Shannon Eckstein wins fourth national ironman title
8 years, 2 months ago Posted in: News 0

SO easily did Shannon Eckstein win yesterday’s national ironman title, he even had time to kiss wife Belinda and mum Donna on the way to hoisting the winner’s tape at Kurrawa Beach yesterday.

The talk all week had been about how Ky Hurst, holder of four national ironman titles, wanted a fifth and was in peak condition after last month winning his way to the world swim titles in Shanghai in July for the 10km race.

There were some sizeable waves but the Northcliffe champion Eckstein picked his way through the swim, ski and board sections to lead from start to finish.

Hurst loomed up close in the ski by catching a larger wave back to the beach, but couldn’t catch Eckstein in the end.

Eckstein now has four national ironman titles to draw level with Hurst and all-time great Grant Kenny.

Out in front of the pack is Surfers Paradise legend Trevor Hendy with six.

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Hurst’s ironman title was in 2002 before he took a break from the surf to concentrate on trying to make the Olympic Games in swimming.

“Ky was sort of a bit before my time, but he’s a big name in this sport and was at his best right now,” Eckstein said.

“I read somewhere this week he really wanted to win this one so that really motivated me.

“Some people have said I haven’t been racing well this season, but I’ve won the world title and Kellogg’s series, now the Aussie, and (brother) Caine won the Coolangatta Gold so we kept in all the family, which is nice.

 “It has been a long year and I have struggled at times, but I entered this week knowing I don’t have to race now until December (Kellogg’s series), so that’s a big off-season for me.”

Not far behind Hurst was the younger Eckstein who also competes for the Kurrawaclub, two beaches south of Northcliffe.

Shannon Eckstein set himself a herculean program with eight events at the Australian surf titles.

“I got seven medals and a DQ (disqualified) in the ski relay, so it’s all been pretty good. It’s so nice to finish with the ironman win _ that’s pretty special.”

Last year’s drowning of Saxon Bird, 19, was remembered with the awarding of a memorial trophy in his name to the men’s under-19 ironman winner.

It appropriately went to a friend and former competitor of Bird’s, Tynan Lyndon (Northcliffe), who was presented with the gold cup by Bird’s father Phil and sister Arielle.

“I was pretty good mates with him, we’d raced together over the years, and I knew him quite well,” Lyndon said. “It’s just an honour to win a race for him.”

Arielle was a competent ironwoman, but gave the sport away after her brother’s death.

“It just didn’t mean that much any more,” she said.

“It’s been very upsetting to come back, but so many people have supported us.

“It has also been really special because Saxon was such a competitor, a really great guy, and a wonderful role model.

“He was my best friend. It’s nice they’ve done something to remember him by because we’ll never forget him.”

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