DEFENDING champion Caine Eckstein will be chasing a third title when he lines up in the Coolangatta Gold ironman event on Sunday.
DEFENDING champion Caine Eckstein will be chasing a third title when he lines up in the Coolangatta Gold ironman event on Sunday. Scott Powick/ SMP Images

Canning's golden goal

MANY have tried and many have failed - and while some have conquered, others have collapsed.

However, one thing is for certain, there is not a much tougher race than the Coolangatta Gold.

But what is it that drives a person to put themselves through such huge physical and mental pain?

Well for Kingscliff competitor Nadi Canning, “it's a lot of things”.

“The feeling once you finish is amazing; you get an immense feeling of accomplishment and achievement,” Canning said.

“It's not like other races too, because it's not all about times.

“Even the build up is exciting.”

Until four years ago, the 24-year-old spent her time solely in the water. A talented swimmer, she contested several state finals before joining Lennox Head Surf Life Saving Club for a change.

“There are a lot of different factors and disciplines, and I love the transition element, because it's not as repetitive as swimming up and down lanes,” Canning said.

“I could obviously swim already, but have had to work really hard on my running for the Gold.”

This will be Canning's third straight Gold.

In 2007, she placed 16th in her debut event, before returning in 2008 with a vastly improved eighth, and she's hoping its third time lucky for a podium finish.

“There's a huge motivation to do better and keep improving,” she said. “Last year was a lot better than my first attempt, because I had done more training and was able to be more tactical.

“I hit a wall last year with about 500m to go and was overtaken by a girl I'd just overtaken 1km before, so you keep learning.

“Hopefully I can at least half last year's finish again.”

It all adds up to a hectic schedule for the medical student, who is in the middle of a work placement at the Tweed Hospital. But with a supportive crew behind her it's all worth it.

“It takes up all my time,” Canning said.

“A lot of people have put a lot of hard work into keeping me going, and that inspires to give it my all.”

The open women's race begins in Surfers Paradise on Sunday at 7.55am.



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