Hawaii no holiday before world titles

LIZZIE Gordon is going to be one tired Gunnedah triathlete next week.

She and a number of fellow Gunnedah triathletes have been busily preparing for the World Triathlon Championships in Auckland on Monday, October 22 with some testing sessions under Gunnedah coach John Hickey.

However, the 27-year-old Tamworth doctor’s preparations take an enormous turn to Hawaii this weekend when she competes in the World Iron Man Championships on Sunday.

“She’s been training over winter,” Hickey said.

“Pete (Loveridge) is going too but as her partner and coach. Then they fly back to Sydney and catch up with us all in Auckland. It’s going to be a big ask from her. She will be a little leg weary.”

The Hawaiian Iron Man is a 3.8km swim, 180km ride and 42.2km run.

The good thing for Gordon is “she’s done it before” Hickey said.

“Auckland is over the Olympic distance, 1.5km swim, 40km bike and 10km run eight days later .

Joining Gordon in Auckland is Kenny White, Sarah Hickey, Donna Hickey, Sandra Donnelly, Matt Fitzgerald and Laura Robinson.

It is a mixture of youth, experience and first timers,  Hickey said.

The Level 2 triathlon coach and his assistant coach Mick Ludlow have been training their group since May for the Auckland trip.

“It has been a hard slog over winter to reach this point but all are keen to get to Auckland and race now that the warmer weather has arrived,”  Hickey said.

His wife, Donna Hickey, won the world sprint title in 2009. The 54-year-old has won numerous Australian and NSW titles but will have tough opposition in Auckland with a former Commonwealth games representative in her group. Donna won her age group at Foster triathlon last weekend.

23-year-old Sarah Hickey makes it a mother/daughter combination for Auckland.

Sarah is competing for the second time after finishing 22nd in 2009 on the Gold Coast. The primary school teacher and will be out to impress her students by wearing the Australian uniform for the second time and finished fourth in her age group at Foster.

51-year-old Sandra Donnelly will be competing for Australia for the first time after several good performances last season earning her spot on the team. Sandra works for Whitehaven Coal and will have the support of her fellow mineworkers when she races. Sandra is happy with her fourth place at Foster after running the wrong way in transition after the swim.

46-year-old Tammy White is a partner in a law firm and struggles to find the time to do every training session but has had her most consistent winter training to have her ready for New Zealand. Tammy travelled all over Australia last season to qualify for the Australian uniform and also finished fourth in her age group at Foster.

25-year-old Matt Fitzgerald manages Anytime Fitness Gym in Gunnedah and made the switch to triathlon about four years ago after playing rugby league as a young man. Matt is rapidly improving each season and is slowly closing the gap to the best in his age group. Matt finished fourth at Forster also.

33-year-old Pete Loveridge is the most accomplished performer of the group and is self coached these days but uses some of the group training sessions to find some company. Peter has been a runner up at the world championships as an age grouper before turning professional. Winning the Port Macquarie half ironman as a professional is the high point of his career.

Elizabeth Gordon is coached by Peter Loveridge but frequently trains with the Gunnedah group. She will race in her age group in the Olympic distance at Auckland providing she recovers well enough from Hawaii and providing she is uninjured after completing the Ironman distance.

Another Gunnedah triathlete Lauren Robertson doesn’t train with Hickey’s group but is the defending World Champion after winning the Olympic distance in China last year.

New Zealand bound are these Gunnedah triathletes (from left) John Hickey, Mick Ludlow, Sarah Hickey, Lizzie Gordon, Matt Fitzgerald, Donna Hickey, Sandra Donnelly and Tammwy White. Photo: Paul Matthews

New Zealand bound are these Gunnedah triathletes (from left) John Hickey, Mick Ludlow, Sarah Hickey, Lizzie Gordon, Matt Fitzgerald, Donna Hickey, Sandra Donnelly and Tammwy White. Photo: Paul Matthews