This story first appeared un the 3rd edition of Triathlon Quarterly

By Kent Gray/
It’s no surprise Matt Payne’s training has been a little “inconsistent” in the countdown to OxMan, what with him being in the final throws of a PhD in bioengineering. If he’s honest, it’s been a little tough getting going again too after all the sacrifice that went into hearing those immortal words, “You are an IRONMAN!”, at Taupo in March.

Still, all being equal, the 37-year-old won’t be last in the 5th edition of New Zealand’s newest long course triathlon, all 115km of it on the outskirts of the picturesque North Canterbury farming town of Oxford. That’s not meant as a slight, rather a contextualised doff of TQ’s cap to one most inspirational triathletes set to line up in the November 26 half.

You see, when Payne committed to racing his first OxMan not long after the South Island came out of lockdown in early 2021, he tipped the scales at a hefty 136kg….


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