Former Australian Rules footballer Beau Waters knows what it is like to play sport at the highest level. On Sunday at SunSmart IRONMAN Western Australia, he will test himself in a very different sport.
The West Coast Eagles 2006 premiership player retired last year after 12 years and 103 games.
After watching his wife compete for the last four years, Waters was inspired post-retirement to dip his toe into the IRONMAN world.
“We have always said we would love to complete one together. An extension of that is the rewarding nature of; training together, watching each other improve, and working towards a common goal – that common goal is to beat each other,” he said.
“I also love the concept that we can travel the world participating in different events together and then take on a holiday.”
Waters is one of a growing number of retired AFL players taking on the challenge of an IRONMAN race.
“Being a professional footballer is as much a lifestyle choice as it is a profession. I still personally like to live a fit and healthy lifestyle and train on a regular basis. I am also most productive and mentally sharp when I feel physically fit and healthy,” he said.
“I also like the non-impact nature of the sport – particularly in my case.”
Former Port Adelaide Premiership player Michael Wilson qualified for and raced at the IRONMAN World Championship on Kailua Kona Hawaii in October, which is something Waters would love to one day emulate.
“I was definitely inspired by Michael. I watched him at Busso both years he competed and vicariously heard about his training routine through a dear friend of ours, Phil Walsh,” he said.
Walsh coached at both West Coast and Port Adelaide before being appointed Adelaide Football coach last year. Tragically he was murdered earlier this year.
“In terms of me going to Kona, let’s not count the chickens before they hatch – talking about Kona before I have actually even completed a full distance IRONMAN is like doing a pre-season with the Wembley fourths and wanting to play AFL (not that I want to discourage that dream but there are a few steps in-between,” he said.
As someone who has played sport as a professional, Waters is amazed at the access the average age grouper has to the elite IRONMAN athletes.
“It is one of the few sports in the world that as a first timer I can compete on the same course as the pro’s, this is both humbling and inspiring at the same time. These guys really need to be commended. There aren’t too many sports that you see the best in the world standing at the finish line at midnight cheering in the last competitors – they’re great ambassadors,” he said.
He’s also inspired by the different shapes, sizes and ages of those competing.
“I have fallen in love with hearing the ‘why’ different competitors are competing. Some of the stories are simply moving and bring goose bumps to the skin,” he said.
Over 1,700 age group athletes will be racing at the SunSmart IRONMAN Western Australia
SunSmart IRONMAN Western Australia is proudly supported by the State Government of Western Australia through Tourism WA, City of Busselton and Healthway in promoting the SunSmart message.
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