Third times a charm for Ben Richmond

Ben Richmond lives by the mantra ‘you’re never too old to learn something new’.

When former elite basketballer, and Collingwood listed AFL player, Ben Richmond hits the water at IRONMAN® 70.3® Sunshine Coast triathlon he will have one word running through his head…believe.

It is the word that drove the 22 year-old to represent his home state of Tasmania in basketball before earning a scholarship to the AIS, going on to spend two years playing professionally.

It is the word he drew on when, at the end of his AIS scholarship, he moved to Melbourne and was picked up as an alternative sport rookie by the Collingwood football club.

Through all the challenges he faced in his time as a professional athlete, it was this one simple word from his mum that helped him overcome.

Once he was de-listed by Collingwood, and having already changed sports once with some success, he decided he’d switch it up again, this time focusing on triathlon.

“I wanted to choose a sport where my future was, to a greater extent, left in my own hands,” Richmond says.

In December last year Richmond was forced to further draw on the advice of his beloved mother when the cancer she had been fighting for two years took her from him.

“She was incredibly strong and unbelievably inspirational throughout her entire battle and I wanted to race for her,” he said.

“I knew if she could go through everything that she had and still be as strong and as positive as she was that I could accomplish anything. I now race with 'Believe B.A.J' written on the top of my hand, that's the one word she always used to say to me when I was struggling and
those are her initials.”

That simple word, and the memory of his mum, will be what Richmond draws on when the pain and exhaustion of an IRONMAN 70.3 race start to take hold.

Like many professional athletes who turn to IRONMAN triathlon in retirement, Richmond who is an apprentice electrician at the Mobil Oil refinery, finds combining work and training difficult.

“Sometimes I do miss the professional sport lifestyle. Having sport as your full time job, you never really appreciate that opportunity until you work 40 hours a week and still need to fit 20 hours of training in,” he said.

While completing an IRONMAN was always something Richmond aspired to achieve, he had one fairly decent hurdle to overcome before he could start his journey. He needed to learn to swim.

“Not being able to swim was the thing that always put me off but after getting a great coach who really took me back to basics and gave me confidence I realised it was completely achievable,” he said. “I've always looked at IRONMAN athletes and thought of it as the ultimate physical test that someone could put their body through and always found the men and women who compete in the sport extremely inspirational.”

Over 2,000 age group and 50 professional athletes will be chasing their IRONMAN 70.3 dream this weekend.

IRONMAN 70.3 Sunshine Coast is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland as part of a growing calendar of sporting, cultural and regional events across the State. The event is proudly supported by Sunshine Coast Council and Sunshine Coast Destination.

Courtesy: Ironman Asia-Pacific