LITTLE more than two weeks ago, Cameron Larkin was lying in a hospital bed, barely able to move after being struck by a car.
But in the most courageous of turnarounds, the former Ballarat man overcame debilitating injuries to complete the Melbourne Ironman in an ultimate 10-hour test of mental and physical endurance on Sunday.
It was not the best time Larkin, 28, has recorded in his career, but it was by far his most monumental race.
Having trained for the ironman event for months, Larkin was on a 130-kilometre training ride in Melbourne when a car pulled out in front of him that he was unable to avoid.
Travelling at 41km/h, he crashed into the side of the car and was knocked unconscious.
Luckily, an off-duty doctor was riding his bike nearby and witnessed the incident, attending to the injured Larkin until an ambulance arrived.
He was rushed to The Alfred hospital, where he spent two days recovering from injuries sustained to most of his body.
“Even four days out from the event I tried to go for a run and couldn’t do it, my hip and legs were in that much pain,” Larkin said.
However, he never gave in.
With months of sacrifice and training under his belt, not to mention the $850 entry fee already paid, Larkin was determined to not only attempt, but actually finish the gruelling event.
Also forced to borrow his housemate’s bike after his was wrecked in the crash, it was far from the ideal preparation, but Larkin soldiered on.
The Melbourne Ironman featured a 3.8km swim, 180km bike ride and 42.2km run, all of which he completed in 10:15.14.
He finished 420th out of more than 2000 competitors and 35th in his age category.
“I knew I wasn’t going to set a record or anything, but I just wanted to finish the race,” Larkin said.
“From what I had to go through so close to the event, there was no way in my eyes I could not at least try to race.
“The run was easily the worst part, my whole body was in pain but I kept going. The feeling crossing the line was amazing.”
Larkin said it would not have been possible to finish the race without the support of family and friends, as well as spectators on the day.
“Even though it’s an individual sport, the support I received was overwhelming, it definitely helped me over the line,” he said.
For now, sights are set on competing in other ironman events down the track, including Melbourne’s ironman next year.
Hopefully there will be a more routine preparation next time.