Max Higgins has some fond memories of Ironman WA.
The 54-year-old fitness fanatic from Busselton has competed every year in the event’s nineyear history.
“I was the only Busselton competitor in the first one,” he said.
“That was good — I even had people lining up to get my autograph. I won’t get that again.”
The event has changed a lot since 2004, Higgins said.
“In training for the first one you’re more serious as you’ve never done anything like it and you’re more focused,” he said.
“Everyone does it for different reasons. For me it’s not competitive, it’s a personal achievement.”
It is the quest to better himself constantly that keeps him coming back for more, he added.
“I set out to just do the one, but you get sort of hooked,” Higgins said.
“Every year there is something different you can do.”
Higgins’ wife Jenny is an accomplished triathlete in her own right. Faithful kelpie Cody is his main training partner.
“The more you exercise him the more he wants it,” Higgins said.
“If he could ride a bike he’d enter the Ironman himself.”
He said Busselton’s wealth of sports clubs had fostered an inclusive sporting community.
“I’ve got a lot of friends in various clubs and there are plenty of events,” he said.
“Newcomers are welcome and you don’t have to be really strong — all different levels are catered for. It’s very social and that’s what I like.”
As passionate about the event as he is, Higgins insists next year will be his last ever Ironman WA.
“I’m 54 and it gets to the point where you have to say ‘enough is enough’,” he said.
“I’ll still be involved in triathlons, but I think I’ll focus more on short courses in the future.”
Ironman WA takes place in Busselton on Sunday.