Port Macquarie Ironman popular with locals as they begin training

IT MIGHT be four months away, but preparations for the Port Macquarie Ironman are reaching full throttle for Ballarat athletes.

The quartet of Brett Sinclair, Anna Gordon, Bill Lawrey and Sofia Thapa have already been in training for more than two months and are ready to step it up to the next level to get through the gruelling event.

The Port Macquarie Ironman, which encompasses a 3.8-kilometre swim, 180-kilometre ride and 42-kilometre (marathon distance) run, is one of the most prestigious races on the Australian circuit.

Sinclair, 50, is competing in his third Port Macquarie, after last year breaking the 14-hour mark with a time of 13 hours and 50 minutes.

“It’s such a beautiful circuit in Port Macquarie, it just draws you back and the aim of returning is to try and improve on your previous times,” Sinclair said.

“The satisfaction of getting through it again is just fantastic, and we’ve been training for it seven days per week for a while now.

“Because we’re runners it means that we’re constantly in training for most of the year – but for an Ironman you get to focus quite heavily on swimming and cycling, which has been a nice change.”

The exact number of Ballarat athletes competing in the Port Macquarie event is unknown, but Sinclair estimates the total could exceed two dozen.

“There’s quite a large Ballarat contingent that are going up and over the past few years there’s been a noticeable increase in the interest in Ironmans,” he said.

“At full peak we’ll be doing about 15 to 20 hours per week of training before toning it down about two weeks out from the event.”