Paying the iron price


By samuel darroch

TRARALGON’S David Gafa has enlisted as a foot soldier in the war against cancer, vowing to take on the Melbourne Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship in March to raise funds for the cause.

The veteran cyclist and first time ironman competitor will tackle the gruelling single day pursuit alongside fellow local and experienced hand Martin Tullett, with both men throwing their weight behind the Tour de Cure initiative.

While the 180 kilometre bike and 42.2km run legs look most daunting on paper, the 3.8km swim is perhaps the most significant personal barrier for 42 year-old Gafa, who overcame a fear of water at 30.

“I was scared of the water and I thought I’ve got to get this under control,” he said.

With that achievement in his wake Gafa now faces one of the most brutal physical and mental challenges in sport, but believes his steady resolve is up to the ironman test.

“Mentally I’m as stubborn as anything, so it will be (mainly) physical,” he said.

His body, however, has been less willing to comply in recent times. A back injury temporarily derailed his training regime, which consists of 160km to 180km rides and running training on weekends.

Undeterred, Gafa said finishing an ironman had always been a goal, but given the sacrifices his family has made to accomodate training time he decided to ensure all the effort served a secondary purpose.

“It’s more a personal goal, and I thought if I was going to be selfish enough to do this I might as well raise money for a good cause,” he said.

Having lost an uncle to cancer, the choice of charity was easy.

Gafa hopes to raise $5000 for Tour de Cure, an organisation which has funded 137 cancer research, support and prevention projects for men, women and children in the past seven years with more than $10 million raised, and he currently has $2000 banked.

To contribute to the effort visit

Ironman Melbourne will be held on 23 March.