It took almost five years of tedious training and competition for Kate Rowe to attain world champion status, but the effort was all worth it.

Kate made it home for New Year’s Eve after three long months of top class competition in the northern hemisphere, culminating in first place in her age group in the World Half Ironman championships in Florida.

This gutsy woman trains almost every day – combating any sort of weather condition. “I can be up at 4am and out cycling from the city centre to Waterfall and back before most people are awake,” Kate said.

“And then that evening could be a long swim at the pool or a track session at Sydney Athletic field. Then I grab some food and hit the bed before doing similar sessions day after day in preparation for an event.”

It’s even more impressive when you consider Kate is in her 50s and spends her spare time working for the Federation of Gay Games (FGG) coordinating triathlon and cycling for the 2010 games in Cologne.

Kate’s overseas journey began with a sporting conference last October where she was elected Vice President – Diversity of FGG.

“This is the most senior position a woman has held from this part of the globe and I am honoured to be elected,” Kate said.

“There is so much to do to attract gays and lesbians from Asia, Latin America and Africa to the Games. Plus, I would love to see more and more dykes at the next games getting involved in sport.”

But for the moment Kate is basking in the glory of her own sporting triumph.

As well as her Florida victory, Kate finished sixth at the Hawaii World Ironman Championships with strong performances in the Port Macquarie and Busselton WA Ironman events and the 2006 Hawaii Half Ironman.

But Florida will always have special memories for her.

“Wow, what a feeling … the Aussies in the crowd cheered and cheered. But I didn’t know I was placing first – I thought I was in about fourth or fifth spot,” Kate said.

“Can you imagine how I felt on checking the notice boards? The pain from competition was gone – I was on cloud nine and the smile on my face was so big. The blood, sweat and tears were all worth it.”

Kate’s time was: swim 43.28 mins, ride 2 hrs 31.57 mins and run 1 hr 51.24 mins. She also won the right to defend her title next year.

“Well, that depends on my finances and training régime – the sport of triathlon is not cheap and the training never ends,” she said.

“Any sponsors willing to contribute to a top level sporting dyke can line up and see me. Travelling to USA with an expensive bike reduces my savings drastically.”

To top off her year Kate, who is also a member of Sydney Frontrunners, then flew to Jamaica to take part in the Reggae Jamaica Marathon where she again won her age group.

“My time of 4 hrs 8 mins was good and my feet held up the whole run,” Kate said.

“The announcer made me so happy when it was declared I had won my age group – something I had never dreamt of. But after pinching myself I cried a bit but I was so proud of my achievements.”

Kate is now relaxing and catching up with friends and family as well as spending time with members of Frontrunners clubs in San Francisco, San Diego, New York and Manchester.

“Frontrunners has over 100 clubs around the world and it’s a great network when you are travelling,” Kate said.

Sydney Frontrunners has more than 80 members and welcomes runners and walkers of all levels. Catch them on www.sydneyfrontrunners.org.

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