COAST-based auto industry icon Garry Crick has completed the Port Macquarie 70.3 Ironman.
He finished in a time of 5 hours, 38 minutes and seven seconds (28 minute swim, three hour ride and 2.03 hour run). His effort saw him finish 30th in his category and 557th overall.
Colleague and close friend John Eastham finished in just over six hours.
Michael Shadforth got the job done in just under six hours.
FOR a decade, severe pain and running were inseparable for Garry Crick.
The managing director of Crick Auto Group suffered recurring issues after breaking his leg in a motocross accident when riding with his son about 10 years ago.
His break took a long time to heal, with many complications. But a set of orthotics provided the motoring industry icon with a new lease on life - and now he is about to prove his iron will.
On Sunday he will tackle a 1.9km swim, ride 90km and then run 21.1km in Port Macquarie at the coastal township's annual Ironman 70.3 triathlon event.
Mr Crick, whose auto group comprises eight dealerships and 15 new car brands in Rockhampton, Tweed and the Sunshine Coast, is not a newcomer to triathlons. More than 15 years ago he was a member of the Sunshine Coast Triathlon Club and competed in many Olympic-distance events.
But when the starting gun fires tomorrow it will be a momentous comeback, considering he only returned to running in February.
"I ran three telephone poles and then had to walk. Pretty quickly I got up to a couple of kilometres. Then I just kept going week after week," Mr Crick said.
"My goal was to do the Sunshine Coast half-marathon and that was the first and only time I had ever run 21km."
The decision to tackle Port Macquarie's half-ironman was made after he successfully completed the ride leg of Yeppoon's Ironman 70.3 last year, together with his company's chief executive John Eastham, who completed the run, while Property Only managing director Michael Shadforth conquered the swim.
The trio will be at the start line tomorrow competing this time as individuals, and while all simply have a goal to reach the finish, there is some friendly rivalry.
"I think Shady and I are snookered with the amount of training John has done," Mr Crick said.
While the weather looks to be clear, competitors will face hilly terrain on the bike.
"I could be hospitalised by Sunday afternoon," the 50-year-old joked.
"I know the swim won't be a problem. I just have to control myself on the bike and make sure I don't overdo it ... the only thing that worries me is the run.
"It will be a bit of fun."
Getting to the start line is the culmination of about three months of solid training and regular 4.45am starts.
The battle to get fit enough to tackle the Port Macquarie event is one Mr Crick has relished - and he can see synergies between long-distance triathlon and business.
"When I am employing someone that I can see has been successful in sport or another field it's normally a trait people have. I don't mean necessarily so much that they are successful, but the fact they have the discipline," he said.
"If you have the discipline in one area of your life you normally have the discipline in most of it.
"I like people who are involved in sport and who are focused on self-motivation, which is what individual sporting events are about."
All going well, Mr Crick will return next week and then toe the line for the Noosa Triathlon, where he will join another fit group of friends who are competing with Ray White Buderim principal Brett Graham, who will celebrate his 50th birthday by racing in the historic 30th anniversary of the event.
It's called a 70.3 because it refers to the distance in miles.
The race includes a 1.9km swim, a 90km bike ride and a 21.1km run.
Some of the Bondi Rescue Lifeguards will compete, including Andrew Reid (Reidy), Ryan Clark (Whippet), Adriel Young (Bacon), Quinn Darragh (Quinno), Gavin Stevenson, and recent addition to the clan, Clint Kimmins.
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