions members decided as an e-community to raise some money for Ian’s wife and soul mate Pam.
“I think it was summed up well by a few people who said that; if something like this happened to me, I would feel real comfort in the fact that my extended triathlon family would try and look after my own family in this situation. It is I think what sets athletes apart - that bond which goes beyond just your bloodline.”
The Transitions e-community found out that one of its own members was competing at IM Lanzarote in May, only 1 month after IM Australia when Ian passed away. That person was Geoff Pell (GSP to his friends). Geoff had selflessly agreed to ‘sell’ off 172 portions of his race to raise money. Geoff also arranged to have Ian's photo printed on his race suit which allowed the Green Machine “to finish the Ironman he missed out on in Port”. Geoff said that he had a number of conversations with the Green Machine along the way to keep them both going in one of the hardest IMs worldwide. And they did in a time of 10 hours and 47 minutes. Geoff and Ian will also be going around again at IM Western Australia in December this year.
With this unique and heart warming idea and a raffle, the Transitions e-community raised $X for Ian's wife. This was through the efforts of not only the members of Transitions but also a number of great sponsors (Ken Baggs, IMG, Tri Travel, Tim A'Hern, X-Tri Australia and others).
Ian’s wife, Pam, did some fundraising of her own for the local surf club who rescued Ian from the swim and looked after him. A cheque for over $1,000 was presented by Pam recently to the surf club.
Ian left his wife a great legacy, a whole heap of running and triathlete friends from all walks of life. Despite the pain of losing her one and only, Pam will be volunteering at next Year’s Australian Ironman.
Mick sums it up for all …“Some people on Transitions had never met Ian, some had and some were well acquainted with him (I think I may have seen him once or twice but never really met him). Nevertheless, a lot of people put their hand up for this cause, for one of our own – a Transition member.”
This is is what I wrote on Tranistions after the fundraising...........
A number of months ago, we were saddened with the passing of the Green Machine at Port Macquarie this year. Sometimes from adversity and sadness comes the finer side of the human spirit. This we found in the people of Transitions.
Whilst not personally known to all of us, we have a mutual bond that is quite unique. We all laugh, cry, give advice, abuse each other, drivel on about anything and everything triathlon and non triathlon - we are all Trannies.
Through the generosity of our fellow Trannies and a number of fantastic sponsors, I can confirm that we have raised $X for Pam. This is a fantastic effort considering we are only a small group.
The support from everyone was great, whether you bought a single ticket or more, whether you sponsored GSP, whether you urged others, supplied prizes or built a website to monitor our progress– it was a group effort. Everyone should be very proud.
Last week my wife Delyse & I visited Pam at home and gave her the news. She was a little embarrassed and very humbled for what we had done for her. She is overwhelmed by the support of the running and triathlon community. Ian would have been so very proud of his fellow competitors. I guess that is what is so good about our sport – the ability to rally around those that have shared common experiences. Whether it is competing, volunteering or supporting – we all have a common bond.
We would like to thank everyone for their support. We are also indebted to those that supplied prizes.
Josh Iraia from IMG. Though his generosity we received a multitude of expensive prizes including wetsuits and sports memorabilia. Josh came to us immediately and was instrumental in the establishing a fantastic baseline of prizes.
Ken Baggs who has always supported a good cause. A donation of a slot at IMOZ2008.
Shane Smith from Tri Travel. Shane contacted us within days to offer any assistance he could. And he did with accommodation, travel packages and triathlon goodies.
Nick Munting from X-Tri Australia donated 2 HIM spots, 1 each from Rydges Capricorn at and 1 from the City of Canberra. 2 of the best races you’ll ever do. Thanks Nick – a gentlemen of the Transitions community.
Tim A’Hern from A’Herns Performance Training. Tim was eager to help, as he does with his support for triathlon.
Cube Home Loans
Tri Massage Sports Therapies
MoM (you know, that good looking triathlete from Transitions)
Andrew Flanagan (little Flanman) for building the website and updating it every night for about 8 weeks. I am very proud of him.
We would also like to thank Geoff Pell for volunteering his Ironman which allowed Ian to finish that last race he missed out on in Port Macquarie. To complete an Ironman is pressure enough, but to increase that load by the thought of funds being raised on your performance as well as giving Ian a send off was absolutely incredible. Geoff did this in the most positive and thoughtful way that is rarely seen. He is a true gentlemen and ambassador to our sport and community.
Again, we thank everyone who helped in some way and donated generously. You are all true inspirations.
We sometimes live in a very narrow world, filled with angst and hate. Occasionally we need to stop and smell the flowers a bit more. The tragedy of something like the passing of Ian should not be the only time we look to excel at things good. Let’s try and make a difference to what we do and how we live. After all, that’s how the Green Machine would have liked it.
So if you are running/walking down by the breakwall at Port, have a look for the Green Machine painted rock.
Text: Mick Flanagan and Theresa Ryder