Victorian Vince Sesto, 39, is returning to battle grounds of the past year.
His aim is to be the first person in three years to complete BIG Warrior – a combination of three major events, the Warrior Half Ironman Race (Lalomanu), Pacific Open Water Swims (Atua) and Samoa Swim Series . He is also competing in the Le Lava Half Marathon in Manase next weekend.
He will need to live up to his name and that of his Aussie state, Conqueror, to become the first GIANT of the Samoa Events Winter Series by completing all four races.
A huge undertaking by anyone and only a few can attain it.
Vince knows the territory and what perils lay in wait.
Twelve months ago he was a clear leader in the Samoa Warrior Half Ironman race until two flat tyres put a puncture on his chances of winning the Half Ironman race. He finished second, 12 minutes behind then winner Darren Young.
He returns to Lalomanu late on Friday night to fight another day. This time with his partner Kirsty Pinder competing in the Warrior Teams’ event.
It’s a good story, the two met in Samoa last year, he was in the Warrior Race and Kirsty competed in the Samoa Swim Series.
The Warrior Half Ironman race will be a brutal undertaking in the July heat. The only saviour is if a stiff trade blows our way from about 9am to 2pm when it matters most.
The first part of the tri is a 2km swim in the cool of the morning and in the lagoon. That really should be the final act of a triathlon race – the swim.
But such was the attempt to make the sport as hard a possible that the most refreshing discipline is put at the start, also the shortest one.
While the 90km bike leg plus 21km Half Marathon run are the final hurdles to jump.
The run is in the zenith of the midday sun, and only the tough need apply.
There is a shorter distance race that starts at 8am. That race is an Olympic Distance triathlon with a 1.5km swim, 50km bike ride and a 10km run.
That race is named Beat the Heat. No matter whether you are in the Warrior Race or Beat the Heat – the end won’t come sooner enough.
Vince is the leading male in the line-up while NZ triathlon representative Angie Keen heads up the women’s race.
Vince then takes on the Pacific Open Water Challenge that starts on Monday next week. That is a 10km and 5km swims back to back at Saoluafata Harbour and in the Bay at Falefa from Sauano Village to Falefa for the 5km.
From there to the three long swims of the Samoa Swim Series. He is also signed up to run the inaugural Le Lava Half Marathon next Saturday in Manase.