COURTNEY Hancock believes words of advice from a legend and secret sessions in the surf could be the key to defending her Nutri-Grain ironwoman crown next month.
While she trains alongside fellow ironwomen most of the week, the Gold Coast based surf lifesaver from Sawtell has incorporated one private session away from prying eyes into her training program.
“We all train together most of the time so I felt like I wanted to do something just on my own,” said Hancock who has won three of the five rounds of the professional series raced this summer.
Courtney Hancock reaches out in desperation to bust the winner’s tape. Picture: Delly Carr Source:Supplied
“And it seems to work well for me and best of all, it keep everyone else guessing.”
Hancock said her relationship with ironwoman legend Karal Gilbert, winner of seven ironwoman crowns, two world titles and 16 Australian gold medals, will also be key to her success.
The pair were introduced seven years ago with Hancock regularly seeking Gilbert’s advice ahead of races.
“She helps me with how to relax before races, how I should focus on things, what I should be worried about, what not to worry about,” Hancock said.
Courtney Hancock dominates the waves.
“Her advice is invaluable.”
Hancock, former series winner Liz Pluimers and former Australian ironwoman champion Kristyl Smith are the only athletes in a position to win the Nutri-Grain crown this season in the series finale at Coolum in February.
But two of Hancock’s wins have come in eliminator racing – the format which will be contested in the decider of the annual series.
Hancock will leave her Gold Coast base this week for a series of surf carnivals in Sydney leading into and over the Australia Day weekend.
The Nutri-Grain series leader will compete for Queensland in an interstate event on the Northern Beaches on Friday before racing numerous events at the Manly and Freshwater surf carnivals on Saturday and Sunday.
Other top ironwomen and ironmen are also expected to compete at the Sydney events including Newport’s Kendrick Louis and Nutri-Grain men’s leader Shannon Eckstein.