Two decades of competing in triathlons has earned a James Cook University lecturer a place in the 2012 Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii on October 13.
A senior lecturer at the Cairns campus Institute of Sport and Exercise Science, Dr Glen Deakin has competed in 21 Australian Ironman triathlons and was one of 80,000 triathletes vying to compete in Kona, the symbolic and spiritual home of triathlon.
“My commitment to the sport helped with my selection through the newly launched Ironman Legacy Program which is designed to allow loyal Ironman athletes the opportunity to compete in Kona at least once in their lifetime,” he said.
Dr Deakin, whose many research projects include the impact of triathlon training methods on recovery dynamics and race performance, has been training for up to 25 hours each week for the course’s gruelling 3.8km swim, 180.2km cycle and 42.2km run.
His role at the Cairns Institute of Sport and Exercise Science gives him a training edge as he has access to similar equipment used by athletes at the Australian Institute of Sport, including a Veletron cycle ergometer, a high-tech training bike hooked up to a large screen which together simulate the Kona course.
“I was a spectator at the Ironman in Hawaii 17 years ago, but haven’t competed in an international Ironman event yet,” Dr Deakin said.
“It is an intimidating course which crosses lava fields where you have to both ride and run in very windy, hot and humid conditions with temperatures in the high 30s.
“Imagine the worst day in Cairns in summer and it is even worse than that.”
Dr Deakin has another competitive advantage as his research has involved investigating the effects of heat stress and physical activity.
He is the co-inventor of the CoolMe vest, a disposable personal cooling device designed to limit the effects of heat stress during physical activity and speed recovery, which has won numerous awards including the ABC’s 2010 The New Inventors program.
“I don’t use the vest for training, but I do apply my knowledge in the field of sport and exercise science to give me an edge,” he said.
“Of course there is also a downside. I can overanalyse my training and become overly critical when sometimes I am just having a bad day.”
Dr Deakin’s progress in the race can be tracked on the Ironman World Championship website http://ironmanworldchampionship.com/.
Issued September 24, 2012
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