Tom and Royce fundraise for Connectivity
In December 2022, TBI sufferer Tom Bergin and close friend Royce, chose to tackle the Busselton Ironman and fundraise for Connectivity.
Their efforts raised and incredible $1.67k for Connectivity, of which we are incredibly grateful.
Tom shares his experience on the event below.
The Busselton 70.3 Ironman was the event on my radar from the start of the year it was a big goal of mine. Since becoming concussed I have found a love for endurance sport and what better than testing your body out with a half ironman consisting of a 1.9km swim, 90km bike, and a 21.1km run.
My lead up to the event was not ideal having developed a hip impingement during the hockey season. I also felt like I was coming down with a cold on the Tuesday before the race on Sunday morning. I have no clue what it was that came over me, I became very drained all of a sudden, I had a headache and dizziness which was present right up until race morning. By this stage there was nothing that was going to stop me from participating in the event that I had set myself out to achieve, especially since I now had the financial backing of family and friends in raising money for Connectivity, I did not want to let them down.
Come race morning it was an early wake up getting up around 3:30am to ensure that I had sufficient time to get up, eat something and drive to Busselton to get to transition to set up for the race. It wouldn’t be a race morning without forgetting something… Royce forgot his drink bottles in the car and I managed to leave my bike shoes in the car. A special shout out to my girlfriend Georgia who ran back to the car in Birks, which resulted in her receiving multiple blisters on her feet to get our gear so that we could race.
Now my transition station was set up the butterflies were starting to build… so much anticipation for the race. We made our way down to the beach on the right-hand side of the Jetty, sorted into swimming categories from fastest to slowest we set off in groups to tackle the half ironman. I was both nervous and excited to attempt such an amazing race. The little beep went and off I went along with another couple of athletes running into the water.
Swimming conditions were looking pretty good as we had a tail wind down the long straight of the swim leg, what a dream. I was very happy with my swim leg overall I swam a solid time I felt like I was able to pass lots of people even passing swimmers that set off in the speed category ahead of me. I came out of the water with a time of 36mins and 45seconds.
My goal pre-race was to try and average 30km/hr on the bike and I did just that much to the disappointment of the strong headwinds faced in the second half of the race. I tried many different positions on the bike, I was able to go fastest in the TT position. After the race discovering that this had resulted in painful bruising on both forearms. I managed to complete the bike leg in 2hrs, 56mins and 43seconds something I was also proud of given how I was feeling pre-race.
Now time for the leg I was most confident in the run!! I love running it was one of the forms of exercise that I was able to do in my return from concussion. My first km after transition was great at 4:28/km pace and it only went down from there with every following km my time slowly getting slower. I blew up on the run leg, my hips gave in on me, both of them within 10 metres of each other at around the 12km mark. From here on the rest of the race was a mental battle, urging myself to refuse to walk and to complete this run and my ultimate goal of the half ironman. It was the 20th km where I was so very close to having a walking break but I could not allow it, about to start walking, I caught myself and continued to painfully trot along to complete my slowest km of the run with a time of 6min and 43seconds. Finishing my run leg 20 minutes slower than my practice run in a time of 1hr 51 mins I was done I had completed my first ever half ironman.
With a finishing time of 5hrs:34mins:39secs I was done, I could now sit down and relax knowing that I had achieved what I had set out to achieve. Overall I had a pretty good race day, having no mechanicals, I was able to consume sufficient amounts of food and gels to get me over the line. I now didn’t have to feel guilty for eating ice-cream after all that exercise, I had just done. This was then followed by a lovely pub feed and some walking recovery in the ocean. What a day out !!Bring on the half again next year!!
The goal is Sub 5hrs!!