Professional Ironman Matt Burton sees silver lining of world championship delay

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Matt Burton and Kim Bishop
Camera IconMatt Burton and Kim Bishop Credit: Supplied

Matt Burton is feeling blessed.

The professional ironman has to wait another year to tackle the world championship in Hawaii.

Western Australia’s hard border closures means he can’t get to today’s Asia Pacific Championship in Cairns.

Yet he’s still training like only Burton can. At full throttle — running 160km a week, cycling 500km and swimming 20km — and that is where his glass is definitely half full.

“It’s the best winter training I’ve ever had,” Burton said this week.

“You have a lot of people on social media being so negative, but there are worse places in the world to be stuck than Western Australia.

“I’m grateful for the fact we have a normal life.

“I was watching the Tour de France the other night and they were saying France had 110,000 cases of COVID over a three-day period.

“What we are seeing on the TV is very different to what is reality back here.”

There’s also the matter of his impeding wedding to long-time partner Kim Bishop, daughter of Olympic cyclist Steele Bishop, on December 12 in the Swan Valley.

The wedding build-up was going to be interrupted by Burton’s trip to his second Hawaiian Ironman — courtesy of his podium at Busselton last year when he recorded a personal best of 7:55:49, only eclipsed by Britain’s triathlon superstar Alistair Brownlee who smashed the course record.

Matt Burton and Kim Bishop
Camera IconMatt Burton and Kim Bishop Credit: Supplied

But now that has been postponed until 2021 he’s immersed in preparation for his nuptials.

“I quite like it actually. I like being organised,” Burton said.

Apart from running in the Perth half marathon with a shin stress fracture, the result of training overload, he’s focused more individually on each discipline of the triathlon.

At age 32, he’s registered as a Masters cyclist and has been racing at weekends.

“The standard is really high,” he said. “I haven’t really raced before in cycle events, it’s only been the cycle leg of triathlons.

Rode State champions in York last week broke a chain midway through race.

“I’ve never bike raced before, I’ve only ever got on a bike for the triathlon so that’s been good fun. Anything to mix the weeks up so I don’t over-train,” he said.

“The swimming squad I’m in, I’m normally in and out of because I’m away for four-five months each year, but this time I’ve been able to hang out with a lot of the juniors who are much better swimmers than me.

“I’ve been able to take on more of a mentoring role and now I’m at an age where kids can actually look up to you.”

“When the Olympics and most world championship events were gone and triathlons are very small scale in the scheme of things in the sporting world.

“You can’t travel, you can’t run a world championship.

“They are running the Cairns Ironman next weekend which is the Asia-Pacific champs, but I can’t get there.”

They moved spots another 12 months.

Full training ahead for Hawaii.

Triathlon WA has shifted the Busselton 70.3 — a 1.9km swin, 90.1km bike and 21.1km run — to October 17, renaming it the WA State Long Course.

Originally planned as age group only, it is now open to any elite or professional West Australian triathletes.

“The team from Triahtlon WA have tried to give us something, so that’s me,” Burton said.

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