For Daniel Nash all roads lead to a place where the arresting natural beauty of the surrounds is secondary to the torture that hopefully awaits him across its fabled landscape.
Finishing would be an accomplishment for most people lining up in the half marathon alongside the 24-year-old triathlete at the Tamworth Running Festival on Sunday.
But for Nash, the 21 kilometre race is a training exercise as part of his goal to qualify for the 2018 World Ironman Championship on Kona, Hawaii.
He has pursued the goal with a sharp focus the past two years, narrowly failing to realise it when he came third in his age group (18-24) at Ironman Western Australia in Busselton last year.
Sunday’s race is part of his preparation for this year’s Ironman Western Australia on December 3, as was last Saturday’s Tamworth Cycle Club-hosted John Dewhurst Memorial Handicap Road Race, a 60km event he won.
He won a Tamworth Triathlon Club duathlon the following morning and climbed a mountain that afternoon.
Again, all part of his training for Busselton and the chance to compete in triathlon’s most iconic race – 3.8km, 180km and 42km event typically made tougher by searing heat and punishing head and crosswinds.
Nash said the effort required to qualify for Kona “kind of takes priority in life”.
“My major goal last year was to win my age group [at Busselton] and I got third,” he said. “I just missed out [on qualifying for Kona]. So that’s my goal this year.”
“As soon as I heard about Hawaii, I thought it would be something pretty cool to do,” he added.
Winning Ironman Western Australia would assure him of a spot at Hawaii.
Form wise, he’s “not sure where he’s at” but his training has been consistent and he feels good.
If he fails to qualify for the world championship, to be held in October next year, the professional tennis coach may take a break from ironman.
“Ironman racing does take a fair toll on the body and I’ll probably need a rest from it for a while and go back to shorter, faster racing,” he said.
Nash finished fourth in the half marathon last year.