Chances are high that you've seen runner Paul Gagliardi dashing around Port Macquarie streets or taking out a top three finish at the weekly 5km community Parkrun held at Town Beach.
The electrical engineer has spent a year training for his first Ironman event, originally supposed to be held in May 2020. The event was rescheduled to September this year before being cancelled by Ironman Australia on July 7, citing the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Gagliardi was like many Ironman first timers and had bought a road bike, organised coaching and sunk 17 hours a week into a dedicated training routine. It's cancellation brings mixed emotions.
"I am disappointed definitely, it's been a lot of time, sacrifice and training to get to this stage," he said. "To not have that finish line is a little bit disheartening."
"I volunteered for the last Ironman and after the event I was drawn out of a hat as a free entry to do the event myself for the 2020 Ironman.
"I started working with a coach, I bought myself a bike and spent time in the pool. So it's disappointing but I understand that there's a bigger picture here and there's a need to protect the community.
"I don't hold the cancellation against anyone, it's just going to be a prolonged build to the event."
He'd maintained the buildup to this year's event by running a one hour, 26 minute time in the Port Macquarie Running Festival half-marathon for 2020. He was also part of the winning team, PR OR ER in the Port Macquarie Ironman 70.3 for 2019.
"I've deferred my entry to the 2021 event as the safest option but there is potential that there could be one in Western Sydney earlier, which I could get a last-minute entry for if I had to," he said.
"It's been a great building experience for myself to have the discipline to hold with the training routine. I have no regrets.
"I've seen the training as a positive experience and it's something that translates well to many aspects of normal life. I will still continue with the training for the event in 2021."
Supported by friends in the Port Macquarie Triathalon Club, Gagliardi said he will continue training and reach for the goal again in 2021.
"The reason why I took on Ironman originally was because I thought it would be a good challenge. There was a financial commitment but the most important thing is that I can see the personal benefits of completing this," He said.