The Augusta 6 – The Journey
Having competed over the years doing both the Sprint and Olympic distances for some time I had been toying with the idea of doing an Ironman race as it seemed the logical that this would be the next crazy step to take. I had always marveled at the race coverage and stories behind the athletes (some who seemed like the average athlete) who took on an Ironman and I knew that my body could take the “jamming” having done several endurance type races so I thought why not, but where do I start? In a casual conversation I realized that I was not the only crazy person to have these thoughts; enter The Bucketlisters – Jacqueline Sabga and Cherise Stauble, longtime friend and accomplished distance runner Gina Hart, clubmates Stephen Welch and the rapidly improving Aliya Drakes. Several other folks expressed interest but these folks stuck with the insanity.
On June 15, 2015 while home with the flu I had taken on what would be the next step of this incredible journey. We had brought it down to two races to choose from, Ironman Augusta 70.3 and Ironman Arizona 70.3. We wanted a race that was doable and “enjoyable”. I spent the morning putting together a seven page document after researching blogs, websites, testimonials, anything and everything on these races including airfare and accommodation. It was agreed that Augusta would be the race based on a fast down river swim and flat spectator friendly run course.
June 23 whatsapp group created! Talk start!! How are we training for this, persons from different clubs, when do we start?!
For me personally 2015 had to be one of my worst years for racing, I registered some of my slowest times and suffered various injuries, geeze I even got the XO end of year Turtle Award! 2016 had to be a year of redemption for me and I would no doubt have to stay injury free and fit to do this race.
Late October while visiting my daughter Lea at her new university in Tampa I took the opportunity to visit a local triathlon store Kona – Swim, run Ride only to find out that owners had just done the Ironman Augusta 70.3!! After an informative chat I bought my wetsuit and aerobar (I was converting my trusty Felt AR3 to a tri bike). (pic attached)
Augusta 70.3 registration opened on December 1st, it was decision time!! This race is the largest 70.3 in the world and sells out very quickly so I could not hesitate. I along 5 others committed to the race, the birth of the Augusta 6 - Jacqueline Sabga, Cherise Stauble, Gina Hart, Aliya Drakes and Stephen Welch! On January 19, the race was sold out with over 3,300 triathlete athletes from around the world taking part.