Hero ironwoman finally fully fit for series tilt
IT WAS the split second decision that could have set Hannah Sculley's ironwoman return back months, maybe more.
The injury-plagued athlete was working in the restaurant at Northcliffe Surf Club while recovering from surgery on a torn labrum, which had kept her out of the surf for the bulk of the competitive season, when she noticed a disturbance in the water.
"I looked out and saw people getting dragged out (to sea)," Sculley recalled.
"There were quite a few people on the beach just looking and waiting for someone to help, because they knew they couldn't. I heard the call and looked out and knew we needed to go."
So Sculley, still recovering from surgery and "not meant to be out there", selflessly raced to the beach - grabbing fellow Northcliffe ironwoman Maddy Dunn in the process - to make the rescue.
That was three years ago. Since then Sculley, 22, has barely had a run at the Nutri-Grain Ironwoman series. Until now.
A sixth-place series finish in 2018-19 remains her high watermark, though scattered podium placings throughout her career prove Sculley's best is more than a match for the rest.
Now finally fit for the first time in "four or five years", she is ready to make up for lost time when the 2021 series gets under way at Kingscliff tomorrow.
"I've been able to tick every box," Sculley said.
"I've done 99.9 per cent of the workload I haven't been able to do before and that all the other girls have been able to consistently do. Just getting that under my belt heading into the series is a big element for me.
"My best overall in the series is sixth. I believe I can push into the top five overall and, hopefully, quite a few podium places to go with it."
Competing alongside Sculley this weekend will be fellow Northcliffe Ironwomen Georgia Miller, Harriet Brown, Danielle McKenzie, Maddy Dunn and Olivia Corrin.
She said being able to finally train to full capacity with her clubmates made preparing for this year's event that much better.
"Just to be able to consistently train with t hem puts you in a better mood and environment," Sculley said.
"We all get the benefits because we're all racing each other at training and putting in the hard yards, which creates good competition."
Originally published as Hero ironwoman finally fully fit for Nutri-Grain series tilt