Hayes 'excited, nervous' about ironman

When Sally Hayes completed her first half ironman a couple of years ago she quickly declared she wouldn't be attempting a full ironman at any stage.

The thought of adding another half ironman onto what she had just completed was something she wasn't all that keen on - well, so she thought at the time anyway.

Two years on from completing that first half ironman she is just days out from her first ever attempt at the full 3.86km swim, 180.25km bike and 42.2km bike which a full ironman distance race entails.

On Saturday the 25-year-old will line up in the 25-to-29 age group at the New Zealand Ironman in Taupo.

"After my first half ironman I said I'd never do a full one but obviously with a bit more training and a bit more experience under the belt after [the half ironman in] Wanaka I was tempted to try a full one," she said yesterday en route to Taupo.

Her attempt at the New Zealand Ironman race has meant juggling an intense 15 to 20-hours-a-week training schedule with her fulltime job at Sport Southland, where she is involved in event management.

Not surprisingly, it is the swim leg which she singles out as her strongest discipline.

Hayes has an extensive swimming background, starting from when she was 4 years old, and last year she highlighted that by swimming the Challenge Wanaka Half Ironman distance in 26 minutes to break the course record.

Days out from her first full ironman, she admits to plenty of feelings.

"It's a mixed bag of emotions - excited, nervous - I'm just ready to race really."

The first-timer has time targets for each of the legs but wasn't getting too caught up in reaching them. "I've kind of set targets for each section but at the end of the day I don't want to focus on that time and not finish. I'd rather just finish. If I meet my targets that's a bonus."

Hayes is one of nine members of the Southland Triathlon and Multisport Club who will head to Taupo this weekend to compete. She said having that group all with the same goal had helped the buildup. "We've got a fantastic training group. We train hard, have fun, lots of laughs, and get the job done. It's been a good journey this far." 

The Southland Times