Megan Isbester has travelled a long and winding path since graduating from St Mary’s College and has since rediscovered her love of running and triathlon.

Now a teacher at Glendale East Public School, in Newcastle, Megan competed in the half-ironman at Taupo, New Zealand on March 2 and closer to home in the Lake Macquarie Triathlon Festival Olympic Distance, on March 17.

“I loved returning to the sport five years ago and feel better than ever competing and training again,” Megan said.

“I have been with my triathlon coach Lucas McBeath from Flowitri Triathlon Coaching since February last year and am loving being part of a team again and the ongoing support I receive from my coach and team-mates. This reminds me of the beautiful memories I shared with my team members and coaches John and Mick at the Gunnedah Triathlon Club years ago.”

At Taupo, Megan competed in her third half-ironman and her most exciting race to date, improving her time by 37 minutes and finishing second in her age group. She was the eighth female to cross the line in a field of 274 women and set personal best times on the bike and run.

“I’m so excited to have secured my spot for World Championships in Taupo, NZ in December,” Megan said.

“I was definitely out for redemption after how hard the Cairns half-ironman was last year. I have made so many positive changes for my health and always ensured training was ticked off each day even when travelling overseas for a month in January to visit my brother in the UK.”

Megan described the swim as “very choppy” and a challenge in the freshwater lake Taupo.

“I normally love the swim and soak up the whole atmosphere but this swim was quite scary with the current and movement in the water. The wetsuit was a support as it was only 20 degrees but different to swimming in salt water like I am used to,” Megan said.

“The ride was lovely and scenic and had rolling hills. The winds were strong and came in all directions from cross to tail to head winds. I normally get overtaken by so many people on the bike but I have been putting in big hours and working on my strength and that definitely supported me to ride strong and take 19 minutes off my previous personal best.”

Megan described the run leg as “incredible” with a wonderful atmosphere.

“We ran a two-lap course of 10.5km and I loved the crowds of people scattered across the course reading my bib and yelling out my name,” she said.

“After the 90km bike I felt strong and in no pain and I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.

“Hitting the red carpet and seeing the finishing line, my mum and my partner Tim certainly brought tears to my eyes.”

The clock was reading 4 hours 55 minutes and Megan was over the moon to have cracked five hours for this event, with her overall time 4 hours 55 minutes, 16 seconds. Megan stopped the clock at 31.01 minutes for the 1.9km swim, with a time of 2 hours 47 minutes (19-minute PB) for the 90km bike and 1 hour 30 minutes (4-minute PB) for the 21.1km run.

Megan finished top of the podium overall in the Olympic distance at Lake Macquarie Triathlon Festival, on March 17.

“I have had some wonderful races this season but that Sunday was definitely an exciting moment as I was the first female to cross the line and the points added onto the races I competed in November (Sparke Helmore sprint distance) and in February (Stockton Olympic distance) meant I was named the Queen of Newcastle,” Megan said.

“I had another tough swim in Lake Macquarie with very murky water and hitting plenty of jelly blubbers that weren’t pleasant on the skin. It was a very wet morning on the bike and the course was slippery on my bike but I rode strong and matched my PB. I loved every minute of the run with all the support on course and the rain was lovely and refreshing to finish the race to.”

Megan graduated from the University of Wollongong in 2018 and immediately secured a position at Glendale East Public School where she is a classroom teacher and sports coordinator.

“Teaching gives me such a great work-life balance, with time to continue my role as personal trainer while still focusing on my own training, including the Saturday morning park run with like-minded people,” Megan said.

“While I was at uni, I was struggling with hamstring injuries and shin splints so gym became my big focus for strength training and I reached out to Glen Hobson during the holidays to help me with my swimming.”

Megan has very fond memories of her teenage years in Gunnedah where she enjoyed swimming and triathlon, with her mother Vicki riding a bike beside her as she ran due to her worry about stray dog attacks.

While Megan is steadily climbing the ladder in Australia, her younger brother Luke is also enjoying life as a primary school teacher in the UK, while still engaging in his love of running – it is obviously a family affair.

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