Living the dream

Like father like son: Dr Peter Vaughan (right) biking with his son, Matthew Vaughan, who’s currently studying dentistry.
Like father like son: Dr Peter Vaughan (right) biking with his son, Matthew Vaughan, who’s currently studying dentistry.

Over the course of a three-day ultimate ironman competition, Dr Peter Vaughan of Live Life Smiling Orthodontists in Broadmeadow, New South Wales, covers a total distance of 515 kilometres

I’m 61 years old and completed the Canadian Ultraman last year in a time of 32 hours and 25 minutes, setting a new age group record. The Ultraman takes place over three days. The first day consists of a 10-kilometre swim and a 145-kilometre cycle. The second day is a 275-kilometre cycle, and day three is an 84.4-kilometre run. Each day must be completed in under 12 hours.

“I started seriously running in 1989 when I was in my thirties. I had always wanted to run a marathon so I trained and entered a race. The whole thing was a bit of a letdown. When I finished, it didn’t seem that difficult and there was no sense of achievement.

“So I looked around and discovered the Ironman competitions. These were a fairly new thing in 1989 and it consists of a 3.8-kilometre swim, a 180-kilometre bicycle ride and a marathon 42.2-kilometre run. I really enjoyed the challenge and so, for the next 15 years, I did one Ironman every year. As I was finding them fairly easy, I started doing three Ironmans a year. I then upped it to six a year and now I do between six and 10 every year. In total, I’ve completed 88 Ironman races.

“I entered my first Ultraman in 2006. The race takes place over three days and more than doubles all the distances in an Ironman. When I compete, I’m not trying to win the race; I just want to finish. I’m in good health—I have no nagging injuries or knee problems—so the only difficulty is with the mind. When the body wants to give up, you just have to decide to keep going.

“Matthew and Damien, my 23- and 36-year-old sons, have now completed a few Ironmans with me. This has added a whole new dimension of enjoyment.

“One thing I really love about Ironman competitions is that the competitors are very positive and happy people to be around. It’s quite different in other sports such as golf where players often complain about their game.

“When I started competing in my thirties, I always said I would really love to be able to do this in my sixties. Now, here I am in my sixties, travelling the world and competing in up to 10 races a year. I’m living the dream.

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