(Australia, Queensland, Gold Coast)- 5 September 2018 – Leigh Gunn was a professional soccer player for most of his young adult life, based in Sydney, Australia. His family is from the Philippines therefore he has always felt a close connection with the country.
At the age of eighteen, Leigh went over to the Philippines to play soccer at a national level, where he played and represented for eleven years.
“I grew up in Sydney. My Mum is from the Philippines which is how I am representing the National team for triathlon. I started playing soccer when I was five and when I turned eighteen, I went over to the Philippines and got into the National soccer team and played with them for eleven years. It’s always been about sport, Gunn said.”
“My parents used to holiday in Noosa, Queensland, every year growing up as a kid. I always said I would stop soccer when I got seriously injured and that happened,” added Gunn.
Injury occurred and after thirty-three years of playing, Gunn passed the ball and finished his soccer career.
“Coming here, to Noosa, on holiday and seeing the Noosa Triathlon transition area set up really got me thinking about it. I have always ridden bikes socially with friends at school and I have always wanted to get into cycling. I knew I could run because of soccer but the swim scared the hell out of me. I saw that as a challenge. It scared me every time I jumped in the water.”
“Straight away I felt something with the sport and that inner drive to push as hard and as far as I can.”
A few years down the track, Gunn has set up life in Noosa, centred around his family and the sport of triathlon. Gunn is proud to claim that he has qualified to represent Philippines, for the sport of triathlon, and will be lining up for the upcoming 2018 World Triathlon Grand Final on the Gold Coast.
Now married and with a young family, Gunn packed up life in Sydney and moved to Noosa, the place he claims epitomises the lifestyle his family loves.
“Being three different disciplines, you can excel in one and work at the others to get through. It keeps you healthy and your mind active. When I moved here I didn’t know anyone and now everyone I know is through triathlon. All of our social network is involved in the sport, it’s awesome.”
“I am super motivated ahead of the Grand Final. It’s starting to hit home now and the training is becoming specific to the event and it’s just down the road so I don’t need to worry about jetlag or acclimatising.”
“I have three girls – aged 5, 4 and 4 months. They definitely know what I am up to and sometimes I drag them along to the running sessions and they have a bit of a play. They’re getting into it as well, they do swimming. They see me get up early in the morning and want to know where I am going. They will be there on race day supporting and cheering me on which means everything.
“It’s one of the highest honours in the sport, I believe, to represent your country.”
“To have a race plan and to stick to the plan. The hard work is done prior to that. It’s about enjoying the day.”
It’s time to gear up for World Triathlon action Queensland, Australia, as triathletes, sports fans and the wider community ride the wave to the World Triathlon Grand Final start line.
Credit: Noel McMahon – IRONMAN Media Manager