Ironman Ivan pushing limits

Ironman Ivan pushing limits
Ivan Kelleher with his two daughters, Aoibheann and Clodagh, at Challenge Copenhagen in 2011

FROM Information Technology (IT) to Ironman (IM) racing, 46-year-old Ivan Kelleher likes to push the boundaries in everything he turns his hand to.

Technical Director of his own IT company, Ivan has also somehow managed to find the time to complete six Iron distance races over the past 10 years since he first took up triathlons in 2008.

The Cork Triathlon Club (CTC) member said the key to achieving his many and varied goals is to be organised and follow a program.

“The key is to have a plan. With a plan, you can arrange your week/month/year around family events,” Ivan said.

At the moment the married father of two is putting in 17 hours of training to be ready for Youghal on June 23.

“I try to do three swims, four bike sessions, five runs and two core sessions every week - some of the sessions are combined together into what we call a ‘brick’ so all that adds up to 12 different sessions every week.” 

The IT expert said that he trains twice a day every day, except Monday, which is normally his day off.

“If I’ve had a bad few previous days training or maybe I’m going to miss a few sessions in the coming week, I might then train on a Monday,” Ivan said.

“I’m not a bad swimmer so if I have to drop a session because I’m feeling tired or just can’t fit something in, then it’ll be a swim - it’s my favourite but sometimes something has to give!” 

For Ironman Youghal, Ivan said he is working hard on improving his cycling to get around the intense 180km bike course in East Cork.

“My priority is bike fitness. 

Ivan Kelleher
Ivan Kelleher

"Being strong on the bike means that you should have the energy for the run, which is key to a good time.

Ironically, the veteran Ironman told The Echo he had always vowed to never complete an Ironman race in Ireland, because the roads are too bad, but said after a few tough Iron distance races he came around.

“The road course is really growing on me,” Ivan said.

“It’s much faster than I first thought.” 

Discussing why he enjoys competing in Iron distance races, Ivan said, for him, the harder the course the better.

“At first, it was about pushing me and my body. Understanding how hard I could push myself - it is amazing.

“Then, once I figured out that I was never going to win one, it moved to experiences. 

"It’s about scenery, location and a tough honest course. 

"It marks a year.” 

Looking ahead to race day, Ivan said he is most worried about the weather.

“You can’t prepare for it and it can make or break you,” Ivan said.

“Strong winds and/or rain will have a massive influence on your day. 

"You can train for the rest.” 

Taking in the enormity of the task at hand, Ivan admitted it can be tough going at times, training all hours of the day, but said it was all part of the challenge.

“It can become a bit of a slog, but it is what you have been signed up for! 

"It is very important to enjoy the training and try to find training partners that motivate and support you.” 

Ivan also said his wife Frankie and two daughters, Aoibheann and Clodagh, were very understanding and this was imperative to his ability to train and enjoy racing.

“I couldn’t do it without an understanding wife and family,” Ivan said.

In terms of being an Ironman athlete, Ivan said it is something that is very achievable with a bit of planning, preparation, organisation and determination.

“Anyone can do an Ironman. 

"I wouldn’t necessarily advise doing an Ironman as your first triathlon, but it’s certainly very addictive.”

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