In a story of mateship, sportsmanship and community spirit, two local triathletes will put their training to the test and raise money for a good cause at 2023 Hell of the West.
Aaron Collis and Zac Cunningham will take on the murky 2km swim, burning 80km cycle and hot as hell 20km run in Goondiwindi on 26 March.
They are using this year’s race as an opportunity to raise money for the Rural Doctors Foundation, a charity led by rural GPs including President, Beaudesert’s Dr Michael Rice.
Their efforts will help the Foundation make a difference in rural and remote communities through the purchase of vital medical equipment, delivery of mental health services and programs connecting Indigenous youth.
Zac, 35, and Aaron, 45, have been keeping each other motivated to train hard for this year’s event, which will be Aaron’s fourth Hell of the West and Zac’s fifth.
The pair started their triathlon journeys about a year apart.
Zac was hooked after he did the 2km ocean swim at Noosa Triathlon in 2017 in a team with wife Susie, who did the 10km run. Aaron got into triathlon after doing Parkrun at Yarrabilba in 2018 and connecting with local group the Leo Wanker Academy of Fitness.
“Training around Beaudesert and the amazing Scenic Rim area is so good, especially with Zac, Jo, Ken and Bo and the BUGS cycling crew,” Aaron said.
“My triathlon journey in the last three years has been awesome and I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for Zac helping me with my training.
“We have some of the best country roads to explore on our bikes… Christmas Creek, Mount Lindsay to the border and Barney View Road. For running, we have Wyaralong Dam, O’Reilly’s, Duck Creek and our very own ‘lava field’, Cryna.”
Zac said it was a rewarding hobby.
“I love training in Beaudesert as it is a beautiful area with an amazing sporting community,” he said.
“I have been lucky enough to do many beautiful swims, rides and runs out here with people cheering us on, especially, people like Aaron, Ken, Jo, Bo and all the BUGS bike group.”
To donate, visit https://2023-hell-of-the-west.raisely.com/donate