As the 37 year old Director of Oxley Insurance Brokers, Newcastle born Grant Richmond is embracing the sport of triathlon with the support of his wife Jodie and 3 children.
> Grant, many local business people know you as part of the Oxley Insurance Brokers business, but you are also a keen athlete?
Triathlon has been a great sport to become involved in. It pushes you both mentally and physically, and I’ve made some great mates in the sport.
> What inspired your interest in the sport?
It was a bit of an evolution process, I suppose. When I was in my late 20s I was carrying a few extra kilos and had a set of ‘man-boobs’ that shouldn’t have been there! This led to me getting a mountain bike and then taking on Bootcamp with Discovery Health and Fitness. The fitness bug bit, and I then progressed to Gym membership and getting a road bike to rack up a few more kilometres cycling.
I volunteered for Ironman as a marshall in 2006 and was inspired to see what people could achieve. Michael Percival (of Laing and Simmons) was in the event, so he inspired me to give it a go. My first triathlon was a small event at Evans Head, and I haven’t looked back since.
> How long have you been an active Ironman?
2009 was my first full Ironman event, but I’ve competed in a number of Half Ironman races, including Port Macquarie and Gold Coast since 2006.
The training schedule for Ironman is quite different to what I’m used to, but the event itself didn’t feel any different. I think I did more damage to myself in the last Port Half Ironman than the full Ironman!
> Tell us about your training schedule. How many hours a week do you train?
Ironman training varied a bit depending on the program, but it was generally around 19 hours a week. The distances also varied, but we were swimming up to 10 km a week, riding up to 330 km a week and running up to 65 km a week.
Pete Murray coaches a number of locals and really gets the best from his athletes. The group gets a lot from Pete, as he trains with us. He helps people with technique, through injury, or flat spots in their training. Muzza comes from the school of hard knocks though, so it toughens people up fairly quickly!
Pete’s group is made up of athletes of different ages and abilities, and we all get on well. Without wanting to single anyone out, my Ironman training was made a lot easier by grinding away the kilometres with blokes like my brother Andrew, Glenn Triggs, Greg Laws, Les Bailey and Brad Foster.
Most of my training occurs in the early hours when everyone is asleep at home, but I’m lucky that Jodie and the kids are really good and we shuffle things around to fit in training sessions where we can.
> How important is nutrition and state of mind in the lead up to a big race?
State of mind isn’t really a problem for me. I’m not a naturally gifted athlete, so I’ve got to make up for it with determination! Many people get the jitters on the Saturday before a big event, but I’m used to it now.
Pre-race nutrition is something that most triathletes focus on in the week leading up to a big race, and everyone has their routines that they follow. Nutrition during the race is a massive issue for me, and I learned so much from Ironman this year.
I spent time before the race planning what I would eat and when to eat it, and it really paid off for me on the day. I’ve had other races where I haven’t eaten at the right times and have suffered as a result. Leading into this year’s Half Ironman series, the aim is to improve my race day nutrition plan.
> Port Macquarie plays host to two major Ironman events each year. How does it feel to be part of it as a local athlete?
The support given to our two events is outstanding. I can’t thank everyone enough.
Port really gets behind Ironman, regardless of the bad weather we’ve copped. The volunteers and the local residents’ support really make the races what they are.
Although they may be too worn out to acknowledge the cheering in some cases, I know that all the athletes really love the Port event and what the community does for us. In return, the social and economic benefits brought to the community by the athletes and their families are substantial.
I’ve got some great memories of this year’s Ironman; The ‘Team Berkel’ crew leading the beer-fuelled charge on Windmill Hill, mates supporting me out on the course and seeing my family out on the run course was pretty special.
> What are your goals as an athlete?
To finish each event knowing I’ve pushed as hard as I could. For me, the sport is about competing with yourself, rather than competing with others.
> What else keeps you busy away from Triathlon?
I juggle three things as best I can: family life, business interests, and triathlon. My kids are involved in dancing, music, soccer and martial arts, while my wife is quite handy with a tennis racquet. We would like to travel a little more often to ‘recharge the batteries’, but commitments keep us close to home.
The Insurance Brokerage runs well and we have a good team of people who share our desire to provide the best for our clients. People have come and gone from the insurance industry thinking it’s a quick buck and that the product can be ‘sold’ like a loaf of bread. This isn’t the case, and they quickly find out that it’s harder than they thought.
> The sport of Triathlon is strong in Port Macquarie. Tell us about the local club.
The Port Tri Club has grown in numbers and strength over the past few years.
Check out our new website at: www.portmactriclub.com.au
Craig Whiting has just given the old site a revamp, and it gives people information about the sport and our Club. The Mid Coast Windows Duathlon series kicks off 28th June over three months of races, and I think the Tri season starts again in late September.
For people wanting to give the sport a go, get involved now with the Duathlon series, as it doesn’t include a swim leg, which most people find confronting at first.
Get used to competing, pick up some tips and then have a go at our ‘Come and Tri’ event later in the year. It is designed for first timer,s and we would be happy to help anyone who is interested in the sport. People don’t have to have all the fancy gear – just get involved and have a go.
Port Macquarie won the 2008/2009 Half Ironman Series Club Challenge, which was an accumulation of points accrued by our Club members who competed in a seven race national series. Not bad for a regional club against some of the larger city based clubs.
Triathlon has a positive image in Port Macquarie. Some people may not want to compete, but if local businesses want to support the Club and have their business promoted through it, they can call me for a chat at Oxley Insurance Brokers anytime.
> Thank you Grant.