Clifton Springs steeplechase record-holder Sharon Pedersen will attempt a 113km triathlon for the first time on Sunday despite only taking up cycling and swimming recently.
The chiropractor and mother-of-three holds the Australian 2km steeplechase record of 7 minutes and 41 seconds for the 40 to 45 age group.
“I love a challenge, I am competitive and know what I am doing on the track,” she said.
“But when it comes to triathlon, I am the most beginner possible.”
Sharon plans to swim 1.9km, ride 90km and run 21.1km in the IRONMAN 70.3 on the Sunshine Coast.
“I have never been a swimmer, so I have had to start from scratch and I had never been on a road bike,” she said.
“I only bought one a couple of months ago, I am very much a beginner with cleats and have had a few falls.
“So, I see the run as my reward for getting through the first two legs.”
The race is big step up from her recent triathlon at Portarlington including an 800m swim, a 26km ride and an 8km run.
“I do know what I am in for, I sort of have to double the distance,” she said.
“I am confident I will get through the race, it will just be navigating the transitions that will be the problem. In Portarlington I couldn’t even find my bike!”
But Sharon is no stranger to pounding the pavement after returning to running at 34.
She put her “sporty” life on hold as a teen but began running again after giving birth to two daughters.
She even ran two half marathons when she was pregnant with her son before hitting the athletics track in her late 30s after his birth.
Despite standing only 152cm, Sharon found her niche jumping 76cm hurdles in the masters’ 2km steeplechase.
“The funny thing is I have no height, but I have good flexibility and I have always loved hurdling,” she said.
“At my age there are not a lot of women who can hurdle, so I definitely have an advantage in that regard. I have good technique, so that is helpful.”
Recently a misdiagnosed posterior tibia tear halted Sharon’s track running, so she decided to give triathlon a go.
Some friends completed the Geelong IRONMAN 70.3, which inspired her to take on event.
“Sometimes I just like to explore what the mind can allow the body to do,” she said.
“The challenge of oh my god, I am going to do that, I have never done it before.”