Victoria Ironman Brent McMahon has Hawaii in sight

Victoria Ironman Brent McMahon has Hawaii in sight
Meet the youngest Malaysian ever to compete in the Ironman World Championship 2018
Bob Knuckey wants to be the fastest man at the world Ironman championship among men in their seventh decades.

The 70-year-old retired teacher from Caledon, Ont., has pulled out all the stops in training to both win his age group Saturday in Kona, Hawaii, and to break the record currently held by another Canadian.

While she’s called Kauai home for nearly 30 years, she grew up in Hilo. So, combine the 40th annual Ironman World Championship on Saturday with going home, and you’ve got the stuff of dreams.

While the TV cameras will follow the professional triathletes racing for $650,000 U/sin prize money, there will also be more than 2,000 racing amateurs for whom Kona is also the holy grail of their sport.

“I’m dreaming about every move that day,” the 56-year-old said. “But what worries me is what’s going to happen throughout the day.”

"My two goals are to win my age group this year and, if the weather co-operates, break the record as well," Knuckey told The Canadian Press.

Since she began running at age 35, and learned to swim at 45, she’s set goals to test her fitness and fortitude — and completed races all over the world.

"I've been thinking about this for a long while. I started I would say two or three years ago really putting a big focus on this."

Lisa Ledesma has four Ironmans to her credit, as well as hundreds of shorter races that involve water, wheels and running shoes.

The Kona record for men 70 to 74 over the 3.86-kilometre ocean swim, 180K bike ride and 42.2K marathon is eleven hours 45 minutes five seconds set by Regina's Milos Kostic in 2011.

Kauai’s Lisa Ledesma will be competing in Saturday’s World Ironman Championship on the Big Island.

"When you are the baby in these age categories, the 70-year-old, versus the 74-year-old, you've got to be ready when your zero comes around," said Knuckey's coach Barrie Shepley.

A former marathoner, Knuckey completed his first Ironman in 2007 in Wisconsin just weeks after treatment for prostate cancer.

He won the men's 70-74 division at this year's Ironman Texas in 11:20.07, as well as the men's 65-69 title at the 2013 Ironman Arizona in 10:44.09.

But Kona is considered the most challenging Ironman because of searing heat and variable crosswinds. Course records stand for years until a race with favourable weather conditions allows them to fall.

Knuckey twice raced the world championship in Kona in his sixties, most recently finishing fifth in his age group in 2014 in just under 12 hours.

"If it's a good day and not too hot and not too windy in Hawaii, my goal is do around 11:40," he said.

Knuckey doesn't have the running pace he once had and can't log the same amount of training mileage he once did, but he compensates for that with swimming and biking.

"Believe it or not, my swimming has gotten faster," he said. "My biking is a lot stronger. I don't know why.

"You figure you're getting older and you're lacking muscles. My massage therapist seems to think my muscles have gotten stronger and my power on the bike has gotten stronger.

"I guess it's because of all the training partners and workouts I've been doing."

Knuckey is challenging some perceptions about what's possible for "master" athletes, Shepley says.

"One of the things we try to do with our master athletes, it sounds weird, but as you age you want your rate of decay to be lesser than your competitors," the coach explained.

"You try to make sure that rate of decay is less by strength training, by yoga and all of the things that Bob is doing.

"What I see in Bob, even though his run is just slightly slower than nine years ago, his swimming and biking is faster and his overall time is virtually what he did a decade ago and maybe even slightly faster."

In a nod to his age, Knuckey is diligent about stretching, nutrition, massage and getting on top of aches and pains quickly.

"You have to listen to the body," he said. "If something lasts more than three days, I'm getting chiro, I'm getting physio, I'm getting massage."

Knuckey says he isn't nervous about Saturday's race, which is considered one of the ultimate tests of body and spirit.

"I try to keep happy thoughts in my head. I try to think about my past successes," Knuckey said. "It's not going to be easy, but I think I've done all the work that should get me to the finish line first."

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Lim Chee Yong at the 2017 Ironman Langkawi, where he won third place. Next stop: Hawaii. He will be the youngest Malaysian and the first Langkawian to participate in the Ironman World Championship to be held in Hawaii on Oct 13, 2018.

Swimming coach Lim Chee Yong won third place in his age group (18-24 years old), with a time of 11:45:25, at the 2017 Ironman Malaysia event held in Langkawi, Kedah. The icing on the cake was being crowned the Best Langkawian at the same event.

His win automatically qualified him for the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, which will be held tomorrow. He will compete with top qualifiers from around the world.

After he completed his secondary schooling, he took up running. At first, he ran distances of 3km, 5km and 10km. Gradually, he developed an interest in long-distance running. His first long-distance run covered 30km, just after a month of running.

He has his uncle to thank for introducing him to Ironman Malaysia. After seeing his capabilities, his uncle – who is also a triathlete himself – suggested that Lim try the triathlon and registered him for the 2016 Ironman Malaysia.

For the World Championship in Hawaii, Lim will be the first Langkawian and the youngest Malaysian ever to compete.

In April, he took part in the 2018 Ironman 70.3 Bintan in Indonesia. He came in second in the 18-24 years category.

You have to be passionate, consistent and disciplined in order to achieve your goals, says Lim.

By asking friends for their advice and opinions and trying to visualise a solution for a win-win outcome. And stay calm and focus on the big picture.

The moment I crossed the finish line and found out that I had finished top three in my age group (18-24 years old) for 2017 Ironman Malaysia and qualified for Ironman Kona World Championship 2018!

To beat my personal best for triathlon races and try my best to inspire people to follow their dreams!

Im a part-time swim coach under the Gogetter Triathlon Squad. Normally our coaching class starts from late evening until night, so I train two sessions per day (morning and afternoon) before I start my coaching session.

i. I learnt how to swim via YouTube, three months before 2016 Ironman Malaysia (my first ever triathlon race).

For Ironman distance, I will have breakfast (two pieces of bread and hot drinks) two to two-and-a-half hours before a race. For Bike Leg, I will have one energy gel every 45 minutes, one organic energy bar and two bottles of ultra-endurance drinks. For Run Leg, I will take one energy gel every 30 minutes. For post-race, I make sure to have my usual recovery drink, which is a whey protein drink.

I feel very grateful and lucky to have strong support from LADAs (Langkawi Development & Authority) and Langkawian friends in my journey to Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Im proud to represent Langkawi and Malaysia in my biggest dream race ever! I will try my very best to finish strong in one of the toughest races in the world, and make Langkawi and Malaysia proud!

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