The IRONMAN in Australia Hall of Fame has welcomed two new members, with Craig Alexander and Glenn Gorick inducted at a ceremony in Port Macquarie on Friday.
Alexander and Gorick became the 19th and 20th inductees respectively, now sitting alongside those who have made a significant and lasting impact on IRONMAN in Australia over the years.
Craig “Crowie” Alexander is one of Australia’s best-known triathletes, having had success at the highest level throughout his career.
Alexander won the prestigious IRONMAN World Championship on three occasions, in 2008, 2009 and 2011, and the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in 2006 and 2011.
“It’s very nice, obviously it’s a great recognition and a great honour, particularly considering we have such a rich history in this country in triathlon,” said Alexander. “It’s kind of a surreal feeling, you hear about the Hall of Fame and it’s so important. It’s great recognition for myself and my family and the things that I was able to accomplish throughout my career.
“When they told me I was excited, I just think it’s really nice recognition, I had a long career and I think when you’ve done something that impacts other people and you get recognised for it it’s a nice feeling,” he said.
Alexander became just the fourth person to defend his IRONMAN World Championship title when he went back-to-back in 2008 and 2009, and the first person to win both the IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships in 2011.
When asked which race stood out as a favourite, Alexander struggled to pick one.
“That’s kind of like asking me to choose between my kids,” said Alexander. “Depending what day or what’s happening you’ll get a different answer. The World Championships were all memorable, the first time when you win one, and then when you win again it’s more validation because you think maybe the first time was luck.
“Sometimes it’s the performances that people don’t know about that standout in your memory, the ones that made you improve, or change things up and led to better things down the road,” he said. “It’s all a journey, every race I did I got something positive out of it, even if it was a shocking performance, I think they’re all important because they all form part of the jigsaw puzzle that makes up your career. You don’t have all the great victories without some of the heartbreaking performances.”
Alexander is a part of this weekend’s National Storage IRONMAN Australia as an ambassador, and is enjoying spending time talking with athletes, spectators, and the local community.
“When you’re racing you can’t see the forest for the trees sometimes, you’re so focused on the training and the next race and the performance, breaking that down and analysing it and moving forward, you’re just stuck in that cycle of performance, and what gets lost on you is how it does affect other people and I must say that’s the thing that I like the most now, when you receive messages on social media, or people come up to you and say they saw you at a certain race and it made them want to get into the sport,” he said. “Things like that for me now mean more than all the other stuff, it’s kind of a selfish experience being an athlete, but if you’ve been able to impact other people in a positive way it gives me a nice feeling about my whole career that maybe I impacted some other people positively, or maybe inspired some younger kids to get in and have a crack.”
Glenn Gorick’s involvement in IRONMAN in Australia is significant and touches all areas of the sport, with his contribution stretching from being both a professional and Age Group athlete, to an administrator, disabled athlete guide and charity fundraiser.
Glenn’s first IRONMAN was IRONMAN Australia in 1990, with him quickly becoming a professional triathlete and taking on the world’s best from 1993 through to 1998. Since then he’s raced as an Age Group athlete events which included winning four Australian age group championships, contesting 27 IRONMAN Australian races and placing him ninth overall in the event’s Legends list and giving him a finish time in every bracket from 8hrs to 16 hrs.
“It was quite a shock when I received the call, it was a bit surreal but it’s sunk in now, it’s a massive honour to be included in that amazing group of people, I kind of feel out of place a bit but I feel very proud and very flattered that I was chosen as an inductee,” said Gorick. “It’s been a real journey, I was never a long course athlete, I was racing short course as a professional, and in 1990 got a call up with a week to go for IRONMAN Australia that year. I was highly underdone at that stage, I went up there in 1990 and have been coming back ever since.”
In 2010 Gorick assisted Tony Abbott with his IRONMAN Australia preparations, raising significant funds for the McGrath foundation. Gorick is also well known for his exploits of having a bit of fun during IRONMAN Australia, often completing the run leg in fancy dress. In 2003 and 2004 he appeared as the 1980’s icon “Arthur Dunger” and 1990’s icon “Reg Reagan” respectively, wearing nothing but thongs in the entire run leg. If completing an IRONMAN was not hard enough on its own and even harder in thongs, Gorick upped the ante and in 2015 for charity taking on the run in full Police trail bike kit including full body armour and a pair of very cumbersome trailbike boots.
“I will say I did win four National Age Group Championships and placed in the pointy end of the race, I did alright at the front end of the race but no one remembers that anymore, it’s the running of thongs in the marathon leg, it’s funny what you get remembered for,” said Gorick. “I was averaging 9 hours for every race and I needed to take some time away from being serious about it, I reached Legend status and I decided to make my 11th race more memorable and do the marathon leg as a bit of fun dressed up. I met a lot of people along the way on that run, locals and others, it was just a fun time to do something a bit different.”
Gorick was the guide for blind triathlete Nathan Johnston on a number of occasions with the pair racing at IRONMAN Australia in 2013 and 2014, IRONMAN Melbourne in 2014 and then the IRONMAN World Championship in 2015 where Johnston finished second in his division.
“It’s been a real journey with Nathan and it’s been an absolute privilege to tell you the truth that he picked me to help him because I learnt so much about him and how people cope when they are faced with disabilities and how they overcome any adversity, it’s been a massive honour and something that is massively inspiring to see someone like him go on do great things,” said Gorick
With the ongoing effects of the COVID pandemic meaning that IRONMAN Australia has not been able to be held since 2019, Gorick is looking forward to finally returning to the event this Sunday.
“Having not done an IRONMAN for the last few years I feel like it’s my first one again. I’m in pretty good shape swimming and riding wise, just not running,” he said. “Anything better than a finish is a bonus, that was Greg Welch’s first words to me back in 1990, I’ve stuck to that even when I was racing flat out. I’ll be doing that again, just enjoying the day, it’s number 28. In an IRONMAN you can be the best prepared athlete for the race at all levels, you can be in the best nick, thinking you’re going to have a great day and it turns out terrible, you’ve got to hang in there and finish it anyway, but you can also be in really bad shape and think you’re underdone and have an outstanding race, it’s never predictable, you just have to have some belief in yourself in these things and get through them.”
For more on the IRONMAN in Australia Hall of Fame visit: https://www.ironman.com/im-australia-history