The fourth fastest athlete to ever grace the IRONMAN WA course, Matt Burton is heading back to Busselton on 5 December to reignite his IRONMAN career, stalled for almost two years by the global pandemic.
While Burton will take centre stage on course at Busselton, it could well be his wife Kim and 'baby' Burton who ultimately steal the limelight in the race to the finish line, with their first child due to arrive on race day.
All I have to do is race on 5 December, I know Kim has the hard job.- Matt Burton
"In terms of where I left off in my career, Busselton will always be the race we want to win," he said.
"It is a home away from home for us and we spend a lot of time down there, so the win is important to both of us.
"Kim has always been so supportive of my career and I think if we hadn't been through the last two years that we've had, it might have been different and I would have definitely reconsidered racing.
"It is fair say we have had long chats about whether she comes down to the race but ultimately we decided she would stay with her mum in Perth and work with the midwife who has been helping us so far.
"My mum is coming down to Busselton but with the proviso that 'if you don't see me during the race, you will know what is happening'."
"I am a punctual person, so I hope he or she comes early, but as the old story goes the baby will come when it wants to and that could be on race day.
"All I have to do is race on 5 December, I know Kim has the hard job."
Coping with what amounted to two years out of racing and watching his world ranking plummet, Team Burton is determined to make Matt's return to Busselton a double celebration and the first step in rejuvenating his career.
"I had to sit back in 2021 watching the northern hemisphere going about racing as normal and my ranking dropped from 30 to 180. My current fitness level and ability does not relate to that number," Burton said.
"When IRONMAN Western Australia announced a pro race it became even more important for me than usual and some of the best news I have had in two years."
Disappointing journeys to IRONMAN Cairns and IRONMAN 70.3 Sunshine Coast reinforced the importance of arriving at key events 'race fit' and that preparation has been driving him during the past three months.
"When I got home it was all about Busselton, I was going to race every short course event that is on our WA calendar during heavy training because I needed that match fitness," he said.
"At the Sunny Coast it was the stupid little errors and I wasn't committed to going after it.
"Now I have raced five weeks in a row in short course, duathlons, Olympic distance, I had a three day stage race in Margaret River to get that feeling of 'ready, set, go', committing to the task at hand and making that racing feeling a habit."
"The last couple of months have been really good and I was at a bike race recently and people were coming up to me asking about how my Busselton preparation.
"It is wonderful have them interested in what I am doing and is feeling like WA is getting behind me again.
"Once the gun goes my focus will be all about winning and in as quick a time as possible to get back to see Kim. Fingers crossed I will beat the baby to the finish line too."
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