Iron badge of courage

Tough Going: Mariah Vaughan, 15, from Tannum Sands recently competed in the Ironwoman series challenge.
Tough Going: Mariah Vaughan, 15, from Tannum Sands recently competed in the Ironwoman series challenge. Brenda Strong

FOR Mariah Vaughan, the Nutri-Grain togs are not just another swimsuit.

They represent her great achievements and how far she has come in surf lifesaving.

The 15-year-old was handed her first pair of the swimmers last weekend at round 6 of the Kellogg's Nutri-Grain series, where she competed in the junior Ironwoman.

"Competition for Mariah began on the Saturday when she had to participate in the event to qualify in the top 20," dad Ernie said.

"And if she did so she was to go through to participate on Sunday."

Although only 15, Mariah was up against 17-year-olds, but that didn't faze her.

She had worked long and hard training in Tannum Sands and in Caloundra two to three times a month and deserved to be there.

On Sunday, she competed in the top 20.

During the swim leg she was positioned in 14th place, which she maintained for most of the race.

"The conditions were very flat which meant they had to work the entire duration of the race," Mr Vaughan said.

"Unfortunately the board leg saw Mariah struggle and she was passed by her competitors.

"She finished 19th overall. We are very proud of her. It's good to see a country kid do so well."

Mariah goes straight back into training after returning from the coast.

That illustrates the determination of a young ironwoman determined to make it big.

She maintains she would like to race in the open ironwomen event one day.

If she keeps going down this path, who knows, she may be the face of the next Nutri-Grain campaign.

Topics:  ironwoman, mariah vaughan, tannum sands



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