Dilworth alumnus a former New Zealand Ironman Champion

Dilworth Old Boy Thomas (Tom) Duncan (Class of 2010) and former Ian Hart Award recipient, continues to perform exceptionally well at triathlon events. The Ian Hart Award is donated each year by a benefactor, in memory of the late Ian Hart, father of Dilworth old boys Kahn and Grayson Hart. It is awarded annually at the Dilworth Senior Sports Prizegiving.

Tom says of his time at Dilworth School that he “couldn’t have asked for a better school to have attended” and feels that Dilworth assured he was heading in the right direction during his time at the school. Immediately after graduating Dilworth, Tom undertook an exchange programme and completed a tutorship at Whitgift School in Croydon, England. Upon returning to New Zealand, Tom completed his building apprenticeship and has now been working in the construction industry, both in New Zealand and England for over nine years. 

Having gained a solid grounding in sport and physical education while at Dilworth, Tom started to take endurance sports seriously in his early twenties focusing on marathon running, triathlon and Ironman. Tom has continued to excel over the years, holding several titles in New Zealand and even placing an impressive 11th in the world at the Ironman World Championship. 

Screen Shot 2020-11-19 at 8.47.29 AM.png

Taking on the world’s elite at the Ironman World Championship is no easy feat with over 80,000 athletes each year vying for a slot at qualifying Ironman events worldwide, while only approximately 2,000 even make it to the starting line on race day. The Ironman World Championship is considered the most challenging one-day sporting event in the world and Tom was able to prove that "Anything is Possible" (the mantra of the Ironman World Championship) by placing 11th amongst those elite world athletes. 

Tom credits winning the Ian Hart Award and the accompanying prize money to his ability to compete at triathlon events. The funds helped with race fees and allowed him to adhere to a strict nutrition regimen while sticking to a gruelling 20 plus hours a week training schedule. 

While at the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, Tom was on the last leg of 180km bike and says the heat and the intensity of the race pace started to overwhelm him and he began to drift off and lose focus. He quickly refocused and learnt a valuable lesson. “In tough times whether it be training or competing, remember your family and friends and where you’ve come from, they won’t forget how proud you make them by giving everything you can,” he said.

Tom’s advice to current Dilworth students and anyone considering taking their sporting pursuits to the next level is to be consistent. Tom advises, “always put in the hard work and sacrifice late nights to get rest. Slowly over time, you will get stronger and faster. Good things take time but consistency will get you there”.

He also emphasises the importance of having fun: “As you reflect on and celebrate your achievements, always move forward to the next goal, the next part of the journey. Don’t get too tied up in the seriousness of competing. Have fun and enjoy it all”. 

Amongst Tom’s many impressive achievements include the aforementioned 11th place at the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, 1st place in the 2015 Ironman New Zealand, 1st place in the 2016 New Zealand Half Ironman, 17th in the 2017 Sunshine Coast Ironman World Championship, and a personal best of 2:56 in the Auckland Marathon. 

November 19, 2020