After a successful summer racing the Kiwi classics at home, IRONMAN Mark Bowstead is returning to IRONMAN Australia (5 May), keen to test his new found running legs on the Port Macquarie course and determined to take an extra step or two further up the podium.

The Auckland based athlete, originally got into triathlon as a youngster for a bit of fun and a change of lifestyle, but he quickly realised he had a talent for swim/bike/run.

“I started triathlon at the age of 11 and I was a big computer gamer and had put on a fair bit, so I initially did it just to lose weight. After winning 20-24 age group at Long Distance worlds in Perth (2009), I decided that after I finished my University degree in Chemical and Material Engineering, I would give being a full time pro a crack. I did the Hy-Vee non drafting stuff for a while then primarily 70.3’s before moving up to IRONMAN in 2016, at IRONMAN New Zealand. I had a great first race, finishing in the top ten and going 8.29 on debut.”

Recovering from ITB surgery in late 2017, Mark’s 2018 started on a confidence boosting third place in Port Macquarie that inspired him to madly chase the much needed points to give him a shot at a Kona dream.

“After IRONMAN Australia I went to IRONMAN Frankfurt where I placed eighth, but I still needed more points. So, I tried to race again three weeks later at IRONMAN Whistler but that didn’t go so well. I placed eighth there also, but it was a slow tough day.”

Three IRONMAN races in three months plus all the travel was a massive undertaking that left Mark exhausted, desperately in need of a break and out of contention for the IRONMAN World Championship.

“My off season was August-October and I didn’t do much, which was nice. Training for the New Zealand season went quite well and I placed fourth in Taupo 70.3, third in the New Zealand half champs and sixth at IRONMAN NZ (8.25).”

Mark said his big goal for this year is to retain his love for the sport and he is looking forward to returning to Port Macquarie.

“I lost It a little last year and wasn’t enjoying myself. This year I want to be on the start-line fresher. I have also put a little less emphasis on the New Zealand racing with the hope to travel and race longer in the year.”

“Lots of things are driving me this year. I got married in Feb and that was an amazing day. I am very motivated to keep improving over the IRONMAN distance and I am especially motivated to get my marathon time down.”

“To do better than last year at Port Macquarie is a big goal, so that leaves only second or first. To run a 2.50 or faster is definitely a goal. I went 2.54 at IRONMAN New Zealand so that was a good start.”

“I really liked the IRONMAN Australia tough honest course with roads like we ride all the time in New Zealand and awesome support on the run. I really like the smaller town IRONMAN, the locals are fully behind it and there is so much support. It’s a bit like Taupo, which I love.”

“I did enjoy myself there last year but it helps when you have a good race. I had a great swim/bike last year, but I believe in myself a lot more this year. I am confident in all three disciplines and I have stayed injury free for my longest period since racing IRONMAN, which will definitely help,” Mark said.

IRONMAN Australia is an important World Championship Qualifying Race, offering 40 standard qualifying slots for the original and most famous long distance triathlon in the world, the IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

On 5 May, viewers across the world will be able to join in the live IRONMAN Australia action in Port Macquarie with coverage available globally on Facebook Watch via the IRONMAN Now Facebook Page www.facebook.com/IRONMANnow

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