Secret Harbour triathlete Rachel Vines says the support of family and friends willed her to the finish line of last weekend's Busselton Ironman.
Vines completed the 3.8km swim, 180km ride and 42.2km run in just over 15 hours 31 minutes and admitted there were times during the race she struggled physically and mentally.
However, the 37-year-old was spurred on by her fiance and family who had travelled from the United Kingdom and said it was their encouragement which got her over the line.
“There were some really dark moments, but having them there definitely got me across the finish line,” Vines said.
“Because it was a four-lap run, there’s parts where you’re away from all the supporters and people on the sidelines and that bit was really difficult.
“I think I might have finished, but if it wasn’t for them I would have finished a lot later than I did.”
Making Vines’ achievement all the more remarkable is the fact she was forced to prepare for the race with a stress fracture in her hip.
The Rockingham Triathlon Club member was forced to withdraw from the recent Mandurah Ironman 70.3 and only returned to full training a fortnight before last weekend’s race.
“I went back to the physio four days after Mandurah I was told I had a stress fracture in my hip and I was very close to having a hip replacement,” she said.
“From that point on I could only swim and ride a stationary bike for close to four weeks.
“I was only allowed on the road on my bike a couple of weeks ago, so I hadn’t done any long rides at all.
“It’s only been in the last couple of weeks that I’ve done much training, I’d done swimming, but couldn’t do any running or riding.”
While her preparation was far from ideal, Vines said the fact she had completed the race had fuelled her desire for a second attempt in 2013.
“I think there’s a lot of questions still unanswered for me,” she said. “I want to improve my time and finish in closer to 12 hours.
“This is a box ticked, but I think I’m going to have to work very hard to convince my partner that it’s a good idea to enter next year.”