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Ironman champion sets new career challenge

Written by Bond journalism student, Alexandra Britton

Shannon Eckstein is the world’s most decorated Ironman but at 35 he realises he must look towards the next stage of his life.

Eckstein now balances work, racing and family life with study as he embarks on his graduate certificate of Valuation and Property Development at Bond University.

“I have spent the past 18 years racing as a professional Ironman but as that starts to wind down I’ve had to weigh up some options,” said Eckstein.

“This course offered subjects that were a great fit and Bond has a great reputation for delivering what business wants in employees.

“We looked for a course that would fit in with my last year of racing and also give me the skills that I need to transition into working full-time.

“The way Bond University is run with intensive classes is perfect, because I can fit it around training and learn a bit of skills to move into that career.”

With nine Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Ironman Series victories, eight Australian Ironman Titles and six World Ironman Titles he is regarded as the greatest of all time.

Eckstein, father of Ellie (6) and Blake (2), is part of the Bond Elite Sport Program, where he joins many other students who compete at a world class level. After taking a few months off training, he is back in the water preparing his final tilt of a glittering career.

“Bond University have a really good sport program here, I know a lot of the swimmers and they speak highly of the program, so it made it an easy decision,” he said.

“I’ve had a really good break this off-season. I’ve only just got back in the water, I’m four weeks into training. There are 12 weeks before I race, so it is a slow build up, but I’ll be ready to go in October for summer.

“The last couple of years, I’ve been doing other things outside of the sport and I knew this point was coming, I’m married, I’ve got two kids, the mind still really enjoys the racing, but the body can’t cop any more of the hard training.”

Eckstein will prioritise coming into his final season setting goals in the surf and on the land. His sights are set on claiming back the Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Ironman Series, his next Australian Ironman Title and starting full time work.

“My focus this year is the World Championships in November and the Australian titles are back in Broadbeach in April, which will be my last ever race,” said Eckstein.

“Ali Day had an awesome season last year, so he is the one to beat.”

Shannon is a member of Bond’s Elite Sport Program (BESP). As a BESP athlete, the University provides him with support and guidance to balance his academic and sporting goals through flexible study loads and timetabling, as well as having access to Bond’s Elite Athlete Fund which provides funding to participate in sporting events and competitions.

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