FOUR Wagga ironmen safely crossed the finish line in Hawaii at one of the hottest world championships on record.
Early in the day Jared Kahlefeldt checked the temperature gauge on his bike; it was 40.5 degrees Celsius and rising.
“I refused to check it after that, there were a lot of people in a bad way,” Kahlefeldt said.
It was a cold winter in Wagga, and nothing could prepare Kahlefeldt, Ryan Miller, Marcus Smith and Angas Swann for the heat.
“I’ve got a sauna at the gym, and we’ve all been jumping in multiple times a week for heat acclimatisation,” Kahlefeldt said.
More than 2000 athletes battled the conditions, all starting at the same time, scrambling to get ahead in the swim.
“It can be pretty overwhelming with lots of people swimming, kicking and thrashing around, Ryan Miller’s got a black eye,” Kahlefeldt said.
Miller, Kahlefeldt and Smith were neck and neck until the run; an incredible experience.
“To get off at the exact same moment was pretty cool,” Kahlefeldt said.
Miller forged ahead in the running leg for a blockbuster finish, in nine hours, 34 minutes and 25 seconds, 20th in his age category.
Smith finished next in 10 hours, 11 minutes and 49 seconds, just 30 seconds ahead of Kahlefeldt and Swann finished around the 11 hour mark.
Many friends and family members ask Kahlefeldt why he put himself through it.
He says that the physical and mental challenge is a character building experience, and nothing beats the feeling of crossing the finish line.
The sheer magnitude of the crowd at the finish line was sensational.
“The last two kilometres of the race is just madness, over there there’s that many people cheering and supporting you,” Kahlefeldt said.
Now that Kahlefeldt has ticked that gruelling race off the bucket list, it’s time to rest.
“I’m taking a couple of weeks off to stop and reassess,” he said.
The keen triathlete may not be as active this series considering he has a young baby at home, but hopes to make an appearance at a few events.
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