Training pays off for an exultant iron man
FINISHING the Coolangatta Gold, Hayden Lester knew it was the hardest thing he had ever done.
A week-and-a-half later, he has the same opinion, but added that it was also the 'best thing he has ever done'.
It took Lester a touch over five-and-a-half hours to finish the gruelling event, but he said the physical effort was not the only bump.
"The whole time it is really mental, you go through good parts and you think you are going great," he said.
"You go through parts where you think you want to give up."
Lester pushed through the pain, thinking of all the training he had done and not wanting it to go to waste.
He also had a lot of support and didn't want to let them down.
"I need to say thanks to mum and dad, my sister, my mates and friends and my coaches Adam Eiseman and Michael King," he said.
"I am just happy to finish. I wanted to get top 20 and got 26th."
One person who was not worried about the overall result was Lester's mum Melissa.
On hand to watch him at the finish of every leg, she was ecstatic he had found a way to make it to the finish line despite the difficult conditions.
The wind hit a speed of 25 knots, pushing Lester back, and Melissa was glad to see all the training pay off.
"It was amazing to watch and see," she said.
"He looked well through the whole thing, it was quite surprising.
"I am very proud, he did lots of hours. For someone who is 19 and an apprentice to train was quite big."
The feeling of accomplishment will not wear off for a long time to come, maybe a good thing considering the amount of effort put on the table.
Lester is yet to decide whether he will participate in the Coolangatta Gold again next year, but said he would likely be back again before his lifesaving years were through.