A year of training and a mountain of sweat was almost all in vain for a Levin woman forced to dig deep into a well of determination to finish an Ironman.

Janie Evans, 45, was struck down by a vicious bug halfway through the Taupō Ironman recently, an event already so physically gruelling it made people vomit.

Evans was violently ill, vomiting at regular intervals during the 180km cycle leg leaving her unable to take in food, sapping her of vital energy with a 42.2km run yet to come.

"I had no idea. No idea. It was just one of those things. I had been fine. I hadn't been ill, and I felt fine during the swim. But when I got on the bike..."


She admitted being within whisker of giving up. But in the back of her mind she knew she wouldn't forgive herself in years to come if she didn't make the finish line.

"I did think about quitting on the bike...I hadn't been able to eat or drink enough and was cramping up and I thought I am not going to make it," she said.

What helped was the massive support she received from the sideline and fellow competitors on the day. As night fell, she was one of the last to finish in a tick over 16 hours and three minutes.

That was more than two hours slower than her previous Ironman in 2015.

"People were like 'c'mon, you can do this'," she said.

"I thought I am not going to be that person that doesn't make it, and that was for me. I knew in my head if I didn't make it I would be so angry with myself. The consequences of quitting...I would have always wondered."

There were calculations that showed she was on track to finish outside the cut-off time, but she carried on and eventually finished with little time to spare.

To make the finish line was a huge personal triumph over adversity.


"I swear if my coach hadn't got my training so right, I never would have finished," she said.

Evans sought the services of Raumati man Tom Bland for training advice leading into the event and credited his training methods as a key factor in helping her complete the course.

"He's been a fantastic coach. I had some niggles and my running was on the light side so he put a plan together and walked with me so I was able to get through it

Evans had to keep off the road while the injuries healed which meant she put more focus on bike and swim training.

It wasn't her first Ironman, but it was by far her hardest. She completed her Ironman in 2015.

"A good friend of mine said if I ever do one then you have to do it with me. She had made the commitment. We had an agreement," she said.

Evans, works at Contact Energy and does body piercing part-time, said you couldn't wake up and decide to do an Ironman. It took a year for her to prepare.

"No way. You need dedication and willpower," she said.