Ipswich all-rounder Kym Jaenke puts her head down to tackle the challenging 180km ride during the recent Port Macquarie Ironman.
Ipswich all-rounder Kym Jaenke puts her head down to tackle the challenging 180km ride during the recent Port Macquarie Ironman. Contributed

Ultimate test awaiting Kym

EPIC EFFORT: Kym Jaenke settles into her marathon run in Port Macquarie. Photo: Contributed

WHEN you're mentally tough like Hawaiian Ironman challenger Kym Jaenke, it seems nothing can stand in your way.

However, it's never that simple.

Success often comes out of adversity.

Jaenke, 35, is a classic example.

The Ipswich achiever has qualified for the Hawaiian Ironman in October - a 3.8km swim, 180km bike ride and 42.2km run considered the most challenging combination in the world.

However, she called on her resilience and fierce determination to earn a shot at the ultimate sporting challenge.

Jaenke finished a disappointing 10th in her age group at the Melbourne Ironman in March.

Troubled by a knee injury, she walked 8km of the run leg just to finish.

"In Melbourne it was a long tough day with the injury and a couple of other things went wrong during the race," she said. "It wasn't the way I wanted to race."

Then and there, the former world 30-34 years triathlon champion could have called it quits. But through the dejection, she quietly pondered her competitive future.

After resting her knee and resuming training, she challenged herself to right the wrong.

She tackled the recent Port Macquarie Ironman where she again had to swim 3.8km, ride 180km and run 42.2km.

This time, she was satisfied.

Jaenke finished fourth overall and was the first amateur female competitor to cross the line.

That qualified her for the Hawaiian Ironman world championship later this year.

"It was the most difficult out of the three ironman that I've done," said Jaenke, who works as a client manager with Harding Martin Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors in Ipswich.

"But I had the result in Port Macquarie that I had hoped for in Melbourne.

"After my disappointing race in Melbourne, I was mentally tougher than I thought I was and I used that as a positive when I raced in Port Macquarie.

"I'll use that as a positive again when I go to Hawaii."

At this time of the year, she's extra busy at work with tax lodgement deadlines to meet.

However, it's clear her mental strength is what helps her succeed in business and sport.

She's excited about preparing for the Hawaiian Ironman after having a break. The next "taxing" sports event is on the island of Kona, notorious for its humidity.

"The biggest thing in Kona is going to be the heat and the unexpected," she said.

"We'll be coming out of our winter and heading over to 40 degree days and 90 percent humidity."

Jaenke is planning five weeks off before starting a 17-week training block, which may include acclimatisation work in North Queensland.

She'll also continue her regular training at Limestone Park and around Ipswich.

Jaenke is used to punishing her body and mind since starting triathlon competition in 2006.

But "bored" with triathlons, she tackled the Cairns Ironman for the first time in June last year. It was a giant leap to running a marathon, let alone adding that to increased swimming and riding distances.

"Before I did Cairns, I really had no desire to do Kona or the Hawaiian Ironman," she said.

"It's always been the pinnacle of ironman, the pinnacle of triathlon really. It's something probably every triathlete or every ironman aspires to.

"Now I've got the chance to go over and do it."


Mental edge

WHILE Kym Jaenke enjoys training at Limestone Park with Ipswich runners, it's on the bike she gains an edge. "I probably ride three-quarters of the time by myself," she said. "The ironman distance . . . the bike is a solitary ride, you're out there by yourself. I think you get more benefit at this distance doing a lot of training by yourself. It's mental as much as physical."

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