Becoming a triathlete has given Robbie Peime a new lease on life.
After a serious road accident 10 years ago forced Peime into a wheelchair, he struggled with the thought he would not be able do the things he loved any more.
But after a long process of rehab and rehabilitation, Peime is in better shape than ever.
‘‘I had a motorbike accident when I was 17. I had a head-on collision with a car so I broke pretty much everything — 60 per cent of the bones in my body — and yeah, it took me a long time to get over all that kind of stuff and being in a wheelchair,’’ he said.
‘‘Then about a year ago I started doing triathlons and I just fell in love with it.’’
The Mount Martha product competed in his longest race yesterday during Challenge Shepparton’s longest event — the 1.9km swim, 90km ride and 21.1km run half-Ironman — and exceeded even his own expectations.
‘‘I was hoping to get under six hours and I got 5:08, which I’m pretty happy with,’’ Peime said.
‘‘It was pretty hot, it wasn’t too bad at the start, but it was probably the hottest conditions I’ve ever raced in. This was my first half (Ironman) that I’ve done, so I just was really hydrated and had all of my fluids and gels and that kind of stuff.
‘‘I wasn’t as happy with my swim as I should be I don’t think, but the rest went pretty well.’’
Peime uses specialty equipment to complete the course — of which he was full of praise to the organisers.
‘‘I’ve got a hand cycle for the ride, I’ve got my race chair for the run and my swimming I just don’t kick pretty much,’’ he said.
‘‘Thank you to Challenge Shepp, because they went above and beyond for me to be able to get me here, my run course was different to everyone else’s and everything I asked they did their best to get it, so a massive thumbs up to them.’’
Peime, 27, will not be content with this weekend’s result though, with a new training regime already in place to try to reach his ultimate goal — the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.
‘‘I want to classify in June for the worlds, that’s in Kona, and I’ll do a full Ironman there — that’s what the idea is,’’ he said.
‘‘I do a lot of weights in the gym, but I’ve kind of backed off that now so I’ve got the strength — I moreso just need my endurance now.
‘‘A bit of speed work as well, which I’ve only just sort of started introducing, and just those really long rides and runs on weekends and that’s pretty much it, just do what I’m told by my coach and he gets me here.
‘‘If I get a time like that (yesterday’s effort) I can qualify for Kona, which is really good.’’
Peime’s fitness is growing with every race he completes — meaning the gruelling 3.86km swim, 180.25km ride and 42.2km run that awaits him in Kona does not stand a chance of stopping him.