New Zealand’s ironman judge, Chris McGuire, has made a successful comeback to competition, qualifying for the world championship at Kona, Hawaii, in October 2010.
The Rotorua District Court Judge is one of two athletes who will represent this country in the 60-64 age group at Kona following his second placing in the New Zealand Ironman at Taupo in March.
In 2006, in a “protest against the ravages of time”, Judge McGuire trained for and completed the Taupo Ironman, reduced to a bike and run duathlon of half the distance because of a storm.
His second placing led to what he describes as a “fluke” entry into the world championship at Kona the same year.
“The latter was spoiled for me a little,” he says, “by a late bout of ’flu, the aching effects of which were still with me on race day.”
Nevertheless, he still completed his first full ironman event.
“So a bit of unfinished business, coupled with a rush of blood to the head, led me fatefully to again call Jon Ackland at Performancelab in July last year to inquire whether again he’d be prepared to coach me for another shot,” he says.
“A brief but focused cross examination by him followed. To my relief he agreed and he then said, somewhat flippantly I thought, that he’d put me on the same programme as Terenzo Bozzone.
“So I’ve been training since then; early mornings, before the day job, and some big weekend workouts. Lots and lots of hills, both on the bike and on foot, and lots of open water swims – all done at below the anaerobic threshold.”
Since July, he has completed three separate build-ups with a few weeks’ rest in between.
Judge McGuire has experienced a couple of setbacks. The first saw him tipped off his bike by a car. The second was self-inflicted. He crashed during a time trial. Overall, though, he had a “pretty reasonable build up”.
“By race day I was, as they say, good to go.
“I had, for me, a brilliant swim in a calm lake Taupo, 1hrs 11mins 51secs for 3.8km.
“On the bike a gusty southerly wind got up and on the second lap heading out of Taupo, I misjudged the following force of it and crashed on the turn into Miro Street. It was a choice between gravel and road cones. I chose the cones!
“Funnily enough, although a little later sore ribs and hip and bits of missing bark made their presence felt, my immediate paranoid concern was for my bike. So it was a huge relief when I realised it was undamaged. The second lap was slower as a consequence, but the overall time for the 180km of 6hrs 22secs was not too bad in the circumstances.
“I was thankful, too, that Richard Swan of McVeagh Fleming kindly lent me his time trial helmet for the event.
“So to the marathon. I realised as soon as I started the run that I hadn’t rehydrated or nourished adequately while on the bike. So I went through a bad patch – no energy and spots-before-the-eyes sort of stuff. But I drank lots at the drinks stations and by the half-way mark in the marathon I was back on song, running the second half faster than the first.”
His marathon time was 4hrs 1min 22 seconds. Adding 6mins 43secs for transitions, his total time was 11hrs 20mins 19secs.
“One, perhaps unintended, consequence,” Judge McGuire says, “is that I now have this urge to share with others what coach Jon Ackland says, namely, that almost anyone can do Ironman, even those who are ‘mature’ both of age and torso and who haven’t done anything of this sort before.
“The legal profession has a proud tradition in Ironman. I’m rather hoping to spark up one amongst the judiciary,” he adds.
This article was published in LawTalk 749, 3 May 2010, page 9.