A Hawke's Bay podiatrist is looking forward to his first full Ironman next month having battled through a leg injury that has hampered him for more than half a decade.
Jackson Clince, 27, of Havelock North has entered the 2021 Nutri-Grain IRONMAN New Zealand to be held in Taupō on March 6.
Clince was a promising rugby player who was about to head to Canada for a contract when he suffered a nasty ankle injury at a training back in 2013.
He dislocated his tibia, or shinbone, while his fibula was badly fractured, leading to three surgeries in the space of six months.
"They did the first operation and my body rejected all the metalware," Clince said.
The second surgery came after a screw started to protrude, creating a wound on his skin.
"So they had to take it all out and there was a big hole there, so they took some skin off the top of my thigh and grafted it."
Having given up rugby, Clince turned his attention to Aussie rules football, and went to the 2017 Australian Football International Cup with the New Zealand national team that finished runners-up.
However one screw had been left in his leg, and it split the tendon running alongside the bone.
"I didn't know this for yonks, so I was wondering why my foot was getting sore so often, I was rehabbing it all the time."
Clince had his final surgery in May last year, when the screw was removed, the tendon stitched up and some of the bone was cut out.
"Every year it's something new with it."
He said it has been a blessing in a way though, as his own journey with injury is half the reason he got into podiatry: "That ability to take someone from where they can't even put weight on it, to running, jumping.
"It gives them that bit of quality of life, puts a smile on their face, and being part of that process is pretty cool."
Having accomplished his goals in Aussie rules by making the International Cup, Clince turned his attention to something he had always wanted to do – Ironman.
"I just thought that was the ultimate challenge, the pinnacle."
Clince spends about 12 to 15 hours a week training.
"You kind of have to revolve your life around it a little bit. Go for a holiday, [you're thinking] right where am I swimming, how am I getting the bike there."
He will be taking a break from the grind after the Ironman in March, but thinks he will keep doing half-Ironman events in future because the training requirements are less intense.