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Iron-woman breaks world record for Red Cross

Sydney woman Debi Hazelden set a world record last week by completing 32 consecutive half-Ironman triathlons.

Monday March 6, 2017

Debi Hazelden runs over the finish line to break the world record, with partner John Mergler alongside pushing the couple's baby son in a pram.
Debi crosses the finish line on her record-breaking day, accompanied by partner John Hazelden, the couple's son, and no shortage of supporters. Photo: Rob Brice

And she's not finished yet, with plans to completeĀ a grand total of 100 triathlons back-to-back. That means she will continue to swim 1.9 km, cycle 90 km and run 21.1 km each and every day.

"It feels amazing to have broken the world record," said Debi, who juggles endurance sport with parenting a seven-month-old son. "I want to show people that being a mum doesn't mean you need to put your goals on hold. Go get them!"

Debi's record-breaking efforts are part of Iron Century, a joint fundraiser between her and fiancé John Mergler. Together, the pair aim to swim, cycle and run 100 triathlons in 100 days, raising $100,000 for Australian Red Cross.

John faced some hurdles recently, needing to pause his daily Ironman-distance triathlons to recover from a leg strain. But he remains confident he can break the Ironman-length world record of 50 triathlons in 50 days.

"I'm disappointed about being hampered by injury, but rearing to go as soon as I'm given the green light by my doctor," John said.

Debi also tackled illness early in the challenge. "Our seven-month-old son goes to day care and has had his first couple of viruses which have been passed onto me," she said.

Another challenge for both John and Debi has been the extreme Sydney weather. "Conditions have been hectic," Debi said. "A lot of days in the first week we had an average of 36 degrees with a few 42 degree days, a few days of torrential rain and thunderstorms thrown in here and there. And the forecast for this week is rain, rain, rain."

But that hasn't stopped them. The Iron duo has already raised almost $20,000 to support Red Cross' work in disaster relief and recovery.

Debi hails from New Zealand and experienced the Christchurch earthquakes of 2011. Choosing which charity to support was a no-brainer for her after witnessing Red Cross helping in the quakes aftermath.

"Red Cross provide so much support that the general public wouldn't think of. It's these things that help people get through disasters in a good mental and emotional state, and come out the other side OK," she said.

Debi and John are calling for donations to keep their spirits up over the remaining weeks of their challenge, and support the vital work of Red Cross. Make a donation today to cheer them on.