Fearless Ipswich competitor Kym Jaenke stays focused during the gruelling marathon leg of Sunday’s ironman event in Cairns.
Fearless Ipswich competitor Kym Jaenke stays focused during the gruelling marathon leg of Sunday’s ironman event in Cairns. Supplied

Kym conquers gruelling test

AFTER achieving one of the ultimate goals in sport, Ipswich sportswoman Kym Jaenke was feeling it yesterday.

Her sore knees proved she had endured an incredible 10-hour ordeal at the Challenge Cairns Ironman on Sunday.

However, the former world triathlon champion was one of the proudest people in the city after returning to Ipswich yesterday morning.

She was the first non-professional female to complete the punishing 3.8km swim, 180km bike ride and 42.2km run.

That placed her eighth overall for female competitors and 41st overall (men and women) out of 1200 entrants.

While thrilled with her achievement, Jaenke conceded her first ironman was as tough as expected – even in the scenic surrounds of Cairns and Port Douglas.

“It was a big shock to the body but a totally different feeling and experience while you’re racing,” she said.

“After nine hours, it became a mental battle with yourself. You just have to stay focused.

“I had never run a marathon distance before yesterday. The longest run was 34km before that, which played on my mind a bit.

“But from advice I’d learnt from people who had done it before I was able to finish.”

Jaenke’s remarkable feat came after being injured in January.

“I had to have a few weeks off the bike and needed a new challenge,” she said.

“I thought I’d never done an ironman before, never run a marathon, so I combined those together and that’s how I came up with the race in Cairns.”

She started well, being the fastest swimmer in the crystal clear waters off Yorkey’s Knob.

The client manager with Harding Martin Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors was also happy with her 180km bike ride.

She rode confidently towards Port Douglas, back to Palm Cove before heading back to Port Douglas and then back to Yorkey’s Knob.

However, the 42.2km run down the Captain Cook Highway into the heart of Cairns was the most gruelling test.

“My average pace on the run got a lot slower towards the end, which was to be expected,” she said.

“But I felt really good, surprisingly, coming off the bike.”

The 2008 world triathlon champion (30-34 years) had only weeks of specialised training for her first ironman.

She had been heartened after winning a recent open women’s triathlon in Mooloolaba and coming fourth in open competition at another event in Sydney.

But completing a 10 hour, four minute-torture test was far beyond anything she’s previously attempted.

As she returned to work sore but with a smile of satisfaction, Jaenke was cautious about tackling another ironman.

“It’s too early to tell,” she said.

“My knees are very sore today.”

However, those who follow one of Ipswich’s most competitive sportswomen know better.

It will only be a matter of time until she tackles another sporting mountain.



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