Why did you sign up to do this race?
There were a few factors that led to me signing up to do an Ironman event. Ever since joining my local tri club 8 years ago, I had a goal of completing an Ironman (3.8km swim, 180km ride and 42.2km run). I initially wanted to do an Ironman before I turned 45. Well, life threw me a curve ball, and I went through a divorce in 2015 and my health suffered quite badly – asthma, sleep apnoea, guttate psoriasis which involved 8 months of light therapy 3 times a week, weight gain, financial concerns. I was working fulltime with three children and I was in ‘coping mode’. I gradually worked through each of those issues and steered my life back on track.

Everything was going great… well, so I thought. After a couple of years of being in a relationship with this someone, he dropped a bombshell on me and just left. Left me with shattered dreams, insecurities and doubts and again, my health suffered with me, dealing with depression and anxiety. I had thoughts of ending my life, but I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving my children and family with the aftermath of doing that. So I chose to tackle the demons. I still have periods where the darkness creeps in, but I can manage it better now.

I knew the only way I was going to get out of this hole was for me to climb out of it. No one could do it for me – I had plenty of people wanting and willing to help me, but I had to want to take the first step.

So in 2018, I set myself a goal – to do an event in every state and territory of Australia (there’s 8 in total), and #8in18 was created. Then I thought – why don’t I finish it off with an Ironman and go for my ultimate goal!

Ironman Western Australia was 4 days before my 46th birthday… I negotiated with my head and we both agreed that it was still within the original goal of completing an Ironman in my 45th year.

My “why” was to not only prove to myself that I was capable of anything I put my mind to, but that it could inspire and motivate others – people that struggle with their weight, people who find themselves at the back of the pack, people who are told they “can’t”, people going through hardships and mental health issues, people hesitant to take that first step. I’ve been one of those people too.

How did you feel once you crossed the finish line?
Meagan Initially – relieved, but not very well. I finished the race with 27 seconds to spare before the 17 hour cut-off. And in Ironman, they are strict on the cut-off.

Physically, my body was not in a good way. My breathing was shallow, and my oxygen levels had fallen to 87%, and whilst I was sweating, my body temp had dropped to 34°.

But then I saw my children who had followed me all day and all year to finish not only my Ironman, but my #8in18. I felt proud – proud of myself and so very proud of them for understanding and realising what it takes to work towards something you want. That life-lesson is worth every blister, every piece of chaffed skin, every bit of sunburn, every aching muscle, every tough day of juggling work, parenting and training.

What would you say was the hardest challenge in this race?
MeaganGiving up was never an option, but there were times where the demons entered my head. I found myself questioning everything about myself again – why am I here, I don’t belong here, people will be laughing at me saying “see – told you so”, why am I so bloody slow. I had to work hard to push those ugly voices out of my head. They hadn’t been invited and they were gate-crashing my goal.
What was the most rewarding thing about completing this run?
The journey along the way, and the strength of those in my ‘village’. I still get emotional when I think of them. I had incredible people supporting me – my coach, my parents, my children, my partner, my triathlon friends, my non-athletic friends, my work. I had an amazing support group pushing me on the day, and if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have made the cut-off. They were tough on me, but they knew how important it was for me to do this. They turned my walk into a shuffle, and my shuffle into a run. They got me onto that red carpet.
Was there anything or anyone in particular that helped you throughout your training?
My Coach. He was so motivating, encouraging, understanding. We both knew records weren’t going to be broken on the day. The goal was to finish, and that’s how he trained me. As well as training me for the Ironman, he helped me also achieve two 10km runs and four half marathons, injury free and head strong. Chris was on board straight from the start.

My Tri Club – The support of fellow club members was incredible. They ran with me, swam with me and rode with me – just to help me. They provided advice and motivation, support and encouragement. My friends are an amazing group, but having a community of people who share the same love of the sport is important.

Any final words of encouragement and thoughts you’d like to share?
MeaganFind your “why”. Knowing your purpose will drive you harder and further, and push you through those days where it all just seems too much. Put your goal out there – share with those around you and ask them to help you along the journey.

Build your village – you will quickly discover who wants you to achieve and understands your ‘why”. You will need different people to help you with different components of your goal – the physical, the emotional, the spiritual, the mental. All are as important as the other, but they all need to come together as one.

Have fun and smile! Embrace your goal and the journey along the way. It isn’t always going to be a bed of roses, but it will be worth it at the end.

If anyone would like to get in touch and share their goal with me, I’d love to hear about it and help you achieve it.


Connect with Meagan on her FB page: The UnNaturalAthlete