Name: Helen Freer
Country Representing: Australia
Occupation: Retired Personal Trainer
Marital Status/Family: Divorced
Is this the first time you have been to Kona?
No, I competed in Kona in 2006. I travelled with Tri Travel and they made the whole ‘first time’ experience memorable, with no stress. That was the year of the earthquake during the week prior to the race, which gave everyone something else to talk about other than ‘the race’ !
Where did you qualify for Kona 2011?
IM Australia at Port Macquarie. I was confident before the race and once I was standing on the start line I knew I was in for a blitzer of a day. That came to fruition with a win and a new 60-64yr age record.
Tell us about your preparation for Hawaii.
My prep has been good. A bike crash the day before Yeppoon 70.3 in August threw a spanner in the works for a couple of weeks, otherwise my training has been consistent. Great weather and a very supportive group of training friends help with that consistency. I haven’t done anything specific regarding heat training. I like the heat.
What has a typical training week looked like for you in the lead-up to this event?
A typical training week! I didn’t think there was such a thing!!!! Every week seems to have had its share of unexpected hiccups. My programme has been focussed more on quality than quantity. ‘Older’ bodies take longer to recover, so my coach has made sure that recovery happened while still providing a program that encompassed all the key sessions of Ironman triathlon racing.
What excites you the most about competing at an iconic race like the Hawaii Ironman?
The atmosphere is amazing. The whole town seems to vibrate with anticipation, which continues to build during the week. And Lava Java coffee shop!
Is there anything about the Ironman in Hawaii that makes you really nervous?
Not specifically. I am respectful of the race and all that it can be, but by the time I race I am totally focussed on what I need to do to have a good race.
What are your goals for the race?
To stand on the podium!!!!! Other than that, every Ironman race is a long day and given that nothing goes pear shaped during the day, my goal is to finish with a smile.
What are you doing to relax after the race? Are you planning on a holiday in Hawaii post Ironman?
I am learning to walk again in Kona and then Honolulu for a couple of days. I then fly to New York and meet up with family and another friend who is competing with me in the New York Marathon on 6 November.
Tell us a little about your background?
Sport has always been an important part of my life. I was a runner and hurdler at school, surfed, played tennis and rode horses. I competed in my first enticer triathlon in 2000 and loved the challenge of the three disciplines. I joined Bill Davoren’s Triathlon Gold squad and trained for longer races until my first Ironman in 2005. I found it inspiring and motivating to train with other triathletes who competed at Ironman level.
How have you managed to balance the training for Ironman with your other commitments such as work and family?
My daughters have moved into their own homes and I am single and retired, so those major commitments have not been hurdles in this preparation. When I was working I trained before and after work and often during my lunch break too.
Interesting Fact: I don’t intend stopping anytime soon!!
Thanks for chatting to us and best of luck for the race!
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