My husband Glen and I joined the Lakers after he decided to do his first (and supposedly only) Ironman in 2013. I had never heard of this sport before, and after learning about what it entailed, I really thought it was complete madness!
Whilst in Port Macquarie for said mad sport, we met Bernie and Ray Schliebs – two of the kindest people you could ever meet – and our Lakers journey began.
Glen had gone from training for his first Ironman completely solo, and now thanks to Bernie and Ray, had a great network of Lakers to learn from and train with, and this made a huge difference.
Over the next couple of years this ‘once off’ Ironman thing continued for Glen and I thought I might be able to join in on a triathlon. Not all that easy if you don’t even own a bike and didn’t learn to swim as a child, but I could run. Swimming was a huge issue for me, as it is for most ‘triathletes’, and after a couple of false starts and considerable embarrassment, I completed several tri’s and was on my way to training for Hawaii 70.3 in 2014. And, here we are in 2020, 5 x70.3’s later.
I would have to be one of the least competitive people I know. To me, it doesn’t matter if you win the race, it’s about enjoying it, finishing it and getting the bling at the end (and the bottle of Veuve) J If I commit to something I will absolutely get it done, but in my own time! (much to Glen’s annoyance).
Most importantly, I have made some wonderful friendships within the Lakers. From meeting Amelia whilst we were both having a panic attack in the water competing in a Gatti Challenge, to traveling to Tuscany last year with our fabulous Dom’s D Group riding Legends, to supporting the most amazing athlete Kevin Fergusson whilst he pulled and pushed his mate Sid around the Busso course in 2018, there wasn’t a dry eye in Busso that day! I get a lot of enjoyment out of supporting, and most often there are always quite a few Lakers at events to make a great cheer squad. There is nothing better than watching people reach their goals and helping them get to that finish line!
In February this year Amelia, Emma and I went to Geelong to surprise fellow D group legend Shannon as she competed in her first 70.3. It was a wonderful weekend filled with anticipation, support, nerves and Lakers camaraderie. We cheered, ran, screamed and cried as Shannon ran down that finishing chute – and her support crew weren’t the only ones – it was an awesome moment. We had so many comments that day from other Lakers about what amazing, supportive friends we were. I think that’s what being part of the Lakers community is all about. Whether you are elite at the sport, or if your dream is to just cross that finish line, or if you want to meet people and make some wonderful new friends, or just go for a social leisurely ride on a Saturday morning, anyone at any age can join in J
And, of course there is always the odd glass of bubbly or two to enjoy!
Cheers Wendy Keast