Running 42.2 kilometres, biking 180 km and swimming 3.8 km in the Ironman triathlon wasn’t always one of Naomi Garrish’s goals.
The 32-year-old pharmacist said she took up running as a hobby two years ago, and with the encouragement of her friend and fellow triathlete, Greg Gillson and his wife, decided to begin training for the Ironman on January 1 of this year.
On August 25, she became one of 2,600 of elite and amateur triathletes to descend on Whistler to compete in one of the toughest single-day tests of endurance in the world. “I guess I’m a sucker for punishment,” Garrish joked.
Garrish completed the course in 14 hours and nine minutes, and finished 58th in her age division, and 1459 overall. She said the key to maintaining her stamina was to remain consistent and take it one step at a time.
“It was an amazing experience. I went out down to the water for my warm-up and looked out and saw this sea of 2,600 pink and green caps. It was incredible.”
Garrish added that she was overwhelmed by the support of her friends, family and fellow athletes, many of whom she said weren’t competitive at all.
In fact, she noted most were just as encouraging as the volunteers and fans cheering from the sidelines.
“I think everyone does it for their own reason. I didn’t meet anyone who was negative. I think people go because they like to be challenged and this was definitely a challenge. It’s tough. You’re tired, but you know the finish line isn’t far away. It doesn’t even cross your mind to quit.”
Garrish plans to compete in the Ironman half-marathon challenge in 2015 in Western Australia.
The Ironman triathlon is a series of long-distance triathlon races organized by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) consisting of a 3.86 km swim, a 180.25 km bicycle ride and a 242.2 km run in that order and without a break. Most Ironman events have a strict time limit of 17 hours to complete the race.