By STEVE ARCHBOLD
SHOWING no signs of fatigue, Coffs Harbour's Anne Grundy, 56, hopes to be still doing triathlons at the age of 80.
Anne defended her Forster Australian Ironman age group national title in style on Sunday.
Like a good wine, Ann seems to be getting better with age.
She broke her own record set last year by 26 minutes clocking a time of 12 hours and 27 minutes for the 3.8km swim, 180km cycle ride and 42km marathon.
Anne said a better bike leg laid the foundations for her record-breaking time.
"Forster is a real experience but to be honest it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, at times you feel like you just want to stop and lie down but there are too many people out there giving encouragement for you to stop and give up," she said.
"Triathlons and ironman events are all about meeting your own challenges, it is mental strength over physical fatigue.
"My motivation to keep going is a simple one, I really enjoy what I do."
Anne qualified for the Hawaiian Ironman with her Forster win but elected to forego the opportunity after having done that event twice.
Instead, Anne will set her sights on European ironman events next year in Switzerland and Germany.
"That is what is great about triathlons, there is always another challenge around the corner," she said.
Anne has come a long way since her first event, the Bananacoast Credit Union triathlon in 1989.
"Going to Forster for the first time in 2001 after qualifying in the Half-Ironman was the result of a four-year-plan where I made sure I was well and truly ready for what was coming up," she said.
Mark Skeates, one of the 11-strong contingent who tackled the gruelling event, said Coffs Harbour triathlete Glenn George crossed the line alongside Anne in what was a great image for their club.
"Geoff McCann hit the 10-hour mark while Andrew Rowlings was riding along at 36-38km/h sitting up on the bars as broken ribs don't help in trying to stay nice and low on the aero bars," Skeates said.
"Andrew followed that with a very snappy marathon which was an incredible effort."
Ian Hartmann and Sean Golding both has strong rides event though Sean was hampered by punctures.
"Adrian Hawke and Peter Wood both looked like they were enjoying the day, both had solid rides and Peter finished with a personal best," Skeates said.
"Geoff and Jon both looked strong when I saw them out on the run."
As far as Skeates was concerned his first crack at the unforgiving Forster format was one to remember.
"The Coffs cheer gang were awesome with groups everywhere on the run course and it can't be measured how much this helps when your hurting in the run," he said.
After broken aero bars, flats and stopping with cramps on a no luck bike leg, things didn't all go his way but there is always next year.