With his 60th birthday closing in, Mick Hewson decided he needed a new challenge in life—both mentally and physically.
The Kelowna man expects to get his fill of both when he competes this summer in his first ever Ironman Canada triathlon.
On July 30 in Whistler, along with more than 1,300 other competitors, Hewson will take on the considerable demands of a 3.8-km swim, 180-km bike ride and 42.2-km run.
A team sport athlete all his life, Hewson felt the time was right to put his personal strength and resolve to the test.
“I’ve never challenged myself like this as an individual person,” said Hewson, who moved to Kelowna from Vancouver in 2014. “When you’re in a team environment you rely on other people and they rely on you…you can kind of take a breather.
“With (triathlon) you’ve got to go for it. There’s no one else to depend on, it’s all on you. That’s what’s appealing about it.”
Undaunted by the heavy training schedule, Hewson began his regime in the pool in December, swimming three to four times per week. In the months since, he has added extensive training sessions both running and on the bike and is gaining strength, stamina and confidence with each passing week.
“It’s been a progressional thing, phenomenal really,” said Hewson, who has played rugby much of his life. “I’m doing a little bit extra each time out, and looking back just a few months, I would have never been able to do the things I’m doing now.
“It’s been a real path of self discovery for me.”
Hewson’s primary objective for his first Ironman Canada is to finish before midnight, getting in before the 17-hour cutoff time.
“I would really like to finish by 10 in the evening but that might be too much to ask. I just want to finish before midnight, before the massage therapist goes home, so I can get a free massage,” Hewson added with a laugh.
Hewson, a former member of the British Air Force who is now semi-retired and drives a school bus part-time, hopes Ironman Canada will be the first of many challenges he conquers over the next decade.
Next year, Hewson has plans to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.