Southern athlete Randall tests his iron will
With the second leg of the double completed, Southland triathlete Matt Randall's planning for both the world ironman and world Xterra championships is well underway.
Few manage to achieve what Randall has already done - qualify for both the pinnacle event in world ironman at Kona in October and Xterra, the world off-road triathlon championships, on neighbouring Maui two weeks later.
It's been a goal that Randall has been formulating since he became aware of it, with a combined title up for grabs for those strong enough, and mad enough, to qualify for and complete both events.
He qualified for his first visit to Ironman Kona with a personal best at the Melbourne leg last month but still needed to finish in the top three of his men's 35 to 39 age group at Xterra Rotorua this month to complete the double.
The short turnaround replicated what he'll have to do in Hawaii in October and Randall achieved a fine balancing act between freshening his legs after Melbourne and sharpening in time for Rotorua to score his best result in the Xterra with victory in his age group and a 13th placing overall.
"I recovered pretty well from Melbourne and did the right things in between - a mixture of not doing too much and enough speed work," Randall said.
"I think I was also super-motivated.
"This was my chance to cement it and I was pretty committed to the race all day."
The Invercargill triathlon coach continues to develop in his second coming as an athlete following a successful cycling career, which included a Commonwealth Games bronze in the team pursuit in 2002. He also competed at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
While he has twice finished in the top 10 in his age group at the Xterra world championships in Maui, an event that includes an open water swim followed by mountainbike and trail runs, he is growing into a long-distance triathlete, where his power on the road bike is an obvious asset.
Randall has recognised the need to work on his swimming and has this year increased the volume he does in the pool under coach Jeremy Duncan.
Now Randall, who will also attend the Youth Olympics in China this year as athlete support for the New Zealand team, is getting ready for five months of training to prepare for his Hawaiian odyssey, with plenty of long hours on the indoor trainer in his immediate future.
He will head to Hawaii three weeks early to acclimatise for Ironman, with wife Paula and daughter Evie joining him later.
"I'm going over there to do the very best Ironman that I can do and that will leave me in good nick, if I recover well, to have a good Xterra," Randall said.
- The Southland Times