GOLDEN GIRL: Leonie Anderson proudly displays her trophy that she won after she finished first in the Ironman 70.3 in Malaysia. She now qualifies for the World Championships in France in 2019.
GOLDEN GIRL: Leonie Anderson proudly displays her trophy that she won after she finished first in the Ironman 70.3 in Malaysia. She now qualifies for the World Championships in France in 2019. Mike Richards GLA111218TRIA

LISTEN: Gladstone athlete hopes to fire in French champs

IRONMAN: Leonie Anderson has powered her way to the 2019 Ironman 70.3 World Championship in France on September 8.

GOLDEN GIRL: Leonie Anderson proudly displays her trophy that she won after she finished first in the Ironman 70.3 in Malaysia. She now qualifies for the World Championships in France in 2019.
GOLDEN GIRL: Leonie Anderson proudly displays her trophy that she won after she finished first in the Ironman 70.3 in Malaysia. She now qualifies for the World Championships in France in 2019. Mike Richards GLA111218TRIA

She qualified because she finished first in the 55-59 age bracket at the Ironman 70.3 Langkawi in Malaysia.

Anderson completed the gruelling test in 5hr:52min:51sec and was also a superb 27th out of all females who competed.

The super-fit Anderson suffered a couple of setbacks,

"I went to Bintang in Singapore earlier this year, but unfortunately Australia's number one was there and she's pretty good and she won it," she said.

"I came third in that competition and so I registered for Saipan which is in the Mariana Islands about three hours west of Japan."

But a category five typhoon wiped the island out after they had arrived to Korea.

"The race was called off and we were stuck in Korea for about five days," Anderson said.

The delay gave her time to look to where she could compete in her next race which was in Malaysia.

She said that her fitness had already been up to an elite level and she wanted to maintain it by competing.

"I was already trained up and you work your way up to a certain level of fitness and you are not going to hang on to that for too long," Anderson said.

She said that, with Christmas fast approaching, she would not train if there was no impending race.

But that changed when she registered for the Malaysian challenge and ultimately has paved her way to her second World Championship.

"Last year I raced in Chattanooga, Tennessee and that was my first-ever World Championships," she said.

"It was such an awesome experience and so I thought that I'd want to do it again."

The appeal of swimming, running and cycling in a competitive environment began 30 years ago.

"I did my first triathlon when I was at university when hardly anyone was doing it then I stopped when I had kids and that sort of stuff," she said.

"I kept fit all of the time, but then just that that this is the sport for me."

She said once the 3D Coaching and Triathlon Club got established at the Western Waves - Western Suburbs Waves Swimming and Triathlon Club precinct, the profile has risen further in Gladstone.

"That makes it more fun that you have other people that you compete alongside and support and it becomes a team effort," Anderson said.

She trains up to 10-12 hours a week before upcoming competitions which includes a mixture of swimming, biking and running.

"But going into Christmas, I'm having some time off and will probably do half that just to keep my fitness up," she said.