Mum, daughter on mettle

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
Mother and daughter Ironman competitors Susane and Mikhayla Belkhiati.
Camera IconMother and daughter Ironman competitors Susane and Mikhayla Belkhiati. Credit: Busselton Dunsborough Times, Supplied

Women for Tri ambassador Susane Belkhiati will compete in the Busselton Ironman with a special incentive — finishing the event with her daughter.

Belkhiati will compete in her 14th Ironman on Sunday, December 1 at the Geographe Bay event, which is known for its flat course, ensuring competitors can achieve personal best times.

Though it may be Mikhayla Belkhiati’s first full Ironman event, her mother and training partner said she was more than capable of completing the 3.8km swim, 180km cycle and 42km marathon run.

“She’s pretty good, hopefully I’ll be able to keep up with her,” she said. “We are aiming to complete the event in 12-13 hours.”

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That time frame itself is daunting but resilience counsellor and wellness coach Susane said it was a matter of perspective.

“You don’t go out with the mindset of completing the entire event, you have to break it down into smaller goals,” she said. “There is always hiccups so if you don’t have the correct mental capacity, no matter how hard you train, you won’t do well.”

The ambassador representing the Busselton event said when she began there were around 10 women in Ironman events and now there were 58,000 female members of Ironman on Facebook.

She said the growing sport was a test of perseverance, dedication and nutrition.

“When you have about 40 per cent left, your head starts to cave in,” she said.

But it is her daughter Mikhayla who has had to overcome adversity on the road to Busselton.

Mikhayla fell badly from her bike in training for the Cairns Ironman last year.

On a downhill slope, she went over the handlebars and was concussed with several broken bones and had to withdraw from the event the day before the event.

“As soon as she was out of hospital she was asking when she could get back into training,” Susane said.

“She has a high level of tenacity that has built up.”

With Susane’s partner Kent, the family train for Ironman events with 30km runs, seven-hour cycles and long-distance swims. Their idea of fun — running a marathon.

“We have a long-term goal of running the Great Wall of China marathon,” Susane said.

“ It’s a great way to train, you get a medal and a chance to see the world.”

The Busselton Ironman is WA’s only Ironman event.

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