When David Sheridan (26) finishes his gruelling weekly 3-5 hour Saturday cycle, he is elated and energised. In his own words, he experiences a “buzz” and it is this that drives him to headier heights in his athletic adventures. Recently, the Longford father completed one of Europe’s toughest athletic competitions – Ironman Austria.
Over two thousand athletes from across 50 nations gathered on the Austrian city of Klagenfurt to take part in a competition that would see them swim 2.4 miles, cycle 112 miles, and run 26.2 miles. Among them were over 150 Irish athletes.
“I was 37th out of the water including 60 pro men and women and I was the first Irish person out of it which was probably my best stat of the day,” said David, a founder member of the Longford Triathlon Club.
He continued: “You could notice the heat there straight away. It wasn’t just hot. It was a bloody dead heat and hard to breathe. There were a couple of times during the run I thought that I might not finish it but Ciara (wife) was there shouting me on. She was so supportive. I ended up in a medical tent after I finished but I was only there for a short while.”
Looking at his time of 11:59, David accepts that it is admirable for a first Ironman.
“My time wasn’t too bad. Over 800 didn’t make it that far. I came number 800 out of 2,700 athletes. I was up there alright. It’s a landmark moment in my life and I only started doing triathlons two years ago,” said the young father who lives in Ardagh.
He added: “I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t want to do it again. I did Galway last year. That was a half one and I might do it again this year, I’m not sure.”
Alongside rigorous training of up to 20 hours per week, David also developed a strict diet which included big energy foods.
“These are foods like pasta and they are essential when you are doing exercise for long periods. In the week before the race you do a ‘carb overload’ where you eat a lot of bread and pasta etc. I knew that it was going to be a hot day in Austria so I also did a lot of salt replacement leading up to it. That’s where I took salt tablets and electrolytes,” said David, an assistant manager at The Mall’s leisure complex.
David, a former competitive swimmer with Longford Swimming Club, is not alone in his passion for athletic sports. Longford Triathlon Club began in 2010 with 20 members. Today there are over 90 members registered with the club.
“It is brilliant. We’re all at different levels. There are people who never swam in the open water before, who are now doing short triathlons. It’s a bug you get when you start in to it. You get addicted.”