TriSpecific athlete Mark Jansen had arguably one of the most insane lead in preps I have seen an athlete have to contend with. Huge unforeseen work hours, a new born son and somehow Mark was still able to bring discipline, determination, and perspiration to his training and get a cracking 3rd place result in the highly competitive mens 35-39 age group in Kona. The top 4 guys finished less than two minutes apart.

Read on as TriSpecifics Charlotte asks Mark about his Kona 2010 experience.

Q: Mark you had an exceptional race in Kona this year, coming 3rd in a highly competitive age group, and being less than 2 minutes from 1st place. You achieved this with considerable work commitments and a newborn son! How do you feel about your result? And how do you manage to juggle life’s demands and still train for Ironman?

A: I am ecstatic about the result. This was probably one of the hardest lead ups I have ever had to a race and as a result the most satisfying to have achieved a podium.

In terms of juggling, it is tough. This year was no exception with a combination of the most awesome event – the birth of our first baby on 23 July and colliding with the busiest I have been at work resulting in 80hr+ work weeks for the 7 weeks immediately following his birth. To fit all this in was not possible, fortunately my wife is very understanding / supportive and in conjunction with my mother-in-law successfully took control as I literally was barely surviving on 4hrs sleep. Coming out of this 7 weeks I was in bad shape and really just had to focus on sleep and recovery up till race day and fingers crossed the hard training that I had done during the year would pay off.

Q: Did coming 7th at last years Ironman World Champs and just missing that podium add fuel to the fire?

A: Yeah there was some fire there. I was a bit disappointed with my performance last year as I felt I was a little flat on race day. I ended up doing IMWA 8 weeks later and raced pretty angry, I think I did the first
half of the bike in that race at ½ IM pace. After that it was more a matter of focus on controlling my own training and not worrying too much about what might or could be. At the end of the day I went into this year thinking that if I could just enjoy the race and despite a poor lead up I had confidence in the training and that I could hopefully go a little better.

Editors Note: Mark backed up from Kona 2009 at Ironman Western Australia and was 2nd age grouper and won his AG in 8:54!

Q: What was the highlight of the race for you?

A: Two things stand out for me. Firstly seeing my wife on Ali’i drive screaming support and letting me know I was in 3rd, though soon to be overtaken by Tim Hola at the 7mile point. Secondly, the satisfaction of going beyond what I thought I could do. I am pretty sure I negative split both the run and bike. For both these legs I set goals and I pretty much hit them, and went one better in that I could really push both legs in the second half. Since the race it has been satisfying to reflect on what I had achieved both personally and physically in the lead up to the race.

Q: Coming down Alii Drive, coach Kristian nearly blew your cover as you were catching 3rd place. Tell us where you caught him and what it’s like to have to do a sprint finish at the end of an Ironman!

A: It was funny, in my head I was screaming for Kristian to be quiet. All I remember was at the top of Palani I think 3rd (Tim Hola) was 200meters in front and I just thought I have to give it my all. I pretty much ran from that point to the finish line at 3.40/k pace. It took some time to catch him and to be honest until we hit Ali’i I did not think it was going to happen. As I went on to Ali’i the gap had closed to 50m. I kept swerving trying stay out of his line of site and ended up passing him as we hit the
finishers carpet. By the time I went past it was too late for him to react and I took 3rd by 5seconds. Overall there was only 100seconds between 1st-4th in our age group which was amazing.

Ultimately it is a tough way to finish an IM as it felt more like a sprint distance finish. That said it was very satisfying to put it all on the line at the end of the race and come away with 3rd place.

Q: We noticed you wore a customized long-sleeved compression top in the race. How did it feel in the heat? Would you recommend it to other athletes?

A: Yes, it really works well in terms of managing sunburn. I didn’t notice the heat too much this year, though coming from Singapore Hawaii is a much cooler climate.

Thanks Mark and we’re looking forward to seeing what you bring to the racing table in 2011!


Love having two athletes on the stage.. Belinda Harper (Womens World Champion) and Mark Jansen 3rd