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By Nick Creely

All athletes need purpose, something that drives them to push themselves in the face of adversity and challenges.

For Cranbourne Ironman Levi Maxwell, everything comes down to his aspirations of once again competing in the Ironman Australia event.

The last two years haven’t been particularly kind, with major injuries derailing him in his prime.

But now he’s back, and this Sunday 6 May in Port Macquarie, the champion triathlete will get his chance to etch his name in Ironman folklore after a positive result in the latest Challenge Melbourne race on 22 April.

The Challenge Melbourne race – despite its risks – has Maxwell primed for what’s to come, with the resulting giving him extreme confidence moving forward.

“I finished second in the end (on 22 April) – the race I was planning on doing got cancelled, and I had a good swim for me and I was in the second pack, which is good for me,” he said.

“Even though I was in the second pack, we actually ended up catching the front pack in the last lap and we were all together – there was one athlete that broke off in the lead, and off the bike I was in third, and caught the first guy within 200 meters on the run, and took the lead in about kilometer two or three, and then I just went for it and laid it all on the line.

“The guy ran me down at about 17km, to be overtaken in the latter stages of the race was a little bit demoralizing, and especially because he was a Kiwi, but overall I’m stoked, it was a PB time for me, and it was the first race I raced in good shape for almost two years now.

“It’s a big race, and to come second makes me over the moon – being so close is definitely shattering, but I’m happy and pretty surprised, I thought I’d maybe be in the top 10 and to come second is a great surprise.”

While Maxwell concedes he is unsure whether his body can fully recover in time, it was a risk worth taking, and something he believes could even be an advantage.

“The race I just did could still be in the legs a little bit, and it’s my first Ironman in nearly two years, so there will definitely be a few extra nerves and maybe some rookie mistakes that I shouldn’t make, but overall I’m hoping to be in the mix at the pointy end, but I’m just looking forward to getting out there and giving it a go,” he said.

“It’s been the aim focus for most of the year, it’s the big one – I’ve got some confidence, I feel good.

“I’ve put in a lot of work, because of the interruptions over the last few years I probably haven’t put in as many kilometers as I would have liked – even though I’m confident, there is still a few spanners in the works that could potentially be interesting on race day.

“I’ve done bigger preps in the past, but your body can surprise itself, it might actually produce a better result on less work.

“I’m rapt to be racing the long stuff again.”

And the conditions in Melbourne aren’t too dissimilar to what he is expected to face come Sunday, with Maxwell also viewing it as a potential advantage.

“The main difference is the lows aren’t as low, and the race day forecast is predicted to be similar to what I just had, the lows 15, the highs 25,” he said.

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