The couple tackled the 3.8km swim, 180km cycle and 42.2km marathon run event in just over 15 hours and all for a good cause, raising over $3,000 for the Starship Foundation.
“Crossing the finishing line was an incredible feeling. It was super emotional and great to see our hard work paid off,” says Olivia.
“The journey was not always smooth and we both had to overcome obstacles and injuries, but at the end of the day these challenges made crossing the finish line that much sweeter,” says Jared.
Newbies to the sport, Olivia and Jared started training for the event less than eight months out and were coached by Olivia’s dad (who was the first New Zealander to compete in an IRONMAN) and supported by Auckland Council’s Marina Fitness centre in Half Moon Bay.
“We had a gruelling training programme consisting of at least two workouts a day. This included a 45-minute spin class at Marina Fitness on a Wednesday night, which was always a highlight,” she says.
To raise money for the Starship Foundation, Olivia and Jared cut off their long luscious locks – something they were both well-known for – and spread the word about their journey on social media.
“Everyone really got behind us, so we couldn’t have done this without the support of our whānua, friends, the community at Marina Fitness and Starship,” she says.
Olivia’s advice to others wanting to achieve a fitness milestone is to simply give things a go.
“We had never done anything like this before and I had only done my first ever triathlon a few months prior, so I believe that anyone can do it. My advice is to set a goal, get a weekly training programme and have fun.”
Marina Fitness Instructor Daniel van de Geer says Olivia and Jared’s journey to IRONMAN is inspiring.
“Training and competing in an IRONMAN is both hard physically and mentally. It was new territory for them and it shows that if you put your mind to something, you can do anything,” he says.
Olivia and Jared have now caught the triathlon ‘bug’ and are working towards getting to the IRONMAN World Championships in Hawaii.
Daniel’s training tips
- It's not all cardio. Strength training plays a role in the build-up to any marathon or ultra. Posterior chain exercises such as goblet squats, lunges and deadlifts help to strengthen the connective tissues and reduce the chance of overuse injuries.
- Technique is key. An injury will put a stop to your training and waste all that hard work you’ve put in. Ask an instructor to check your technique, especially when you increase weights as this is usually when we compromise our technique.
- Flexibility plays a large part, as reduced mobility can hinder performance. Remember to stretch before and after exercise with dynamic (moving) stretches before you start and static (held) stretches after your warm-down. Dynamic stretches include things like bodyweight squats, lunges, high knees, butt-kicks and leg swings. Static stretches should be focused around the muscles you have used such as calves, quads, hamstrings and glutes for running and cycling, with arm and shoulder stretches added after swimming.
- Just because it’s a solo sport doesn't mean your trainings have to be done alone. Group fitness classes, running groups and working out with friends and family can all add an element of fun to your workouts. Classes such as Spin, RPM, Pump, Yoga and Pilates will help build fitness, strength and flexibility. Check out your local Auckland Council Leisure Centre to see what options there are to spice up your workouts.
To find out more about Marina Fitness and the other council-run leisure centres across Auckland visit the Auckland Council Pools and Leisure website.