Three locals among 3000 Ironman competitors

Darren Franken, Jenny Kelly and Genevieve Pape are off to Queensland for the first ever 70.3 World Championship Ironman event. 158105

By Justin Flynn

Three super-fit locals will converge on Mooloolaba in early September for the first ever Ironman 70.3 World Championships.
Ocean Grovers Genevieve Pape and Darren Franken and Jenny Kelly from Point Lonsdale have qualified for the event, which is ‘by qualification only’, meaning you can’t just turn up and expect to race.
The ’70.3’ represents how many miles the event is in duration – 1.9km swim, 90km cycle and a 21km run.
Darren will compete in the 45-49-year-old male group, Genevieve is in the 50-54 female category and Jenny will tackle the 60-64 female bracket.
Genevieve missed out on qualifying when she competed in the Geelong lead-up event and instead had to travel to Busselton, WA, to earn her ticket to the Sunshine Coast.
“I got sent the wrong way on the run,” she said.
“So after a bit of red tape, I eventually got accepted to compete in WA and managed to qualify.”
Around 3000 athletes from 70 countries will compete in the event, which is being held for the first time in Australia.
Genevieve, who owns Genevieve’s Hair & Beauty, said she would be competing on the very day she opened her business 25 years ago. She said she would dedicate her performance for all her loyal customers over the years.
Conditions in southeast Queensland will be tough for the Victorian competitors.
“It’s very hard for the Victorian athletes going up there to compete,” Jenny said.
“There’s no shade and the temperatures are higher than what we are used to at this time of year.”
The trio have been training hard for the event, and all three have different goals.
Darren is a serious contender and a bit of a quiet achiever, Genevieve admits she has a “competitive edge” and will balance that with also enjoying the experience and Jenny is “doing it for the fun and just to finish”.
Both women count the run as their strongest leg while Darren feels most at home on the bike.