When 37 year-old Ashley Te Whare first entered the half Ironmāori triathlon in 2011, he thought it’d be his last.
“I wasn’t very fit and I hadn’t even trained properly,” he says. “But I was determined to give it a go.”
Five years later, Ashley has dropped a whopping 60kg, and completed six Ironmāori events around the country.
“Ironmāori actually saved my life. It helped me to develop an appreciation for myself, and dared me to set goals I would never have dreamed possible. It eventually became a stepping stone into Ironman NZ, which I’ve competed in three times now.”
Ashley recalls experiencing the life-changing epiphany as he was walking along Queen Street in Auckland’s CBD.
Getting fit again
“I was walking up the hill, and I stopped to pull out my phone. Only I wasn’t really checking it; I had to stop because I was completely breathless.
“That’s when it hit me – I needed to lose weight. I wanted to get fit again.”
Ashley almost didn’t finish his first Ironmāori event after his bike tyre punctured and ripped, twice, during the 90km cycle leg. Fortunately his fellow participants pulled over to assist.
“Finishing that triathlon made me realise I could achieve anything I set my mind to. It’s scary to think what my life would be like now if I hadn’t made that finish line.”
In Auckland for the first time
The popular triathlon, which has been running successfully in Napier for the last seven years, is heading to Tāmaki Makaurau for the first time on 1 and 2 April thanks to support from Auckland Council.
With both adults and kids events available, as well as the option to register as a team, it’s a chance to get the whole whānau active.
Ashley says his Mum and Dad are to thank for his success.
“My parents were my greatest inspiration, and they always believed in me.
“Mum had this saying – ‘always finish what you start.’ And that’s exactly what I did.”