By Margaret Maccoll
After training 23 hours a week, getting the strategy right and enlisting a dedicated support team, it all came together for Noosa Heads Ultraman winner Richard Thompson.
The Sunshine Coast ironman coach and former lawyer not only claimed the title during his first Ultraman, he also smashed the world record.
“To have these three perfect days was amazing,” he said.
The gruelling 515km race finished on Monday 15 May with an 84km double marathon, the last event of a three-day competition which began Saturday with a 10km swim and 145km bike ride followed on Sunday by a 280km bike ride.
Despite having an injured knee, Richard blitzed the field of about 50 invitation-only competitors and vowed to “absolutely do it again”.
Noosa entrants self-confessed bike tragic Keith Maricich, 39, came in seventh place and manager Andrew Hartnett, 44, finished in 15th, while the first woman to finish was Mary Knott, 40, who came 12th.
Race director Tony Horton said the race, now in its third year in Noosa, attracted athletes across the globe who sought to explore extreme physical and mental abilities.
The Ultraman event, which originated in Hawaii 34 years ago, focuses on the principles of Hawaiian culture – aloha (love), ohana (family) and kokua (help) and retains them.
Tony said the event aimed to immerse itself in the community and to keep numbers low to maintain a personal and family environment. Everyone competing had a reason for doing so, he said, and each story was shared during an award ceremony on 16 May.