TRIATHLETE Richard Sewell will face the starter in the world championship ironman in Kona, Hawaii for the fourth time on Saturday, October 20.
The 42-year-old from Cundletown made his debut in the world's toughest race in 2000. He returned in 2005 and 2008, when he clocked his best time of 9 hours 55.
This year he'll be in the 40-44 year age bracket.
He booked a berth for Kona with a sizzling effort in the Australian Ironman event held in Port Macquarie in May when he was 14th overall, finishing the 3.8km swim, 180km bike and 42.2km run in a time of 9 hours 29.18.
He likens his preparation for Kona to that of Port.
"It's been pretty well perfect,'' he said.
"We had a warm winter and not much rain. I hardly missed a session.''
Sewell estimates he was clocking 450km a week training on the bike with 15 to 20km in the pool while he was running 45-80km.
He trained twice a day, six days a week.
"I had Sundays off to spend with the family,'' he said.
Sewell is reluctant to nominate a time he'll clock in Kona.
"With Hawaii first and foremost is to finish,'' he said.
He said the weather can toss in so many variables.
"It'll be hot but the winds are the biggest thing, especially on the bike,'' he said.
"I went 9.55 last time, so something around there would be good.''
While he said all aspects of the race are arduous, Sewell nominated the bike and the back end of the marathon as the toughest.
"Coming off the bike and into the run is always hard the temperatures are usually 35 to 37 degrees.''
The bike and run legs both traverse lava fields, which only adds to the pain.
He's contested half marathons at the Gold Coast and Forster-Tuncurry as part of his build-up.
Sewell and his family will spend a week in Hawaii in holiday mode after the race and he'll have a bit of a break from training when he returns home.
He'll miss the Port Macquarie half ironman later this month.
"We arrive home that day the only way I'd be able to race is if I parachute out,'' he smiled.
This is a qualifier for the Australian ironman next year, but Sewell isn't interested in racing there anyway in 2014.
"There's the challenge half ironman at Forster on November 24, so that'll probably be the first race I'll go in after we get home,'' he said.
He will make a decision on what other events he contests this season after that.
While this will be his fourth journey around the course at Hawaii, it won't necessarily be his last.
"You never say never,'' he said.
"I enjoy racing the ironman in Hawaii. I'd like to go back again one day.''