Being in the spotlight is not a prospect that sits comfortably with Steve Crenfeldt.
In two days, the Busselton triathlete will make a long-awaited comeback to the sport he loves following a horrific accident which made the likelihood of again taking a place on the start list in Ironman WA seem beyond a remote possibility.
As described in the book he launched this year entitled A Long Way Back, a routine training run in October 2008 came to an abrupt end when his bike clipped the wheel of a cyclist in front of him careering it into the path of an oncoming truck which hit, dragged him under and left him with serious injuries.
Crenfeldt said it has been a long journey from the crash to completing the Half Ironman events in 2010 and 2011 and now to the physical and mental rigours of preparing for the full triathlon this year.
In customary community-minded style, which has seen him become part of the Busselton Jetty Swim Committee and coach young triathletes, he told the Times he was at first reluctant to draw any fanfare and preferred to keep a low profile.
“I’d rather avoid the attention…but as a friend of mine reminded me, I have had so much support and encouragement and my story has been followed by lots of people, many of whom I don’t even know, that it would be nice to let them all share in my return to the Ironman challenge,” Crenfeldt said.
“I’m really looking forward to getting in amongst the action again and in particular seeing the local first-timers experience everything that Ironman day will throw at them.”
Other competitors such as Shane Rabjones, who has worked hard to recover from a broken collarbone when all appeared lost, were equally in the triathlete's thoughts and deserved a “very honourable mention”.
Crenfeldt said being out there with Max Higgins and Mick Bray and having Alex Douglas and Steve Anstee on the sidelines would carry a bit of emotion forward from 2008 when the group were last together.
The past six weeks had consisted of much frustration and stress with a niggling injury also forcing a re-evaluation of the race plan, but with the only goal to “try and avoid the glow-sticks” or worst-case make it home before the night cut-off, the time had come to face unfinished business.
“I have a new favourite saying to remember though – ‘It does not matter how slow you are, you are still lapping those sitting on the couch’,” Crenfeldt said.
“Sunday is going to be a great day and hopefully I can inspire a few people to take on their own challenges and things they want to achieve.”