Para-cyclist Dean Cameron joins Sharks Triathlon Club to take on Ironman

IRONMAN: Sharks athletes travelled to Port Macquarie to compete in Ironman Australia.
IRONMAN: Sharks athletes travelled to Port Macquarie to compete in Ironman Australia.

SHARKS Triathlon Club members pushed themselves to their limits at the Port Macquarie Ironman on May 5.

The clubhad 30 members completing the full Ironman, while seven took part in the half-Ironman.

The full challenge consists of a 42.2 kilometre run, a 3.8 kilometre swim and a 180 kilometre bike ride.

Sharks athletes completed the Ironman in times between nine hours 18 minutes and 16 hours 23 minutes.

Among the club's 10 first-time competitors was vision-impaired para-cyclist Dean Cameron, who has trained with the Sharks since February.

Cameron said pilot Darren Toms, who has completed nine Ironman triathlons, had convinced him to take part in the notoriously difficult event.

The pair completed the race linked together, with Toms helping Cameron to navigate.

"The biggest challenge was the swimming," Cameron said.

"I've never really learned how to swim.

"(Darren and I) had to work out what sort of ties we were going to use to link ourselves in the water.

"We went through about five different versions to get the best one so we could actually swim together without me hitting him and not getting too far away from each other."

Cameron completed the race in just over 12 and a half hours.

"It was probably one of the hardest things I've ever done," he said.

"I got a bit of a shock when I had to get off a bike after a (more than 100 kilometre-long) and do a 21 kilometre run.

"I'd do it again in a flash. I've never had so much fun in my life and I've never had such a supportive bunch of people around me."

Sharks athlete Andrea Maloney won first place in her age category, while Michael Whitehouse took out second place.

Whitehouse has accepted an offer to race the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii this October.

Councillor Peter Mitchell and wife Jane Conwell were one of three couples from the club that competed in the event together.