ALL bets are off but there will certainly be a rivalry when Mark and Karen Lourey compete in the Shepparton Half Ironman.
The Warrnambool husband-and-wife are hoping to beat each other across the finish line of the gruelling race tomorrow.
They have put in more than 20 weeks of training — the biggest had them swimming, riding and running for 15 hours — in preparation for their Shepparton debuts.
The Loureys’ half ironman bid started when their teenage children Jesse and Elle — both keen triathletes — encouraged them to sign up mid-year.
Karen, 44, was keen. Mark, 46, less so. But they accepted the challenge.
A training program developed by Warrnambool Triathlon Club (WTC) president Dean Picken got them going and “the rest is history”.
As the race has drawn closer, they have started to play out the day in their minds.
Mark, who has lost 12 kilograms training for the event, reckons he’ll have a small lead after the swim, which he should extend on the bike.
But he’s worried his legs won’t carry him on the run, and Karen, a stronger runner, will be chasing.
Six hours and 15 minutes is their target time for the 1.9-kilometre swim, 90-kilometre ride and 21.1-kilometre run.
“We would swim similar times. We argue what would happen in the swim,” Mark said.
“On the bike I’m a bit stronger but Karen is a much better runner than me.
“I should listen for footsteps. I’m hoping I have a lead on her before the run.
“And I’m very competitive so if I see him I’ll catch him,” Karen added.
The couple said having the same goal — to cross the finish line — had helped them stay motivated.
Both nominate cycling as their weakest leg, and have willed themselves to spend hours clocking up the kilometres on roads around Wangoom.
Swim sessions have been at AquaZone and they have used the Port Fairy-to-Warrnambool Rail Trail to run.
“It has been good. It’s good to have someone to do it with,” Mark said.
“And it would be really hard to understand, for the other person, if you did it on your own.
“At least you can talk about it, although Elle is sick of hearing about it.
“But it’s taken the pressure off.”
The Loureys are among more than 30 WTC members, and a 100-strong support crew, who will be at Shepparton tomorrow.
Most left Warrnambool yesterday and will use today to check over their bikes and equipment.