Botany and Ormiston Times
Howick and Pakuranga Times : Howick and Pakuranga Times Monday February 24
20 — Howick and Pakuranga Times, Monday, February 24, 2014 www.times.co.nz FOLLOW US ON All past players, coaches and administrators are encouraged to attend Howick Pakuranga Hockey Club’s 40th birthday celebrations on March 29, including a $40 formal dinner. Phone David McNickle on 021-598-777 for information and to purchase tickets. 125615-V4 THE team that launched Ironman onto the New Zealand sporting landscape was formed when Ho- wick’s Paul Gleeson received a letter from a complete stranger in 1983. An experienced sports event organiser most notably with the NZ Golf Open, Gleeson was charged with running the inaugural Ironman NZ race by promoter Air New Zealand. The event was the first Ironman franchise awarded outside of the original race at Kona, Hawaii, and as such, both Air NZ and Gleeson were in the dark about this underground yet burgeoning sport. “[Air NZ] had no idea what it was, all they knew was that it could create revenue,” Gleeson told the Times. “I thought, what is triathlon? I knew golf and other sports, then sud- denly Rick Faulding sent me a letter. “I’d never met him before. He said ‘I know the race in Kona and am pas- sionate about Ironman’. He was so positive I couldn’t help but say, ‘let’s get together’.” Faulding, who now lives in Pakuranga and teaches at Saint Kenti- gern College, was the first Kiwi to finish the Hawaii Ironman in 1982. “I wrote to Paul wanting to play a part in this exciting thing that was coming to NZ,” says Faulding. “Having first of all read about it and then experienced the race, by taking on another dimension in organising I felt I was immersing myself in every- thing Ironman stood for.” With Gleeson’s organising expe- rience and Faulding’s first-hand knowledge of competing, the pair, as race director and co-ordinator, brought complementary expertise to the mammoth task of creating the event from the ground up. “It was a relationship made in heaven, because we had skills that together made it work,” says Gleeson. “First of all we had to come to grips with the logistics that were involved and for this race they are mind-blow- ing. Even just the number of bananas and [amount of] defizzed coke.” Just 18 months after inception, the inaugural race in 1985 attracted 157 competitors, and comprised a 3km swim at Mission Bay, 160km cycle south-east to Kawakawa Bay and back and a 30km run. “Back then it was an education process,” says Faulding. “People didn’t know what this race, which had ridiculous distances, was all about. Most assumed you had a break after the swim and a break after the bike, or that it wasn’t all on one day.” The pair was thrown a number of curveballs during that first race, which have become well-told stories in Ironman circles. There was Jeff Montgomery who hid on the beach while the swim was on then hitched a ride in a car for half of the bike course. Another competitor, who went by the name Cowman Cowman, had a bovine alter ego with bells all over his bike and a Viking helmet with fur and horns. A wedding at Mission Bay on the day prior was marred by the delivery of portaloos for the race, just as the bride was arriving. Waiters served glasses of beer, courtesy of sponsor DB, to competi- tors as they crossed the finish line. Inaugural 35-39 age group winner Chip Salaun was reported missing from Mt Cook following the race and was honoured with a memorial tro- phy, only to be sighted years later in his native United States. However, the event went without a hitch, and the quality of the NZ race has also become legendary. “We had back-up plans all the way along in case things went wrong,” says Faulding. “There was an overall culture that Ironman stood for excel- lence, athletically for the competi- tors and organisationally for those involved. That came from the top and Paul setting the tone.” The men’s race was won by USA’s Scott “The Terminator” Molina, and Kiwi Michelle Gammie was the women’s winner. World champion Dave Scott withdrew on the demand- ing bike course. “Auckland didn’t know what had hit it,” says Gleeson. “We told the public what we thought it would be like, but they couldn’t believe seeing Molina with his hands in the air hav- ing done the bike, and then finishing the marathon without any sweat on him.” Gleeson stayed on as race direc- tor for 18 years, overseeing the move to Taupo, while Faulding has now experienced the event from every perspective. “I’ve been on the sponsorship side, a competitor, organiser, and now I’m coach of professional Matt Burgess,” says Faulding. “I simply had a pas- sion and love for Ironman and still do. It’s been a good journey.” Gleeson says: “Of all the things I’ve done over the years, it’s the one event I enjoyed the most and got the most pleasure out of.” Recalling dawn of Ironman NZ REMINISCING: Inaugural Ironman New Zealand organisers Paul Gleeson, left, and Rick Faulding. Times photo Daniel Silverton As Ironman New Zealand celebrates 30 years with a record field for this Saturday’s race in Taupo, Times Sport reporter Daniel Silverton talks to the two men responsible for establishing the iconic event.
Howick and Pakuranga Times Thursday February 20
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