When John Domandl and Paul McGlynn cross the finish line at IRONMAN 70.3 Asia Pacific Championship, Western Sydney it will mark another exciting chapter of this remarkable triathlon team.
The pair of Domandl and McGlynn made history in 2016 becoming the first visually impaired athlete and guide to break the 11 hour barrier for the IRONMAN distance, with a world's best time of 10:53 set at the SunSmart IRONMAN Western Australia last December.
Not bad for a couple of self confessed "middle aged working class blokes" from Newcastle, who see themselves as triathlon's 'Oscar and Felix'.
"Paul and I are dead set the 'Odd Couple'. Paul is such a professional, he is methodical, he is calculated and organized. I am the rogue of the two. All my stuff is just thrown in the corner and I rush around at the last minute. Paul is never on time, he is before time. But when we compete together, train together and swim and run we are one. We are a combined unit."
Despite degenerative eyesight Domandl has been a sports tragic all his life and described himself as 'a motivated but not a natural athlete', competing in everything from rugby league, soccer, Aussie rules and riding his push bike everywhere.
"I did everything but mainly daytime sports because of the night blindness. When I was in my twenties I started doing blind cricket and then I got into athletics and track and field and represented Australia on two occasions at World Championships and Paralympic level. But I also snow skied all my life."
It was visually impaired IRONMAN legend Ched Towns who convinced Domandl to have a crack at the new sport of triathlon more than 30 years ago. And while he has tinkered with adventure racing, kayaking, bush running, road racing and mountain biking on a tandem with great success John has always returned to triathlon.
Domandl is grateful that McGlynn, an established IRONMAN in his own right with a Hawaii finish to his credit, is committed to piloting their IRONMAN journey.
"The importance of the guide cannot be underestimated. It is the achievement of the two people together. I am very fortunate that Paul has achieved everything he wants to achieve in the sport and now he wants to help me achieve them."
"We have a fantastic relationship and that is important because the communication side and the guide side of things are vital. Eighteen months ago Paul had no experience on a tandem and didn't know the front from the back but together we have just learned so much. We are not in each other's pockets all the time, we train together sometimes and then keep away from each other as well so we don't get on each other's goat. When we come to race day we are switched on together and think the same."
Always looking for an adventure in 2017 John and Paul tackled IRONMAN Australia and turned their attention to the 55-59 age group at ITU World Long Course Championships in Penticton, Canada.
"While we were at IRONMAN Australia in Port Macquarie someone suggested we go to Canada for the ITU World Long Course Champs in Penticton. I asked Paul and he said 'Let's go'. We went over and smashed that and picked up a World Championship title. More importantly Paul and I compare ourselves by our age group and in Penticton we finished 21st out of 60 competitors but we were the fastest 50-59 age groupers from Australia. So we were really proud of that. It is the statistic that we like the most."
Never content to sit still for too long the dynamic duo of Domandl and McGlynn are already thinking about the next episode of their story and IRONMAN 70.3 Asia Pacific Championship, Western Sydney is an important piece of the puzzle.
"I have an agenda for Western Sydney. I don't want to say too much but we are going to have a crack at a fast time. Paul and I were the first team to break eleven hours for the IRONMAN distance but with our age, we collectively have 30 years on some the young guys. We are realistic to know that will never be the fastest over the 70.3 but we do know our strengths and our weaknesses."
"We are planning to go to the next ITU World Championship in Denmark next year. So we need to have some intermediate targets so we thought we would have a crack at 70.3 Western Sydney. We are aiming for five hours and anything under that will be a bonus," he said.
As the IRONMAN 70.3 Asia Pacific Championship, Western Sydney now offers 60 qualifying slots to the 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, to be held in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa. Find out more information about IRONMAN 70.3 Asia-Pacific, Championship Western Sydney .
The IRONMAN 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship, Western Sydney is proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.
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