Athlete extraordinaire pushes himself past breaking point

TRIATHLON: Killarney police office Adam Fox was so determined to qualify for the Ultraman World Championship in Hawaii, he swam against an elastic band in a pool at Chillagoe as part of his preparation.

He qualified for one of the toughest events on earth and finished 14th in a field of 40 in Hawaii with a total time of 28 hours, one minute, after swimming 10km, cycling 421km and running 84.4km.

Fox moved to Killarney six months ago after starting his preparation when stationed at Chilligoe, three hours west of Cairns in North Queensland.

There was only a 12m pool at Chilligoe and Fox tied himself to an elastic band attached to the end of the pool so he could swim in the one spot.

"The longest I swam with the band was just more than one hour," he said.

With the only bitumen roads in the area in town, cycling was tough so there was a lot of work on a stationary bike.

"My longest ride on the stationary bike was eight hours," he said.

Running was no problem as there were a lot of dirt tracks and trails in the area.

GREAT EFFORT: Killarney police officer Adam Fox was 14th in the Ultraman Hawaii, a world championship event over three days.
GREAT EFFORT: Killarney police officer Adam Fox was 14th in the Ultraman Hawaii, a world championship event over three days. Contributed

Training was easier after he moved to Killarney six months ago. He has plenty of run and bike options and swims up to 9km in sessions at WIRAC.

After competing in triathlons as a junior, Fox gave the sport away before returning to cycling in 2006 and triathlon in 2009.

He moved up to ultra events in 2013.

Fox had to qualify for Hawaii and was one of four Australians who competed in an event that is largely a circuit of the island.

He finished 14th overall and third among the Australians in what was an open world championship.

Fox took a while to think when asked about the toughest parts of Ultraman Hawaii but came up with the 60km mark of the double marathon on a long stretch of highway on a hot day as one such time.

"It is easier closer to the end, once you have only five to eight kilometres to go, you can see the finish line," he said.

"The toughest moment was not physical, I was riding in a group of three and a Canadian rider in front had a really bad accident, including a fractured skull. We were with him for 45 minutes helping keep his airways clear as he received attention and didn't feel like going on after that. He has just gone home with a good long-term prognosis."

The second day in Hawaii was tough as the final 35km ride to Volcano was one long climb in late November.

"The ride was tougher than riding from Killarney to Queen Mary Falls but not as steep," he said.

With one Ultraman under his belt, Fox isn't planning another just yet.

"My wife Rebecca and I have four children under 10 and I want to spend more time with my family," he said.

"I won't do anything crazy until the kids get a bit older."

Many ultra athletes don't peak until their early 40s so at age 35 Fox has time on his side.

The only crazy thing he will do next year is compete in Ironman Australia at Port Macquarie in May and the Glasshouse 100 Mile Trail Run in September but both events will seem like a run in the park after Ultraman Hawaii.

As for why he puts his body through what many would describe as torture, Fox said training and competing were enjoyable.

"It makes me feel good to do something different," Fox said.

Ultraman Hawaii

Day 1 - 10km ocean swim from Kailua Bay to Keauhou Bay, 145km cycle leg to Volcanoes National Park (vertical climb 1219m).

Day 2 - 276km cycle leg from Volcanoes to Hawi (vertical climb 1829m)

Day 3 - 84.4km double marathon from Hawi to Old Kona Airport State Recreation Area.

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