FORMER Banchory Academy pupil Paul Matthews and his wife Ali have flown out to New Zealand to take part in a tough-as-they-come Ironman event.
The Challenge Wanaka is being held in New Zealnd’s South island and involves a 2.4 mile open swim, 112 mile cyle, followed by a marathon run. There is around 1200 athletes from all over the world taking part.
This will be the first Ironman for Paul and Ali who have been training for the event, trying trying to get out for long cycles in the snow and freezing temperatures. They also took part in the Dublin Marathon in October, where Ali finished in 3:14 and Paul in 2:54 and in Norway, where Paul works, squeezing in a couple of Ultra Marathons, and a few Half Ironman/triathlon events. In December both participated in the Lossiemouth Turkey Trot 10 mile road race and Ali reduced her personal best by two minutes, winning the women’s race in 66 minutes and 16sec.
Paul aslo smashed his best time by two minutes and finished third in 56.31. Paul, from Banchory, married and Ali last January, following an engagement where Paul proposed half way through the Lairig Ghru race in 2009 which Ali, who is from Fife, won!
They now live in Aberdeen and are active members of Aberdeen Metro. They left for New Zealand on January 1 and two weeks training for the Wanaka Ironman on January 15.
The challenge is described by athletes as one of the best events on the international circuit and the physical and mental challenges will push athletes to their limits .