Michele Waldon's story
When your Mother and Father have both competed at a high level in water skiing, tennis, golf and then your 85 year old mother decides to take up running…you know you must have good athletic genes. Michele Waldon comes from a family that has taught her to never say ‘cant’. Read and be inspired by Michele’s journey as she takes us through being a Australian State Level Swimmer, 8 Ironman’s, 1 Kona World Championship, Winning gold in an Adventure Race and recently winning 2 Gold Medals in the Australian Marathon Kayak Championships.
HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN IRONMAN
At the age of 8 I started swimming and did this competitively until the age of 16. I placed at State level in butterfly, individual medley and went on to represent Queensland in the Australian age group championships. After having a break from swimming I had put on a lot of weight so I decided to take up jogging and riding my bike – a lot! A new sport had developed called “Triathlon” and I watched an event on TV called the Hawaiian Ironman. It was inspiring and I made it my goal from that day to compete in Hawaii. I did my first small triathlon and finished 2nd woman overall – I was hooked. I started competing and doing well on the triathlon circuit and decided to become a pro. I then went on to do a qualifying race, where all the top athletes came from all around the world. I came 6th in the elite category, which qualified me for the World Championships in Hawaii. In 1987 I competed in Hawaii and managed 10th in my age group. This was my last Ironman until 1996, as during that time I had my 2 children. In 1996 I decided to take on Ironman again. I then competed in Ironman in Australia for the next 8 years.
WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO TAKE UP ADVENTURE RACING AND KAYAKING
After my father had passed away and my 2 boys were all grown up, I was looking for other challenges. I was at a fitness convention and met a fellow who had a business training and motivating people to do an event called Coast to Coast in New Zealand. It is an iconic world adventure race held in New Zealand every February. I came home from the convention with a new plan. I contacted a friend of mine to discuss a tandem race team. I figured we would need 18 months of training for the event. The event consisted of Day 1 – 3km run, 55km cycle, 33km run, Day 2 – 15km cycle, 67km white water kayak, 70km cycle. We completed it in 20 hours and won Gold in the open Women’s tandem section. I then went on to individual kayaking and in May 2018 I competed in the Australian Marathon Kayak Championships and won 2 Gold medal
WHATS IN THE FUTURE FOR YOU NOW
I’m now in my 50’s and feel amazing. During all my sporting achievements and adventures I have worked, either part time when I was raising my boys and then full time for the past 15 years. I have worked in the fitness industry for most of my life, as I am not only passionate about my own health and fitness but that of anyone I come into contact with. I will still continue to set goals and write myself training programs. I will also continue spending time sharing my journey with the amazing women in my life, who are also strong, motivated and athletic. My current goals are to compete in another adventure race, improve my kayaking, compete in another Australian title and then qualify to compete in the World titles. It still amazes me when I compete in a race that I feel 15 again, you can’t beat that feeling no matter how much it hurts.