THINK of the intensity of a half ironman.
The 1.9km swim, 90km ride and a 21.2km run.
Now let’s add in a whole new element — sharks.
This was Michelle Kervin’s experience at the Western Australian ironman.
Half way through her swimming leg, race organisers called everyone out of the water.
‘‘I was pretty disappointed,’’ the Echuca triathlete said.
‘‘Swimming is my best area, so to only get through half of it and then get pulled out of the water is a shame. Suddenly instead of a race, you have to look at it like it’s a really good training day.’’
Although, Kervin admits that with sharks in the water, being pulled out is better than the alternative.
This was only a minor dampener on the day for Kervin.
She put in one of her best bike legs, the area of the event that she considers her weakest, as well as a strong run which saw a strong result at the line.
‘‘I was crossing the finish and I heard the announcer say something about me placing in my age group, but I didn’t think too much of it at the time,’’ she said.
‘‘It wasn’t until I checked the results later in the day to see what it actually meant.’’
The announcement was saying Kervin was first in her age group for the event.
And that result meant more than just a good weekend.
It also came with qualification for the 2018 world championships, to be held in September in South Africa.
All this in just her second half ironman.
‘‘It was a bit of a surprise I must admit, but I am so very excited by it,’’ Kervin said.
The result was justification for Michelle’s hard work and ability to overcome adversity.
In August, her run in the Gold Coast marathon nearly ended her career in the sport.
‘‘I ruptured my peroneal tendon in my foot,’’ Kervin said.
‘‘As a result I was in a moon boot for over a month and had multiple courses of platelet-rich plasma therapy and cortisone to return to running. So to get back was a challenge in of itself.’’
The world qualification does mean a lot of changes for Kervin.
‘‘It’s made me change a lot of my goals for the year now,’’ she said.
‘‘I was planning on running the Melbourne marathon in October next year again, but now I think for the running aspect it will be looking towards running a few more half marathons in the meantime.’’
While the bike and running bring her great enjoyment, the former state junior swimmer still has the greatest love for the pool.
‘‘I train incredibly hard in those areas,’’ Kervin said.
‘‘I go for a swim on my lunch break and I like to try and get in a few sessions later in the night after I’ve been able to put my daughter to bed.’’
Training for the world championships will result in her early morning sessions continuing unstopped for the foreseeable future, but the love of competition keeps the desire alive.
Hopefully though, her trip to the world championships will have less involvement from sharks.