Cairns woman strides into Las Vegas Ironman event
SHE will face searing desert heat and some of the world's toughest ironman competitors, but the biggest concern for Courtney Warren ahead of next month's Las Vegas Ironman event is desert tortoises.
And no, that's not a misprint.
When competitors in the 70.3 race, which doubles as the Half Ironman World Championships, were sent all their information on the race it contained a warning about the desert creatures.
"Seriously, we have to give way to desert tortoises. They're like moving rock hazards," she said.
It was an impulse decision for the 26-year-old regional airline pilot to enter the September 9 race with top age group participants offered a spot after the Cairns Half Ironman event in June.
Competitors needed to be in attendance to take up the offer though and despite not placing in her 25-29 category, she got the call up and decided it was too good an opportunity to pass on.
"I just knew I'd regret it if I didn't do it," she said.
"I know I can do the distance, I just have to know I can't compare myself to others and just focus on my own race.
"It's overwhelming, but it's just one of those things and I just want to get out there and enjoy the race."
Considering she bought her first road bike less than a year ago and only learnt to swim properly in the last 12 months, you would not think she had a strong sporting pedigree behind her.
But her background is a far cry from a pool, bike or road after growing up in Falls Creek and training as a downhill skier.
Her other passion was flying, which she started learning when she was 16 and it was a work opportunity for an airline in Cairns that brought her here almost three years ago.
Warren will arrive in the casino capital on September 4 for the race five days later.
The course starts in Lake Las Vegas, with the cycle at Lake Mead National and a run that takes in views of the famed Las Vegas Strip.
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In the running: Local pilot Courtney Warren will compete in next month’s Las Vegas Ironman event. Pictures: TOM LEE