Member Profile – Karen McPherson

First Ironman, bucket list for turning 60, and no idea what to expect, but a young experienced couple in our tri club, (our pros!), were always there to give advice and encouragement. Winter in the Red Centre is short and great to train in, however, summer weather can be debilitating with temps in high 30’s and 40’s for many of our long rides which took us 90 kms south to Jim’s Place, a truck stop and the home of “Dinky”, the famous singing Dingo, where we enjoyed a cold coke, and then the long haul back home into the unrelenting hot northerlies.  The Stuart highway is long, wide and straight with good visibility for traffic, mainly road trains that would pass towing four trailers. This was the time to get on the hoods and hang on for dear life during the blast of wind as they passed. There were no shops or phone reception, however, we had the support of our dear friend with a mobile aid station in her car, and so looked forward to seeing her car come over the horizon with ice cold water and cold coke. By this time the water in our aero bottles had heated up to a ridiculous temperature.

Aid station in front of Deb’s house
Long run

My friend Deb was also debuting in this Ironman journey and as we were of similar age, we adapted to this “unhealthy” diet of eating the gels and drinking coke (our mentor said it’s the best sports drink out there!) Okay, we hadn’t drunk coke for 30 years, but if this is what the Pros do, we would give it a shot!

Turn around marker

Our long runs were spent on the many trails around the Western MacDonnell ranges, always lots of wildlife to see on the way and great views from the ranges.

Swimming was in the pool, however, our “open water” swims were very infrequent due to the distance to a waterhole, but on one occasion Jock organised with Henbury station130kms south, for us to swim in the Fink River. This was not a river in the true sense with wide deep water, but a muddy waterhole, slightly green in colour, with squelchy mud underfoot, sticks and cow pats everywhere.

Open Water Swimming

We emerged from the murky water sporting the best moustaches you would ever see! As time got closer to our event, we had our “big day out”, which consisted of an hour wetsuit swim in the pool, a 5hour ride, and a 2 hour run, all at race pace with 90min breaks in between. These days took some organising with aide stations in the heat, plotting the course and turnaround points. We dressed in race gear for these days.

Time trialling on Big Day Out
All ready for the Big Day Out
Ready for Busselton Ironman

We had a great day, which was the last time the swim was around the iconic Busselton jetty in a very rough sea. Two of us qualifying for Kona and the Alice Springs Tri club winning it’s category.

These were great times, but now I’m a proud member of the Lakers. More scientific training thanks to Nigel, and sessions that I didn’t think I would survive!


7 x 70.3;

1 x ITU long course China;

4 x Ironman (each qualifying for Kona)

Kona 2016 60-64, 14.07hrs 9th out of 35.

Kona 2019  60-64, 13.57 hrs 15th out of 44.

“Anything is Possible!”

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