Horsham's Kelly Miller came away with a stellar result at the Ironman World Championships, finishing sixth overall in her age group.
Miller completed the course in 10 hours and 28 minutes, to finish as the highest-ranked Australian in her women's 40-44 age group.
"I felt I had the best possible race I could have asked for. My body felt good, and I was able to push myself and race with a positive attitude the whole day," she said.
"The race was a celebration of all the hard work and sacrifices made in order to make it to the start line. Although my three children were not at the race, they were my biggest motivation to finish what I started, and I thought of them every single mile.
"Placing in the top 10 in the world for my age group absolutely blew my expectations and finishing as the first Australian in my age group was overwhelming.
"I finished as the fifth Australian woman in the overall women's field, including 2 Australian professionals."
Competitors powered through a 3.8km swim, before taking on the 180km bike leg and a 42km run.
"We had to swim out 200 metres to the start where we tread water for five minutes before our wave started. There were over 250 athletes in my wave. The first 300 metres of the swim were challenging to find your own space," Miller said. "The heat, humidity and intense trade winds were challenging riding down towards Hawaii. I had to really concentrate and stay as relaxed and focused as I could.
"Running along the lava fields on the Queen Ka'ahumanu Highway was like nothing I'd experienced before with the intense heat and humidity. The aid stations were approximately 2km apart, and they were a godsend, cooling me down as they offered wet sponges and ice water."
Miller said it was "surreal" to have completed a bucket-list race.
"The experience was phenomenal. Kona is truly a magical place and to be able to line up with the best athletes in the world was a dream come true," she said.
"I just want to thank my husband and three kids, I couldn't do it without them. My mum who has travelled and supported me and my brother and niece who travelled from Singapore to watch the race. Also, my coach Darren Franken and club Elite Triathlon Performance Australia. And my friends and all those who trained with me, and I was overwhelmed with the local business support and those who helped me raise funds for the trip."
Miller will take some well-deserved rest, before setting her sights on her next competition.
"For now, it's all about recovery and celebrating with my family and friends when I arrive home."
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