Three Invercargill mums are conquering the usual challenges that come with work and young families as they prepare to tackle Challenge Wanaka next month.
Verdon College teachers and mothers-of-two Kristine Simpson, Vicki Davis and Mandy Tiplady will take on the teams event at the iron-distance race on January 18.
Tiplady, who has been contesting shorter distance triathlons for the past few years, and Davis, who completed Ironman New Zealand at Taupo in 2009, were at the start of the school year discussing a fitness goal they could aim for.
Challenge Wanaka was mentioned, and Simpson happened to be wandering down the corridor at the same time.
Simpson was given first choice of discipline and chose the 180km bike ride, rather than the 3.8km swim or 42.2km run - "because it sounded like the easiest one. Rookie mistake," she joked.
It's a significant undertaking for someone who before this year hadn't been on a bike since riding to high school 20 years ago.
"I've come up with a slogan which is 'from couch to Challenge' because that's effectively what I've done," she said.
Simpson didn't even have a bike at the start of this year.
She bought a road bike, shoes and trainer on TradeMe and then another piece of the puzzle fell into place when experienced cyclist Dave Watkins moved in next door.
Simpson had worked with Watkins at Tiwai 20 years ago during her university holidays and he offered to help out with some coaching.
Tiplady had initially been down to do the run, but a bout of tendinitis meant she swapped the swim with Davis about six months ago.
Most of this year has been a blur of training, working and juggling all the other commitments of life, especially for Tiplady and Simpson who both work fulltime.
With Tiplady's husband, Mike, doing shift work, sometimes the couple have only seen each other 10 minutes per day as she heads out the door for a 5.15am pool session before work.
But, all agree, the effort will be worthwhile when they run down the finishing chute together with their children sometime during the afternoon of January 18.
"I've thought about that a bit, I think I'll have a bit of a tear in my eye," Davis said.
The trio, who have children ageing from 2 to 7, are adamant they wouldn't have been able to get this far without the support of their husbands and wider families.
They have been driven by a mission to get back into exercise after childbirth and to provide a positive role model for their families.
- © Fairfax NZ News