Two Port Macquarie triathletes have returned to the Hastings after successfully completing the gruelling 2022 Ironman World Championship in Hawaii.
Craig Robinson and David Carter qualified for the prestigious event after they achieved impressive results in their age group at Ironman Australia Port Macquarie in May.
Robinson set out in a quest to record a sub-10 hour race time in the October 8 event and he managed to tick that box despite stifling heat and humidity.
"It definitely lived up to the expectations in terms of the heat and humidity; it's definitely a different beast and really affected by the wind and weather," he said.
"The last 10 kays of the run were the longest 10 kays I've run in my life because I was running with a tail wind, but you just couldn't escape the heat.
"You are running on an open highway next to the lava fields so it was crazy and definitely an experience that's for sure."
The Port Macquarie Triathlon Club member crossed the finish line in a time of 9:53:09.
"Getting the time was definitely secondary to going over and experiencing the atmosphere and having some fun," he said.
The overall experience - both on race days and in the days leading up to the event - was enjoyable although there was no intention to head back as a competitor.
"I don't think I'd be allowed to attempt to go back - it's my first and last, but I really enjoyed it and would go back to watch it and cheer on other people.
"That'll be my return to Kona if I was to go back... as a spectator."
Robinson admitted his mindset was completely different to how he approached Ironman Australia where he focused on a specific target, but in Hawaii it was quite different.
"I wasn't as fixated on the time or having a specific target," he said.
"I was still pushing, but I always had in the back of my mind I wanted to enjoy that one (Kona) a little bit more.
"It was definitely one of the hardest races I've done with the weather."
Port Macquarie club mate David Carter finished in 32nd position in his age group despite his worst swim leg ever when he left the water in 150th spot.
He completed the course in 11:47:54 at a location he described as an Ironman mecca.
"There's athletes everywhere. People are running and swimming and there are 5200 athletes and around 7000 volunteers so when you add on all the family, it's just an explosion," he said.
"In a lot of ways it was a lot more than I expected and in other ways it went too fast."
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