Triathlete is ready for Challenge ahead of him

By Lauren Bordin

Taking on Challenge Shepparton’s course tomorrow should not pose too much of a problem for Jason Shields.

The notoriously flat track is the polar opposite to what Shepparton Triathlon Club member took on earlier this year when he finished second at the Ultraman Australia race in Noosa.

There he completed the exhausting requirements across three days of racing with athletes competing across uneven, rocky and hilly terrain.

But Shields said his preparation held him in good stead for an event which culminated in a 84km run on the final day after already riding 420km and swimming 10km in the previous two days.

‘‘I wouldn’t say it was easier than I expected but it was probably everything that I dreamed and hoped that it would be and what would be possible,’’ he said.

‘‘I had confidence that it was just going to happen come race day and it all just did happen, I did the second fastest bike ride they’ve ever had there.

‘‘The 84km run I did in the time I hoped for but I came second and there’s not much more I can do about that.’’

The exhilaration of competing an ultra marathon continued for another two weeks after the event before the training and execution of the mammoth event took its toll.

‘‘For three months after I just didn’t want to train, I don’t know whether that was the ultra marathon, an injury I had or being in Shepparton over winter,’’ Shields said.

But whatever the contributing factor, being forced to take a break was the best thing for the athlete.

Now he returns to competition with the race around his home track in the half-distance triathlon, the longest on offer at Challenge Shepparton.

Shields nearly did not enter the competition.

‘‘I only decided to do it a week ago,’’ he said.

‘‘I’ve only done my home race twice and if they stopped it after this one and I didn’t do it this year even if I’m not quite fit (I’d be disappointed.’’

At 90 per cent fitness Shields will take on the 1.9km swim, 90km ride and 21.1km run headfirst, in what should be a breeze given all he has endured before.