Nadi Canning
Nadi Canning The Northern Star

Nadi hopes for Coolangatta Gold

NADI Canning is going for Gold and to get there, she has gone through saltwater hell.

Six months of intensive and mostly solo training will come to fruition on Sunday when the Dorroughby ironwoman tackles the ultimate surf lifesaving endurance event, the Coolangatta Gold.

After surprising herself with a 16th place last year, Canning has set her sights on the top 10 in the torturous 30.5km event.

Under the eye of Lennox Head coach Lou Wilson, Canning, who was recently named captain of the NSW Country team to tour New Zealand, has set herself for the 15km ski paddle, 4.5km board paddle, 2.5 km ocean swim and 7.5km beach run.

“To do the Gold you have to put the hours in,” the 23-year-old said.

The hours have been mounting since April.

“As soon as last summer finished I started thinking about Coolangatta Gold again,” she said.

The second year medicine student is based on the Gold Coast but still competes out of the Lennox Head club.

“I do everything down there,” she said. “I really like Lou's coaching. He just understands me so well. He knows how I work and we make a good team.

“I feel so comfortable at Lennox. Everyone supports me so well and mum and dad are down there as well.”

On top of a full-time study load, she packs in an almost full-time training load, starting at 4.45am each day with a two-hour pool session.

It's her release.

“I don't really think about it,” she said.

“I love training. I wouldn't be able to study if I didn't train. I need to do something else and that's what I do.”

In between classes, she does 12km runs, or 8km on soft sand, and then returns to the Northern Rivers on the weekend for her craft training on Seven Mile Beach.

“I've been doing 10-20km ski paddles and 5-10km boards and on the weekend I do practice runs of putting it all together,” she said.

But with the bulk of the club's athletes better suited to sprint events, Canning does most of her endurance training alone.

“You just know you have to do it and you think about the benefit. It gets really cold in winter and when you're sitting on the ski, your toes go numb. But you just ignore it and keep paddling,” she said.

Two days out from the event, the excitement is building.

““I feel ready so it should be a good race,” she said.

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