GLOBE TROTTER Tom Creedon needed something to occupy his spare time after moving back to Cork following 10 years in Asia working as a stockbroker.
Now training up at a chef, with the view to opening his own restaurant, Tom is three weeks out from his first triathlon, which just so happens to be Ironman Youghal.
Tom, 37, who is taking on the arduous task of a 4km swim, a 160km cycle followed by a marathon run (42.2km) with his two cousins Richard and Robin.
“I choose Youghal primarily because my cousins Richard and Robin Creagh had already signed up,” Tom said.
Richard, 41, an accomplished triathlete with two Ironman races under his belt, was the catalyst for the trio signing up for the race.
“Richard started nagging me about doing the Ironman. I’m healthy and in good shape, so I eventually said, why not?” Tom said although he has no experience of doing a triathlon, he is confident in reaching the finish line.
“It will be my first triathlon, but I know it can be done because my cousin has done it. That leads me to believe it can be done.”
Tom said for him, the real challenge and battle is not the physical elements of the race, more the discipline to endure the pain that goes hand in hand with the lengthy race.
“It is not just a race, it is not an athletic achievement, there is the mental side to it, proving something to yourself, going to a dark place and being comfortable with it.” The trainee chef, who started training for Ironman Youghal in August 2018, said he hadn’t been on a bike since he was 12, had never run a 5km race, but was a competent swimmer.
Tom said he is not following a particular plan and has been increasing his distance and training over the weeks and months prior to Youghal.
Despite complaining of constant tiredness, hunger, and aching pain, Tom said he is delighted he signed up for the Cork Ironman.
“My body and mind are in a great place. It has been a challenge, but to be honest, the kind of lifestyle I am achieving is amazing. It focuses the mind and gets you out training when you don’t want to. I wouldn’t do all the training I am doing if I wasn’t training for an Ironman.” Tom, who gave up smoking in line with his training in January, said he feels a lot healthier and is following a better lifestyle than he used to.
“Sporadic nights out are no longer a thing, but I don’t miss them, the hangover isn’t worth it. Instead, I'm up at 7am on the weekends, cycling or running.” The training triathlete said the challenge has also brought him closer to his cousins Richard and Robin who is training and racing with.
On the day, Tom said he has a multitude of worries from getting a puncture to race nutrition and of course the ultimate fear of not finishing.
“I’ve never done anything like this before, there is a lot of unknown elements but I am going to give it everything I have got.” While Tom trains a lot with his cousins and the Cork Triathlon Club, he said he also does a bit by himself and enjoys the discipline in it.
“It definitely focuses the mind. I lost my dad when I was very young and I think of him when I am training when I am running and cycling, I think of him.” After the race, Tom said he would be taking a week off to let the body heal up before getting back into training.
“Once I cross the finish line, I will wait for my two cousins to cross the line so the three of us can celebrate together… and after a week or so off, I will get back to training and prepare for the Middle Distance triathlon The Lost Sheep, which is in Kenmare in August.” Tom said this Ironman will be the first of many for him.
“This will the first of many Ironman races to come, I love the discipline, the lifestyle, the health benefits that come with constantly training and pushing my body to the extreme.”