Illawarra athletes Ben Bell and Scott Ashcroft finished in the top 10 in their age groups at the recent Hawaii Ironman World Championships.
The event, which involves a 3.8-kilometre swim, 180-kilometre cycle and 42- kilometre run, is recognised as one of the toughest in the world.
Bell and Ashcroft were joined by fellow Illawarra athletes Carolyn Dews and Steve Newman at the event.
It was the second Ironman World Championship for Bell, who set the goal of finishing in the top 10 of his age group.
He finished in an amazing time of 9 hours 17 minutes, which was a finish of 54th overall and sixth position in the 35-39 age group.
"In what were extremely tough conditions with extreme heat and winds that the Hawaii Ironman is famous for, [it] made for a tough day," Bell said.
"I had a comfortable swim, exiting the water in 58 minutes.
"The last 90 kilometres of the bike were extremely difficult battling strong headwinds.
"The marathon was then a matter of survival and I managed to have the fastest run split in my age group, 3:02.
"All in all I was very happy with my race, but there was a sense of disappointment in missing out on podium position by 30 seconds."
Bell will now compete in several Half Ironman races before competing in Cairns Ironman in June, where he will be looking to break the nine-hour barrier for the first time.
Ashcroft was competing in his second Hawaii Ironman and finished in a time of 9:22, which was ninth in the 30-34 age group.
"Hawaii was easily the hardest but most satisfying that I have ever done," he said.
"I am extremely happy with the result of a top-10 finish and to be the first Australian male home in my age group."
He now plans to rest , but has longer-term goals of qualifying and competing in World Championship events for all major triathlon distances, including Half Ironman and Olympic distances.