DURABLE: Brett Barker, pictured in the Warrnambool Tri Club enduro, finished the Challenge Roth triathlon event in Germany. Picture: Vicky HughsonTHE desireto complete a “bucket list” triathlon event has inspired a Warrnambool athlete to overcome a back injury to cross the line in one of Germany’s largest races.
Warrnambool Tri Club president Brett Barkerfinished the iron distance triathlon –held in the German city of Roth–in a time of 14 hours and 37 minutes.
Warrnambool Tri Club vice president Claire Farrer said it was only a “handful” of yearssince Barker completed his first short course triathlon and vowed to go further.
She said his effort was inspirational, as the event was one of the most gruelling and challenging in the world of triathlon.
“There are about 3500 competitors over there and it is the fastest selling iron distance event in the world,” she said.
“Brett went to a challenge event in Geelong and was lucky enough to win a place in Roth, even though he had to pay his own way to get there.
“I think he ummed and ahed about it, but in the end eventually gave into the peer pressure from the club and decided to package it in with a holiday.”
The 43-year-old made the best time on the bike leg of the event, clocking a time of5:43:28 and finishing1421stof the 3,400 estimated competitors in the 180km section.
He produced a time of1:28:47 for the 3.8km swim, and notched place2450 for the marathon run of 42km, finishing in7:14:39.
Farrer said the iron distance eventswere some of the most difficult physical and mental challenges in the world.
“Quite often the longer distances can be daunting, but it takes a bit of time to build up the confidence to have a go at them,” she said.
“Iron distance events take such a huge time commitment and there is so much involved in it.
“I was up at 6am to see where he was on the website, you really start to feel proud and excited for him considering it is such a big effort.”
She saidBarker wouldjoin the club’s honour roll of iron distance finishers, including Nathan Hahn, Sandy MacDonald, Steven Bald, Michael Koutsoukis and Andrew Nadaraj.
The DATEV Challenge Roth raceis famous for its fast course,Tour De France-likespectator support and largebeer halls flanking the course.
But Farrer said her pride in Barker’s achievementwas shared among members from the Warrnambool Tri Club.
“Brett pushed through an entire marathon with a back injury …to complete what is considered a bucket listevent in the world of triathlon. We couldn’t be more proud of his achievement,” she said.
Barker willremain in Europe until early August after finishing the226.2km event 2382ndoverall.
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