WHEN it comes to Ironman events, Rhona Maclean is a seasoned professional.
Maclean has already competed twice at the ultimate triathlon event – Ironman Kailua-Kona in Hawaii.
And this weekend she’ll head to Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast to compete at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships alongside a host of local clubmates.
It may not be quite as challenging as at Kona.
Maclean will be joined by Belinda Johnson (35-39 years), Mel Cockshutt (40-44 years), Kate Pensini (50-54 years), Alison Appleton (55-59 years) and Marg Lawn (60-64 years).
Some would argue her appearances at Kona should ensure Mooloolaba will be a run in the park, but she knows that’s not the case.
“It’s a shorter distance, but that doesn’t make it any easier,” Maclean said.
“After a while you know what you have to do in training and the fact you’ve got some other girls there who also train together makes it easier to prepare for as well.”
After last year’s event was held in Austria, Maclean said it was a benefit to have the home course advantage.
“It’s nice to have it in your own country,” she said.
“The hardest bit was qualifying; we know it’s just one big party up there.
“I’m looking forward to the beers afterwards.”
For Pensini and Lawn, it will be their first world championship appearance.
The hardest bit was qualifying; we know it’s just one big party up there.Rhona Maclean
Lawn qualified for the world championships with a successful result at Ironman Port Macquarie.
She is still a novice to Ironman after starting the half-distance event in March.
Pensini had to follow the races around the world to qualify; she eventually completed the feat with her third attempt.
Male counterparts Graham Pill and Ron Wilson have also already qualified, but Wilson has spent the last 100 days sick in hospital due to an eye infection and won’t compete.
Pill is one of only eight competitors in the male 75-79 year age group and the only Australian.
More than 130,000 athletes participate in a season of qualifying races for the championship; a series which consists of over 85 events in locations such as Australia, Germany, South Africa and Switzerland.
Port Macquarie Triathlon Club president David Craddock was thrilled to see such a strong local contingent.
“It's a fantastic achievement for these triathletes to be competing with the world’s best in Mooloolaba,” he said.
“Their commitment and dedication to the sport has certainly paid off and shows that the Port Macquarie/Hastings area produces great triathletes.”