Today Hayden Armstrong joins us on The Kona Edge to chat about his Ironman story.
Surviving a serious car accident he shares with us his goal of completing 5 consecutive Kona races. He tells what strategies he put in place to make this possible for him.
Swim faster without spending more time in the water
Discover the 4 most common swim killers and how to fix them so that you can shave minutes off your swim time.
BRAD BROWN: It’s off to Tasmania we go now in Australia to catch up with our next guest, Hayden Armstrong. Hayden welcome onto The Kona Edge. Thanks for joining us.
HAYDEN ARMSTRONG: Thank you and thanks for having me.
BRAD BROWN: Hayden we’ve had quite a few Aussies on the podcast but we’ve never had anybody from the state of Tasmania and for those of us who are geographically challenged, it’s a little island just off the coast of Australia. It’s quite far south. Tell us a little bit about life on the island. It’s a beautiful place. I’ve never been but I’ve seen some pictures and it’s not difficult to look at.
A lifestyle choice
HAYDEN ARMSTRONG: No, Tasmania is a beautiful place and it’s definitely a lifestyle choice and the conditions down here during winter are challenging but in summer it’s an amazing place to train. We’ve produced some amazing cyclists during our little stint here in Tasmania and obviously we’ve got great roads to ride on, great swimming and some running trails to die for, so it’s a beautiful triathletes paradise in summer. Winter is challenging but a wonderful lifestyle choice.
BRAD BROWN: I love that you use the word challenging during winter. Because let’s be honest, challenging is probably a nice way to describe it. It’s rubbish in winter.
HAYDEN ARMSTRONG: Rubbish would be the choice. I was to go for a ride today but given it was minus 1 outside and windy and a bit sleazy, it was time to sit on the rollers.
BRAD BROWN: I love that. Triathlon in Australia is pretty big. Tasmania is a small place from a population perspective. It’s not the triathlon mecca of the big island for example in Hawaii, is it?
Hometown produces quality triathletes
HAYDEN ARMSTRONG: No, it’s not a triathlon mecca as the big island. We probably normally have between 1 and 2 that might venture over to Hawaii, but certainly there’s a long distance scene down here. There’s a number of participants who did the Ultraman this year, there are 6 or 7 from Tassie. So, we’re well represented but in terms of numbers it’s very small but we try and punch above our weight in numbers.
Some of the quality of athletes that have actually come out of Tassie are pretty good. You’ve got Joe Gambles, he’s a Tassie boy. And Todd Skipworth that calls Tasmania home and then you had James Hodge who unfortunately had a couple of injuries but was a fantastic 70.3 athlete as well. So, we’ve done alright.
BRAD BROWN: Yes, and you talk about punching above your weight. There’s something about Tasmania and it’s not just in triathlon if you look at some of the overall sports people that Tasmania has produced. I think of the likes of Griek, the likes of David Boon from down there. He’s a pretty gritty character. I think Ricky Ponting is also from Tasmania if I recall correctly and they build you tough down there, don’t they?
Building tough triathletes
HAYDEN ARMSTRONG: They try to. I don’t know whether we’re that type in winter but mentally I think we’re pretty tough. And it is a competitive little environment down here where we live in our own sort of town, but when you go out to play on the big stage, you’re competitive and this does assist you.
BRAD BROWN: Has Tasmania always been home for you or have you shunted across to Tassie as a lifestyle choice?
HAYDEN ARMSTRONG: No I’m a Tasmanian through and through. I’ve been very fortunate to do a lot of travel but it’s a great place to raise a family. And it is definitely a lifestyle choice.
BRAD BROWN: Let’s talk about your sporting background. Most Aussies were active growing up and I take it, it was no different for you.
HAYDEN ARMSTRONG: I was an active Aussie. Normal kid, played soccer as a kid and then cricket and football. And then I had to choose between those and then sort of graduated to skiing and surfing when I grew up. And I had a bit of a running background as well but nothing that I really honed in and specialised on. I was a normal everyday Tassie kid that enjoyed mucking around outdoors and playing footie with his mates.
Car accident inspires Ironman aspirations
BRAD BROWN: When did you get exposed to triathlon as a sport?
HAYDEN ARMSTRONG: I reckon I got exposed to triathlon around 7 or 8 years ago. I was involved in a serious car accident and it sort of made me change my focus on things. A friend of mine gave me a triathlon magazine and said have a read through this. I read about it and I read about the Ironman Port Macquarie and I thought I wouldn’t mind doing that one day. So I asked a few folk what it was all about and the rest is history.
BRAD BROWN: That is awesome. Tell me about the car accident and the change of thinking. That sounds quite interesting.
HAYDEN ARMSTRONG: I was involved in a serious accident and I was lucky to be alive. I’ve come out of it pretty lightly which is great. I’ve always had a problem with a way to deal with the stress of it and the coping mechanism. My father was also diagnosed with cancer in the same space of 2 weeks. That was a pretty challenging time and I thought that I needed something to take my mind off it.
Jumping into triathlon on a quick rope
I had just sort of started riding bikes and playing for about 2 or 3 months. Then I thought what better way to relieve the stress and anxiety and make a change and go do some training, try and get some good miles in and just enjoy doing it. That’s what I did and my first triathlon that I did was half Ironman. I jumped into the deep end on a quick rope.
BRAD BROWN: Go big or go home.
HAYDEN ARMSTRONG: That’s exactly right and I found out what it was all about.
BRAD BROWN: Hayden how long was it from you reading that magazine to your first full Ironman at Port Macquarie?
HAYDEN ARMSTRONG: It was 12 months.
BRAD BROWN: Ok, so a year’s turnaround. Would you advise that if you had to go back and start over again, do you think that’s enough to get you ready for your first Ironman?
Ironman pursuits lead to rewarding pain
HAYDEN ARMSTRONG: Look, knowing what I do know now, probably not. I’d start on the small ones and work my way up but certainly from my perspective, I was really raw and had no idea what I was getting myself into, and I thought it couldn’t be that bad surely.
I found out how painful it can be but also at the same time how rewarding it was. It really opened me up to what I should be doing and how I should address it and that’s probably where my fortune was in learning the ropes of triathlon I suppose.
BRAD BROWN: How did you go in that first one?
HAYDEN ARMSTRONG: I did alright. I think my first Ironman I did just under 10 hours. I was happy with that. I think I did 9:50 or something like that. I’d actually missed out on Hawaii by a spot and really gave no consideration or thought to it whatsoever.
No expectations end in victory on first Ironman
It wasn’t really on my radar until I got talking to someone over there who was a coach and I didn’t know he was a coach. He was a very low key sort of guy and I’m still with him today, and he really harnessed my potential and made me to commit to something that I thought I couldn’t do. Because really to be honest, I didn’t know much about Kona so I wasn’t really attuned to it. But certainly from my next Ironman event which was New Zealand, there was a focus there to think that we could do it.
BRAD BROWN: I find that incredible. You’re pretty blaze about it but to dip under 10 for your first time out and like you say, not really knowing what you’re doing, that’s phenomenal.
HAYDEN ARMSTRONG: Yes, I was pretty happy with it but at the same time I had really no expectation and I think that that’s really my key to having a good race, is don’t expect anything. It is what it is and you’ve just got to roll with it. And I’ve always had that sort of mindset and just being relaxed going into it.
The key to a good race
Obviously the quicker you get the more pressure you put on yourself and there’s areas where you can think back at a race and say “I could have done this better, I could have done that better”. You just learn from them gradually over time. It probably took a process of another 12 months to really dial a few things in and learn another lot from the New Zealand race where I qualified, and it was a fantastic achievement to get there.
BRAD BROWN: I love that way of thinking that it is what it is. You can’t control the uncontrollables. If the weather is poor on the day, everyone has got the same conditions. You need to just take care of what you can take care of and if that’s good enough then that’s good enough. If it’s not, then so be it.
HAYDEN ARMSTRONG: Yes and I think, that was instilled in me. My coaches, Graham Jarvis from Aeromax, he did a lot of work with me around mental toughness and mental strength as well. I’d always have a moan about what happened, it was windy or something. And he said it is how it is and everyone is in the same boat and you’ve just got to rise to the occasion and basically, as one famous triathlete said, embrace the suck.
What separates good athletes from great athletes
BRAD BROWN: Put on your big girl pants as they say where I’m from, and just deal with it. And it’s interesting, you talk about mental toughness, it’s almost the athletes at the highest level. From an ability point of view I don’t think there’s too much difference.
They can all run a fast marathon; they can all do a fast bike. They’re all great swimmers but at the end of the day what separate good athletes from great athletes is the how. And as you say embrace the suck and how they can just hang in there when they are hurting. Because everyone goes through patches like that and it’s how you react to those patches that really make a difference.
HAYDEN ARMSTRONG: Yes, I think it’s 100%. You have to stay calm and you have to stay focused. Everyone is going to have a bad patch but you’ve just got to take it on board and roll with it. It will subside at some point. If you tell your mind you’re hurting, your body will just go with the flow and you will call it a day.
Apply yourself in a different way when the hurt sets in
You see so many people that don’t leave it out there. They will go and nail themselves and all of a sudden the pain kicks in and they think I can’t do it. Well you know, you can. You’ve just got to apply yourself in a different way.
BRAD BROWN: Have you got strategies during training or racing that you employ that help you get through those patches because as you say they don’t last forever. The good news is the bad patches don’t last forever. But the bad news is the good patches don’t last forever either.
HAYDEN ARMSTRONG: No, no they don’t. Look, I had a really simple approach to it and I do a bit of visualisation I suppose. I see there’s a gap opening up and you stay calm and you stay focused and you don’t try and immediately shut it down, you just gradually bring it back.
Mentally practice your visualisation
If someone is going to put on a surge of pace on the bike, yes you’ve got to roll with it but at the same time they’re not going to keep that pace for the whole entire time. It’s going to come back or it’s going to come down at some point.
So just visualise yourself pulling that gap in and making sure you’re staying calm and focused during that time. You can visualise yourself being back in the lead or being back in the mix. It’s worked but it took a long time to get to that and I think my last 3 odd Ironmans are probably the better ones and I was able to really harness that.
It sounds a bit blaze and it sounds a bit tricky but it actually seriously has worked.
BRAD BROWN: And it comes with experience. The more you practice it, the more you put yourself in those situations, the better you get.
Let’s talk about that Ironman New Zealand where you qualified. What did you do differently? You mentioned obviously getting a serious coach. But what did you do differently in the build up to New Zealand that you did to Ironman Port Macquarie, in the build up to your first one?
Trying different things to improve your Ironman performance
HAYDEN ARMSTRONG: I think the big difference was structure. In that one I really was flying by the seat of my pants. My first ever Ironman, I really had no idea what to expect. I didn’t really race with nutrition very well, I was pretty raw on the bike and the run I didn’t know how to use a heart rate monitor. I had nothing really; it was all just by feel. Most of my racing is by feel still.
I got myself a coach, I looked at nutrition and there was some structure that was put in for a program and that really helped. There was that bit of focus and we just focused on that race and that race alone. There was no real expectation that I would qualify but if I did, it happened. And I think that was the greatest thing.
There are a lot of people going to an Ironman race wanting to qualify for Kona. Don’t think about it. It’s going to be some people’s downfall.
BRAD BROWN: Let’s talk about what it does take. What do you think, in your opinion, is the secret to qualifying for the World Champs?
Surround yourself with the right people and get a coach
HAYDEN ARMSTRONG: I think you’ve got to surround yourself with good people and first of all I think you should get yourself a coach. Don’t just rely on the internet for programs.
I think you should talk to someone about what your goals are. Look at what your strengths and your weaknesses are. Someone who will actually look at concentrating on those strengths and weaknesses.
Have structure and also make sure that you’re getting the appropriate recovery and rest, and also making sure that your nutrition is right. And don’t take stuff too seriously. That’s just me.
Too many people talk it up and put it out there. Just get out there and do it.
Trust and believe in yourself and your own ability
BRAD BROWN: I love that, because that is such a big triathlon thing isn’t it? You see it time and time again at races. You arrive and someone pulls in there with the best gear. They’ve got these wheels on the bike that pros would look at that and shudder. Then you see them out on the course and you think to yourself, what are you doing?
HAYDEN ARMSTRONG: I’m a victim of that. I looked at that when I first started my triathlons and I saw all these people with all this gear and thought geez, what am I doing here? Am I actually worthy of being here?
You’ve got to believe in yourself and you have to trust and believe in your own ability that someone is going to back you. And if you think you can do it just go out there and do it. Don’t worry about anyone else or how anyone else is training or what they’re saying about burn the house down on the bike or run away with it.
Focus on yourself for a better Ironman performance
Just focus on yourself and you will have a much better race.
BRAD BROWN: That’s so true because if you do start focusing on what everyone else is doing, you don’t know what their build up has been like, you don’t know what their training load has been like. You need to, again, control what you can control and if someone is better on the day, then so be it.
HAYDEN ARMSTRONG: Yes, absolutely. You know, my Ironman race has progressively got better and better because of consistency over those 3 disciplines.
Yes, you’ve got to have an X-factor in some type of discipline whether it be the swim, bike or run and for me the bike was my X-factor where I could actually get away and get up the road and put a bit of hurt in your feet but that comes with time.
Consistency is the best thing to improve Ironman performance
Just be consistent and don’t worry about the person next to you.
BRAD BROWN: That is the number one thing that I’ve picked up. I’ve done probably over a hundred of these sort of interviews, and consistency is the number one thing that I pick up from every single one of the age groupers that I chat to. And it’s not necessarily consistency in the build up to one Ironman, but it’s consistency over time.
And like you say it’s a 2, 3, 4 year process. Sometimes even longer and you’ve just got to see it out.
HAYDEN ARMSTRONG: Yes absolutely and you’ve got to learn by your mistakes. Sometimes you’ll make an error in training or you’ll make an error during a race and you have to put that in the memory bank for the next race and say if I’m there again, I won’t do it.
BRAD BROWN: Let’s talk about some of those mistakes. What are some of the big mistakes you’ve made in your career and what have you learnt from it and how have you fixed it?
A lesson in every Ironman mistake
HAYDEN ARMSTRONG: I think some of the bigger mistakes that I’ve made is going too hard too early and thinking that I’m right. Or you’re getting on the bike and you’re feeling comfortable and you skip a bit of nutrition and then 2 hours later that is really going to catch up with you and it’s going to bite you hard on the run.
Those are the sort of things that I’ve really learnt. That’s the biking side. Swimming, don’t get psyched up during a mass start. It is what it is. If you’re going to have a few punches thrown and goggles ripped off, just stay calm and within 500m everything will sort itself out. Don’t get flustered by it and don’t miss a pack on the swim. Make sure you stay on someone’s feet and you keep pushing and driving as hard as you can so you can get yourself a good position for the ride.
Don’t allow your race to slide backwards
From riding, if there’s a bunch that goes you’ve got to go with them. Don’t let them continuously keep dropping back and dropping back. Your race will just slide backwards.
And then for running just hitting that number, just being consistent. Getting into the run comfortably. Making sure that when you’re running, give yourself 15, 20 minutes to settle in and then go to work trying to get that number that you want to hit.
And making sure that you hydrate and you have the right nutrition. They are all things that I’ve learnt throughout racing and how to cope with the pressure.
BRAD BROWN: What are you most proud of in your Ironman triathlon career to date?
Apply yourself and achieve your goal
HAYDEN ARMSTRONG: Look, each race has a different achievement but I suppose probably the most proudest thing I have is I set myself a goal to race 5 Kona’s in a row. That’s what I wanted to do and I just applied myself to have that goal. The first one that I ticked off I thought that’s a fluke.
The second one I thought no, I can do it. The third one you’ve just got to believe in yourself and you just want to get better and better. And my fifth one my goal was to go under 9 hours and I achieved that and that’s always going to be really special to me because it is a hard place to get under 9 hours.
Some people say it was a quick day but I beg to differ. I think it’s all about what’s in your ticker and what drives you to get there. In 2013 I went under 9 hours. Had a break from the sport for a couple of years in terms of Ironman and went to 70.3.
Breaking a course record after a break from Ironman racing
Learnt a lot about racing 70.3 and then came out and broke the course record last year in New Zealand, I think I was 8:47 or something for my age group and another Kona qualification. So those were really good months.
BRAD BROWN: You talk about getting to Kona once and feeling perhaps that was a fluke and a lot of people will say this. Getting to Kona once is not necessarily the easy bit, but it’s going back. You almost doubt yourself because once you get to the island; you look around and think to yourself gee, how the hell did I end up here?
To go back a second time is pretty tough and that’s where you talk about the belief and just knowing that I belong here. I’ve done the work, I’m good enough and this is where I should be.
Everyone at Kona is as strong as you
HAYDEN ARMSTRONG: Yes and I think the first race is all about learning and going out there and just enjoying being part of the spectacle as it is. And have no expectations and learn from it because I tell you what, Kona is just a whole level above the next triathlon.
The biggest things that I learnt about that over there was that you can’t get away. You can’t get up the road because everyone is just as strong as you. You’re racing people from around the world that has come first, second or third on the podium and they’re just as strong as you are, and that really comes down to that mental toughness.
Be one with your iron and finish your race
If you can enjoy the race and just be, I know it sounds a bit funny, but be one with your iron and just make sure that you embrace what that iron throws up, you’ll have a much better race by doing it.
I’ve done it six times now, but the third and the fourth and the fifth time it was pretty well game on to go out there and give it the best. And you know that you belong there and you know that you’ve done it a couple of times before. You’re used to the course, you know what conditions are going to throw up and it just becomes more and more comfortable. But still that feeling of coming down Alii Drive and finishing and being part of what that race is, is something very special.
BRAD BROWN: What makes it so special?
The world’s best at Kona
HAYDEN ARMSTRONG: I think it’s just the island itself, the course that it throws up. It’s the build up to the race; it’s the people that are there. There’s all shapes and sizes and there’s all walks of life that come to the island to watch the spectacle of what is Ironman. And basically it’s the world’s best at that time on the stage and it’s a fantastic one day race.
The conditions can be so challenging and so tough but it’s something that you embrace and enjoy. It does go by so quickly. You can be over there for 10 days and it goes like a flash. The other thing that I really enjoy is taking my family over and we love just hanging out together on the beach and going snorkelling or something. It’s a really relaxing way to go into a race.
BRAD BROWN: You talk about people taking themselves way too seriously. The way I’ve approached races, let’s be honest training for an Ironman is tough, it’s probably even tougher than doing the race. The amount of work that goes in and the race itself is a celebration for all the work you’ve put in. That’s the way I approach it and by the sounds of it, even though you are racing hard in a race like Kona, you do see it that way.
Kona is the celebration of all your hard work
It’s an opportunity to give something back to yourself but also to your loved ones for the sacrifices that everyone has put in for the build up to it.
HAYDEN ARMSTRONG: Oh absolutely. And we’re all racing for different reasons and I think it’s most important to have a reality check. You’re only racing yourself.
No doubt there’s some ego’s out there that are just Kona junkies and that’s all they ever think about, but life is a lot bigger than that. But in the moment, in that time it’s a fantastic day to be part of it. But then you’ve got the chance to, once you’re finished, to reflect on how you went, enjoy your time with your family and take a reality check on life I suppose.
BRAD BROWN: Let’s talk about life outside of triathlon. You are self-employed; you’ve got your own business. You’ve mentioned you’ve got a family, you’re married, and you’ve got a little one. Tell me a little bit about how you get the juggle right.
Obviously Tasmania doesn’t have the traffic like you would have in a big city so you probably don’t spend as much time commuting but you still need to pay bills and keep things going. How do you get that balance right?
Many people bring it together to make sure you cross that finish line
HAYDEN ARMSTRONG: That’s a very difficult question I think. There are a lot of sacrifices that are made. I think I’ve got an amazing wife that supports me in my endeavours. My daughter enjoys me going out and participating in races because she has the opportunity to travel and see new things.
You’ve got to surround yourself with support and great people and make sure that you communicate to them what you’re doing and that you’re going out to do something. And if you’re going to be 5 hours out there, you will be 5 hours out there. No more, no less, get back in and start again. Get back into work.
The same on a long ride on a weekend. If you go out the Sunday or a Saturday for a long ride or run, as soon as you come back you spend some good quality family time and sometimes you’ve got to put the work in at night. It’s just finding that balance.
But certainly a supportive environment and having people understand what your goals are and helping you achieve that. I know it’s an individual sport but at the same time there are so many people that bring it together to make sure that you cross that finish line.
Chasing a winning slot after an accident
BRAD BROWN: Let’s talk goals. You’ve had some great successes over your Ironman career. What is still left for you to achieve? What are you chasing, what do you still want to do?
HAYDEN ARMSTRONG: I’ve probably got some unfinished business in 70.3. I’ll really like to get a win in the World Championships in the 70.3 format. Whether I do or I don’t, that’s up to me. I’ve had some setbacks.
Last year I fractured my hip in a bike accident and just had to come back and do it up from there so Kona wasn’t really a fantastic race for me but certainly I was just stoked to be there and participate in it and I was lucky enough to race.
Not bad in the ride race but there was a lot of pain in the hip so I’ve just tried to get that right and recover. And I’ll do some more 70.3’s next year and we’ll just see where that takes me.
Kona and long distance racing will always be there
But Kona is always there and I think I’ve still got one left in me but whether that happens in the next couple of years is another thing. The stars have to align with your work and family commitments. Long distance racing will always be there.
I would love to go and do another 70.3 Worlds and try and get a really good result out of that. In doing that I would have to focus pretty hard on the running to make sure that I can get off the bike in a good condition and I think that’s been my downfall in 70.3’s is the running off the bike.
I can still run a 1:10 or a 1:20 but fortunately it’s not getting any slower. And the body’s ageing so it’s a bit of a challenge to get those times down. I’ve broken 4 hours in a 70.3 but whether I can get there again, I’ve just got to work really hard to get there.
BRAD BROWN: You talk about as you’re getting older, you’re getting slower. That’s a challenge for a lot of triathletes. Is it something that really bugs you or again, it is what it is?
Don’t let age get in your way of achieving
HAYDEN ARMSTRONG: Oh look, everyone is going to age. I think you’ve just got to approach things differently. You’ve got to approach you training differently; you’ve got to approach your recovery differently. You are not going to back up the next day or the day after by having two or three sessions in a row. You just have to understand that your body is changing and I think it’s important just to recognise that. As frustrating as it sometimes can be.
think from my perspective I’ve had a super run. I’ve been injury free, I’ve looked after myself and I’ve had great support and if I can continue to just race and enjoy it I think the results will just happen naturally. It is what it is. I’ve always gone out with a race and people may not believe me, but I’ve always just wanted to finish. But how high up the pecking order you finish depends on how you apply yourself on the day.
BRAD BROWN: We’ve got quite an interesting blend of people who listen to this podcast. There are obviously a lot of age groupers who are gunning for Kona. But we’ve also got a lot of novices and people just starting out in the sport. What advice would you give to someone who is considering their first Ironman? What would you tell them?
Talk to the professionals in your Ironman pursuits
HAYDEN ARMSTRONG: I think if you’re considering your first Ironman, get some help. If you really want to go and do one, go and get a coach and talk to people who are professionals in that area. Don’t do any internet trolling yourself.
Get the right advice, get a good nutrition plan going and get some structure in your training. And have no expectations on your first race. Just go out there and learn the ropes as such as you can.
Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing and just focus on your day. And making sure that what you’ve put into practice during training, you put into race day and don’t do anything different. Just be structured and measured about it.
BRAD BROWN: And go out and enjoy it. It’s a cool day out. Your first one is always special.
The real warriors of Ironman
HAYDEN ARMSTRONG: Yes, it’s a cool day and it does go really quick. Even though some people might be out there all in all 15 hours, they are true warriors. I said to my wife once, the day someone gives me a glow stick and a rain protector, I’m out. Those are the people who actually have true determination and true grit and they’ll just get better and better as they go.
BRAD BROWN: Some of us are out there longer than others and I’m in the first half. I don’t fit into the sub 10 on debut I’m afraid.
HAYDEN ARMSTRONG: The great thing about the sport is that everyone is different. Everyone has different aspirations and goals and I don’t think that you can dismiss the people that are out there for the odd 16 or 15 hours, or even 12 or 13 hours.
They do an amazing job and they stay true to themselves and they’re just tougher. Everyone I suppose sometimes wants to go fast and wants to go under 9 hours or wants to go under 10 hours. Remember that you are you and if you give it 100% that’s all you can do.
Give 100% of yourself and that’s good enough
BRAD BROWN: Yes, I did an Ironman a few years ago with my dad who had just turned 67 and did his first one. And we were out there for just under 17 hours. I think he did a 16:47 and that was a long day. I’ve got new found respect for anybody who finishes between 16 and 17. That is one hell of a long day and you know what? They get the same medal as the guy who wins and they’re an Ironman. And I think that’s what I love about the sport.
HAYDEN ARMSTRONG: And you’ve got [inaudible] so that’s the greatest thing. We’ve always tried to, in Hawaii once the race is over and it’s finished, we go back to the finish line at midnight and go and watch those people come over. It’s amazing when people between the age of 70 and 80 years, they’re out there doing it. They’re 40 years older than what you are. Just give back and give them a cheer and give them a pat on the back as they come through because they are tough.
BRAD BROWN: That’s my Kona strategy, is to outlive everyone in my age group.
Winning your first championship at 80
HAYDEN ARMSTRONG: Oh yes, that’s a really wise choice. I think there’s a bloke that we know that did that pretty well. I think he won his first championship at 80 odd and I think he said to the crowd he was hoping that everyone had died off and he would be able to come through with the goods, which he did.
BRAD BROWN: My problem is that with everyone’s ability at 80 year old at the moment I must live till about 105 to qualify.
HAYDEN ARMSTRONG: The other thing about the 80 year olds is, it’s funny. There’s a space of about 200m in distance for 7 or 8 hours. They’re looking at each other all day. Isn’t that amazing if you can come in within 2 or 3 minutes of one another but you’ve been out there for 16 hours and you can see their back but you just can’t get past them.
BRAD BROWN: It’s an incredible sport. Hayden thanks for your time today on The Kona Edge. I look forward to chatting about the individual disciplines the next time we chat but we’ll save that for another day. Thanks for your time today.
HAYDEN ARMSTRONG: It’s all good. Cheers.
Brad Brown is a 40 something age grouper that dreams of one day qualifying for and racing on the big island (He may have to outlive everyone in his age group though).
Morbidly obese in 2009, Brad clocked in at 165kgs (363lbs) at his heaviest.
He's subsequently lost a third of his body weight on the way to a half Ironman pb of 5:06 and a full Ironman pb of 12:21.
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