This was the equation facing single father of three Robert and single mum of five Heather Frajsman when they married.
The answer for the couple from Diamond Creek in Victoria presented itself in the form of IRONMAN triathlon, which is how they find themselves both racing IRONMAN® 70.3® Geelong on Sunday.
“When we were first married I was overweight and unfit but wanted to start running. Robert and I shared a passion for the outdoors and exercise. When he saw how much running and getting fit again meant to me, he was so encouraging and helped find the time for me to go for a run,” she said.
Robert started his triathlon journey while in remission from cancer (Hodgkin’s lymphoma disease) in 2006.
“He wanted to prove to others around him that he was no longer sick and fragile, but was fit and strong. That’s when he entered a fun distance triathlon series. He was terrified of swimming in the ocean but was able to succeed and improve his fitness and was hooked. He’s been doing triathlon now for 10 years and loves it,” Heather said.
Before long Heather became a part of Robert’s triathlon life, the couple spent time training and racing together.
“We enjoy our late night swims and early long rides and runs together. To have something in common where we can spend so many hours together is a blessing,” Heather said. “And after training a well- deserved coffee, breakfast or lunch and sometimes late dinner together is how we manage time.”
After completing a few IRONMAN 70.3 races together, the couple and their six younger children volunteered at an aid station at IRONMAN Melbourne in 2014.
“We were fascinated and in awe, and were instantly hooked. We then made a decision that we both wanted to do an IRONMAN,” Heather said.
The following year the pair lived that dream when they crossed the finish line at IRONMAN Melbourne.
The entire family will be with them in Geelong with Jessica 20, Aimee 18, Hannah 16, Thomas 15, Oscar 11, Anjelica 10, Chloe 9 and Daniella 8 all cheering on mum and dad.
“Since we started triathlons our kids are now swimming and biking and running. They often say how very proud of us they are and hope to do the same,” Heather said. “Our life revolves around being outside and healthy activities and we often take the whole family to events and hire a holiday house which we wouldn’t have done before.”
Over 1,600 age group athletes will be racing across the IRONMAN 70.3 Geelong weekend.
The iconic IRONMAN® Series of events is the largest participation sports platform in the world. Since the inception of the IRONMAN® brand in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines at the world’s most challenging endurance races. Recognized for excellence through distinguished events, world-class athletes and quality products, IRONMAN has grown from a single race to a global sensation with more than 250 events and five unique brands: IRONMAN®, IRONMAN® 70.3®, 5150™ Triathlon Series, Iron Girl® and IRONKIDS®. For more information, visit www.ironman.com.