The greatest surf lifesaving athlete of all time, Shannon Eckstein, has revealed his elaborate plan to add a victory in the iconic Coolangatta Gold to his career resume.
Speaking exclusively to Paul Cochrane for the Spartan Sports Talk podcast on iTunes ahead of this weekend’s Nutri-Grain Finals Series at Sydney’s North Cronulla Beach, Shannon said the lure of winning the Gold may be the motivation that will keep him in the sport for another year.
The 6-time Ironman World Champion and the winner of an unprecedented eight Australian Ironman titles will aim for a record 10th Nutri-Grain Series crown this weekend.
For the first time, the Series will be staged as a condensed three day format from Friday.
“It’s different. It’s going to be tough. Three races over three days,” Shannon told Spartan Sports Talk.
“I’ve prepared really well. I’ve trained really hard. I’ve had some great races leading into this. It’s a great opportunity to try and reach that tenth title.”
“I might not come back next year, you never know, so it might be my last opportunity so I’ll be giving it my all that’s for sure.”
The 33-year-old enjoyed one of the most successful years of his career in 2016, winning five of the six races in the Nutri-Grain Series and ending the season with a dominant victory in the Ironman final at the Australian Championships on the Sunshine Coast.
He conceded he has consistently had to set himself new personal goals as he reaches the twilight of his career.
One of those could be a shot at next year’s Coolangatta Gold, an event mastered by his brother and five-time winner Caine.
“Hopefully next year I’ll be able to give it another crack,” he said.
“The Coolangatta Gold is one thing that would motivate me to keep going. I’ve finished second and third in it. And fourth actually. I’ve done it three times so I’ve got quite good results but the last run leg is what’s let me down and I do need a calf operation to try and get better at that.”
“In my own mind I’d love to win it but I know that my legs at the moment I won’t be able to get the distance done. But I’d like to give it a real good crack and I think the sport needs it.”
Shannon has been diagnosed with Popliteal Artery Entrapment Syndrome – a rare exercise-induced condition which renders his legs numb after running around 5km’s.
He said if he decides to take on the Gold in October 2018, he would consider having surgery on his legs immediately after the Australian Championships in April on the Gold Coast, allowing himself time to recover and train for the race.
To listen to this episode with Shannon Eckstein on iTunes and subscribe to Spartan Sports Talk CLICK HERE