When retiring and moving to Airlie Beach in 2016, Michael Kimpton had no idea that starting social running would lead to a new chapter that has taken him around the globe and to World Championship events.
Despite completing his first tri in the 1980s, Michael only truly started his journey in 2017 at the Hamilton Island Triathlon – a while between drinks! Moving to Airlie Beach from Melbourne, Michael was looking for a challenge to keep him fit, so decided social running. After feeling comfortable with the 5km run (at Parkrun), and already having a surf/swim background, the rookie thought he would purchase a bike and have a crack! After his first race, Michael was hooked and in that same season, competed in events along the East Coast from Townsville to Melbourne. The following season, he made his 70.3 debut in Geelong and after a successful campaign, qualified for the World Championships in Nice, France and completed the event. In 2022, Michael, at 68 years of age, had a year to remember! Not only did he race the Challenge Event at Roth in July (which is 3.8km swim, 180km cycle & 42.2km run), but also competed in two World Championships – Kona, Hawaii (full ironman distance) and in St George, Utah (70.3 distance). Triathlon has taken our retiree to many wonderful places over the past six years.
During his double World Championship year, Michael was raising money for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia. Having personal friends who have been impacted by the disease inspired the triathlete to setup the challenge as an opportunity to give back to those men struggling. Individuals supported his initiative by contributing a financial (and tax deductible) payment. The donations exceeded all expectations, with over $6000 raised. This project motivated Michael during the difficult races.
It is actually quite remarkable that Michael can even run – let alone race at the level he has achieved. 44 years ago, the young 24 year old was involved in a near fatal motorcycle accident. Left with a broken femur, kidney failure, nerve damage and missing half his calf muscle, Michael spent six months in hospital and underwent intense rehabilitation. After a long 18 months, he started to run and, although there are still some challenges, always crosses the line with a smile.
Michael is also a committee member of the Whitsunday Triathlon Club. He started as the Social Coordinator in 2019 but was elected President in 2022. The responsibility of the club President is to overview the management and administrative operation of the club and to provide leadership and support to its members. Michael is focused on giving new life to the sport in his region – including encouraging more juniors to climb the ranks. He has the passion, time and vision to make triathlons flourish in the Whitsundays.
Key lessons that have been identified while training and racing in our sport is to have patience, dedication, perseverance. It is also initially critical to have balanced time management – training for three sports at once is not easy! Also, keeping expectations reasonable will keep motivation high!
Michael’s next international races will be the Championship Challenge in Samorin, Slovakia and Challenge Wales in May and June respectively. Watch out world!