Little did Darren realise that a casual New Years resolution amongst mates would lead to representing Australia at multiple World Championships.
Leading into 2018, Darren and his friends decided to set the challenge of running a marathon that year. After his successful 42.2km run, the group decided the next logical step was to complete a triathlon. Within three years of his goal, Darren competed for Australia in World Championships.
Having previously laughed at the thought of racing a triathlon, Darren knew he needed expert help if he was going to cross the finish line in one piece. Reaching out to RacePace Coaching on the Sunshine Coast, coach Pete Mckenzie did not blink an eye when Darren revealed he could not swim 50m but entered the Sunshine Coast Ironman 70.3. After a tailored program, Darren has been injury-free and achieved goals beyond what he thought possible.
After the Townsville Multisport World Championships were postponed to 2024, Pete suggested aiming for a qualification. Despite feeling this was unattainable, Darren listened to his coach (as a good triathlete always does!) and attended the qualification races for 2022 World Championships held around Australia. Restrictions from COVID-19 made this task challenging, but where there is a will, there is a way! The hard work paid off and Darren was on his way to Samorin (Slovakia) and Zofingen (Switzerland) to compete at the Long Distance Championships and Long Distance Duathlon Championships respectively.
At the opening ceremony in Samorin while hearing the drums play and wearing the green and gold, Darren became quite emotional – he was representing Australia! Being his first international race, there were some challenges and learnings that were applied later in the year at the 70.3 and full distance Ironman World Championships.
Travelling for races does not come without some unexpected problems. While training in St George (America) prior to the 70.3 Ironman World Championships, Darren had a flat tyre and his canister and phone failed. Another cyclist stopped to help but his canister also failed so he carried his bike to a house and the owner called and paid for a taxi to get him home. The following day, while on a run, our unlucky triathlete stood on a thorn and punctured the air pod in his shoe. But, as the underlining theme in Darren’s triathlon journey goes, where there is a will, there is a way!
A constant struggle for triathletes is balancing all the constant demands of life around training. Darren’s wife is truly a rock and supports her husband when travelling by volunteering at his events. At the Ironman World Championships in Kona, she continued to volunteer for hours after her shift so she could personally award Darren his medal.
At the end of April 2023, Darren will be competing at Ibiza (Spain) in the Multisport World Championships. Having never been to this location, there are so many unknowns – but that is part of the fun, right?! He is looking forward to sporting the green and gold and losing his voice during the Parade of Nations shouting the iconic ‘Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oy Oy Oy’ chant.
Good luck Darren!
Update: Darren had a great performance at Ibiza (Spain) in the Multisport World Championships finishing 23rd in a time of 7hrs42min11sec in the 50-55 Male Age Group! A big congratulations Darren!!!