Wednesday 20 February 2019, Mr Gerard Turbitt; Ironman
Mr Turbitt was invited to speak to Probus because of the awe he inspires in the local community as an Ironman. This is an extreme endurance event in which competitors take part in a Triathlon that starts with a 3.8 km swim, followed by 180 km cycle ride and finishes with a full Olympic marathon of 42 km. Race officials usually allow competitors 17 hours to complete the event before ruling participants “out of time” and classifying them as DNF [Did Not Finish]. Gerard has completed 5 Ironman events, his time in each being between 12 and 13 hours. Overall time is a factor of the conditions; courses can involve cycling up mountains, running in hot weather and swimming in open water. Recently in Wales while competing for Ireland he was first in his age group and earned the right to compete in the world championships in Hawaii in October 2019. Currently in training for this he spends hours each week swimming in Omagh pool, running on local roads, and stamina building regimes at home and in the gym.
Mr Turbitt began his talk going back to his childhood in Omagh and Castlerody National School in Tycur, which looked very much like the Primary School now preserved in the Folk Park. From there he progressed to Omagh CBS and onwards to Queen’s University, Belfast where he studied Dentistry. Gerard talked about the many changes in dentistry during his career and despite having loved every minute of it he felt ready to retire in 2015. His reminiscences of walking the Camino, skiing in the Alps, running the London, Dublin and New York marathons kept members engrossed for the entire session and prompted much discussion about his outstanding achievements in retirement.