Being the king of Kona has been a dream for Luke McKenzie through his entire professional career. In the September 2016 edition of TMSM, Luke opens up on his journey and the birth of his daughter ahead of this year’s Hawaiian Ironman.
The closest connection Luke had to triathlon was a passion for swimming in which he was a regular at state carnivals. This all changed one-year when he helped man an aid station at the Australian Ironman in Forster.
“When I was younger our surf club used to go out and volunteer at Forster. I did that from six or seven with my family and I also grew up watching Ironman on television; that’s what sparked my interest in tri,” he said.
“At that stage I was swimming as a kid and I decided at one point or another I wasn't going to be good enough at just swimming, so I thought I’d give this Ironman thing a go when I get old enough.”
After a few years of training and combating the junior ranks, highlighted by a third place at the world championships in 2001, Luke eventually graduated to ITU racing. This turned out to be a baptism of fire, with Luke finding himself pitted up against the sport’s leading players from the word go.
The breakthrough moment of Luke’s Ironman career arrived in 2008, when he finally realised his goal of Ironman glory. Not only did he win Ironman Japan, Luke also produced a course record of 8:29:11.
Since first starting the sport, he dreamed of racing Kona; in 2006 that dream came true, limping to the finish line in what was one of the proudest moments in his life. However, the “biggest achievement” of his life is his daughter Wynne, who was born in 2014.
Grab the September 2016 edition of TMSM for the full story on how Luke juggles family life, competing and his journey.
Image by Delly Carr.