Phuket Sports: No pipe dream for IronKid

PHUKET: This week’s featured IronKid is 10-year-old Australian Ben McMillan. Ben entered his first triathlon when he was six years old and he is so passionate about the event that he asked for a running coach for his 10th birthday.

Phuket Gazette: Why do you compete in IronKids?

Ben McMillan: I really love the sport and I like nothing better than to be out training with my friends. Whenever friends come to my house, we always play mini triathlons in the yard or go on bike rides.

I am also extremely lucky because I train at Thanyapura and there are some amazing, supportive athletes who train there. These athletes make me try to be a better athlete.

What’s your training schedule like?

I train five to six days per week. Although this sounds like a lot, sometimes training is short and sharp and normally lasts between 45 minutes to one and a half hours; except Wednesdays when I swim for one hour and then head to the track to do sprint training with the adult triathletes.

My normal week comprises of three afternoon swim sessions; two days per week running (one day sprint work and one day long run); one bike ride per week, although I have increased this recently to two rides, and Saturday mornings I normally join my dad in a ‘dynamic fit’ session at the gym, which focuses on all around body work and uses techniques such as plyometric progression (common plyometric actions include throwing or swinging a golf club/bat), skipping and squat jumps.

Which is your favorite part of the IronKids race – swim, bike or run?

Definitely the run.

Why the run?

I have a real passion for running and it certainly comes easy for me.

One day I hope to become a champion runner and my goal is to make the Olympics.

I also love to watch running movies. I find them quite inspiring. My favorites are Without Limits, which is about the legendary American runner Steve Prefontaine, and Chariots of Fire.

Which is your hardest part of the IronKids race – swim, bike, run?

No real soft area, but maybe the bike.

Why do you find the bike harder?

Lack of training; although I am working on this much more and feel that it is certainly improving every week.

What do you hope to achieve at this year’s IronKids?
I would like to get a faster time than I did in the last IronKids event. I love to run and I want to make sure that when I cross the finish line I have used up all my energy.

What other sports do you play?

I am in the Silverfinz swim team, which is really good fun and we get to travel to competitions.

I would like to play more rugby but I don’t have much time – my teachers expect me to fit in some homework.

I also love doing athletics, especially hurdles, so I hope to have an opportunity to work more on this.

On the weekends, I love throwing a baseball in the backyard.

When did you start competing in sporting events?

I have always loved sports and I started playing football when I was five, I did my first triathlon when I was six.

My parents say that ever since I was a baby I could not keep still, so I have always been very active.

Why do you like them (sporting events)?

I love to compete, even if I don’t win I still love competing and pushing myself to achieve better times. I also love going to events and meeting new people.

Who are your favorite athletes?

I have two favorite athletes: Steve Prefontaine (legendary runner) and Jurgen Zack (legendary Ironman and great coach).

My favorite sporting teams are the Wallabies (Australian rugby team) and the San Francisco Giants (baseball team). I watched two Giants games this year, which were amazing.

What does being an IronKid mean to you?

Being an IronKid allows me to have new challenges in life and helps me to reach my long term goals.

I love how people in this sport are very focused. I know that if I train well and keep setting goals, I can achieve anything I want.

The 2012 IronKids Phuket Championship race will be held on December 1 at Thanyapura Sports and Leisure Club. This event is sponsored by The Nation, the Phuket Gazette, PGTV and the Phuket Today show on UBC/True Visions (Channel 99).

— Andrew Scott

Phuket News
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