One last race for ironman heroes
A FEW minutes before the start of yesterday's open ironman heats, Grant Kenny and Trevor Hendy were happy to watch their sons and the rest of the current generation contest the event they helped make famous.
That was when their competitive instinct kicked in.
With all the reminiscing going on at Aussies 2016 about Kenny's golden ironman double at Maroochydore in 1980, two of the sport's biggest names couldn't resist one last "race" around the course.
"We'd sort of been talking about it on and off as a joke," Kenny said of the pair's decision to enter the heat. "When they were marshalling it was like three minutes to cut off time for late entries and I said 'if I do it will you do it?' so we did the very late entry and no warm up and here we are."
The winners of a combined 10 Australian open ironman championships were entered in heat six and never set out to qualify for today's quarter-finals.
They were just happy to enjoy a sentimental journey around the course.
"We might have been able to get through that round if we had a go, but it means a lot more to other people in the race and Trev said 'we'll keep out of everyone's way', which we did," Kenny said.
"We had a chat, had some fun, it was good."
Hendy said the plan to race at Aussies 2016 had been hatched about a year ago, but had then been forgotten.
"I love this guy, he's been my best mate for years and years," he said. "I floated the idea of Grant racing, which he probably had in his head anyway, and then we forgot about it.
"Then he asked me if I get a start will you do it with me, and I said yes, but then I thought what have I done that for?
"We've got a lot from surf lifeaving over the years, and just to float around at the back of the pack and have a chat was an honour."
When they did cross the finish line, well behind heat winner Jackson Maynard (Currumbin), Kenny and Hendy held hands as the crowd, far bigger than would normally watch the opening round, gave them generous applause.
Kenny has a couple of double ski assignments remaining this week, but the legends agreed their main task for the rest of Aussies 2016 would be to watch and support their sons, Jett Kenny and TJ Hendy compete in the ironman and other events.