By Joseph Price
Coolum Beach endurance athlete Damon Faint will be the only Sunshine Coast representative in his first Ultraman Australia event this weekend.
Faint has only recently considered endurance events of this distance, which consists of a 10km swim, a 421km bike ride and an 84km run over three days.
He has already competed in two Ironman triathlons, three 50km trail runs and an endurance day ride.
“I have started to think about unachievable goals, and then work out how to achieve them,” he said.
Faint has managed 20-30 hours of long-distance training with limited recovery each week while balancing full-time work.
“I don’t live and breathe triathlon, but I enjoy aspects of the training and meeting many people along the way,” he said.
“Once this is over I’ll see what the next adventure may be.”
The 2019 Ultraman Australia will involve 50 competitors from 15 different countries, with the three-day 515km triathlon starting and finishing at the iconic Noosa Heads beach.
The gruelling race is set to test the physical and mental endurance of all athletes involved as they race to be crowned Ultraman champions of Australia.
Aside from offering a difficult challenge for endurance athletes, Noosa provides a perfect location for competitors and crews to enjoy the event which is gaining exposure.
Ultraman Australia event co-ordinator Dayle Jordan said the event attracts roughly 300 people, with some athletes even purchasing units in the area.
“The other thing we are doing is showcasing the region, the facilities and its infrastructure through our social media campaign,” she said.
“Our Facebook following has grown to 11,500 people over the five years we have been doing this event, and our individual posts during race week reach hundreds of thousands of people.”
Ms Jordan said that the athletes usually put in eight months of training, with only 14 of the 50 athletes this year having previously competed in an Ultraman event.
With many racing the difficult course for the first time, Kellie Ridges and David Carroll will be shaping up for their fifth time searching for their maiden championship, having raced in every Ultraman Australia event since 2015.
Ms Jordan said it has been very special to have the community’s continued supporting over the years.
“When we first came to Noosa and started talking to people about a three-day 515km triathlon, you had to sort of repeat yourself a few times before it sunk in,” she said.
“Our focus is always on the athletes, the sponsors and the region, and we find that if we do this the whole event falls together beautifully.”
Ultraman Australia has increased from its 37 competitors in its first year with Ms Jordan attributing this to the beautiful holiday destination that Noosa provides for athletes and their families.
The race starts this Saturday in front of the Noosa Heads Surf Life Saving Club and will take athletes across the Sunshine Coast as they push themselves to their limits.
Main image: Ultraman attracts endurance competitors from all over the world. Photo: ultramanoz.com.au/Eyes Wide Open Images