Samoa’s ultimate ironman

By Seti Afoa 26 February 2017, 12:00AM

For well over 30 years, Darren Young is a name that has been synonymous with excellence in sport, particularly in athletics. 

He was a middle distance runner, then a long distance athlete at school and post his school years right here in Samoa. 

He held all middle distance records at one time. He is still the record holder for the fastest Half Marathon by a local anywhere on the planet (1hr 19mins). 

Four years ago, he re-invented himself as a triathlete. 

It’s a transition that has seen him do very well in the sport at all levels, short races to long ones.

 It is also a sport that suits his style of application to performance, a very measured and scientific calculation of every aspect of performance in the sport. 

No different to when he was running, it’s the same approach that he is now applying to three disciplines – swim, bike and run – instead of just one. 

That is the secret to Darren’s longevity in his sporting life. 

At the same time as his junior peers from days gone by are looking to their glory days of last century as the achievement of their lives, Darren’s best days are yet over.  

He is primed and ready to perform in his second full Ironman distance next Saturday. 

Then, he will line up for the NZ Ironman in Taupo.  

He will swim 3.8kms, then ride 180kms before running a full 42km marathon to finish. 

In the local context, it is the same as swimming from Salelologa to Lalomalava, then riding his bike around the whole of Savai’i before running from Salelologa to Sale’aula. 

I can hear the question being asked. Why? Because he can. 

Darren will start alongside 1,500 other athletes watched by 3,000 supporters – those are staggering tourism numbers if only the government can realise the potential of this type of sport for Samoa – starting at 6am in the swim and finishing between 11 and 12 hours later. 

Darren’s one other full Ironman was also in Taupo three years ago (2014). 

In addition he has completed 8 Half Ironman races, four in Samoa and four overseas. He is the current Samoa Warrior champion, a race he has dominated since its inception in 2013. He podiumed in the first two years 2013 and 2014, and won in 2015 and 2016.

The other four Half Ironman races were overseas, three in the United States and one in Taupo, his battleground next Saturday. 

Go well Darren. 

By Seti Afoa 26 February 2017, 12:00AM
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