Richard Sewell's triathlon career looked to be finished in 2016 when he was involved in a horrific crash while on a training ride near Coolongolook.
To this day Sewell doesn't know what caused the accident. Or more to the point, how he survived and then made a full recovery.
"All I remember is going over the handle bars and headbutting the road,'' Sewell, now 52, said.
"I was doing about 70kph at the time.''
His injuries were severe.
"I fractured my skull in eight places, broke ribs, punctured my lung, broke an eye socket in four places and a couple of minor things, like tearing the tendon away from my ankle,'' he said.
It took him a full 12 months to recover. And while he was going through rehab, Sewell was determined to return to triathlon. It helped in the at times painful process.
"I think fitness saved my life,'' he reasoned.
"So I wanted to get back into it again.''
He was good to his word for on Saturday he'll be in St George in Utah, USA for the World 70.3 (half ironman triathlon). He qualified from the Australian race held at Port Macquarie earlier in the year.
Sewell will contest the 50 to 55 years age group. His daughter, Emma, races today (Friday), having won the 18-24 years division at Port, gaining an automatic start in the world race.
Sewell said he had no expectations when he set off in the 1.9km swim at Port. This is followed by a 90km bike and finished with a 21.1km run.
"I didn't really think I'd be competitive - this was my first major race since the accident,'' Sewell explained.
"I'd really only been training for fitness, not to race.''
However he finished in what he described as a respectable 4 hours 55.
"I was eighth in my division,'' he said.
"The first five qualify, but three had already qualified, so I was moved up. I've sort of done a Bradbury.''
He's a five time veteran of the World Ironman Triathlon held in Kona, Hawaii. He last competed there in 2015, the year before the accident.
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He's always maintained the worst part was training during winter for the race that's held mid-October.
However, preparation for Utah was been a bit easier, he said, because he had a training partner - Emma.
"Some mornings we didn't say too much, but it was good to have company,'' he said.
Sewell understands the course in Utah will be undulating for the run and bike while the swim will be in a reservoir. If he can replicate his time from the Australian race, he'll be happy.
And he hasn't ruled out having a crack at another ironman race and maybe even qualifying for Kona.
"I'll see how I go in this first in Utah,'' Sewell said.
"But you never say never.''
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