It appears only the hand of god could stop the 'Coolie King' from defending his crown.
Ali Day is synonymous with the Coolangatta Gold. He has won six out of the past seven titles on his way to etching his name into folklore.
But the Kiama product won't be back in 2019 due to a broken wrist suffered in bizarre circumstances. Day was doing promo work with Surf Life Saving Australia when he slipped off the monkey bars and fell. Hard.
Ironically, this year marks the first time the Coolie will open the Nutri-Grain Ironman series. The man who has dominated on the Gold Coast will not line up for Sunday's race.
"I'm a big believer in things happening for a reason. But there have definitely been times where I thought, 'why has this happened to me'?," Day said.
"I won every race last year, I won the Coolie Gold, I won the Ironman series and won the world titles. I feel like I'm at the peak of my powers and suddenly that gets pulled away from you.
"The Coolie means the world to me, it's like my grand final day. It's going to be pretty tough watching from the sidelines."
Winners are grinners with record breaking six-time Coolangatta Gold winner @Alastair_Day and newly crowned women’s winner Georgia Miller joining the legends of the sport on the women’s trophy @hansonmedia#CoolieGoldpic.twitter.com/I57nC1Cb4h— Surf Life Saving Australia (@SLSAustralia) October 7, 2018
Instead, two long-term friends will look to stand up in Day's absence.
Hayden White and Ben Carberry are ready to compete in the gruelling 41.8km event which features ski, swim, board and running disciplines.
The pair grew up together representing the Warilla-Barrack Point Surf Club, where they trained alongside Day.
White and Carberry are now part of the Currumbin Surf Life Saving Club. "To have three guys from Warilla racing together would have been awesome," White said.
"Unfortunately, Ali can't be there to race on Sunday. Not that he'd be with us, he would be 2km ahead of us.
"But Benny's a really strong ski paddler. He's a guy willing to work on the ski, to try and spread the field and make others hurt a bit. That's always a person to have alongside you."
White, 29, knows just how challenging the Coolie Gold can be - he finished sixth at the 2016 event.
And painful memories have stuck with him.
"It's hard. You go in there with an expectation of how the race will play out, how you want to feel, what you want to do and how you're going to set yourself up," he said.
"Within five minutes, you realise you have no idea what you're about to do.
"I'm expecting that it's going to hurt for four hours. If by some miracle there's parts where I feel alright, that's a bonus.
"You can ask anyone for tips on how to do it, but there's no real secret. It's about whose the toughest out there on the day and whose done the work. As much as you can say there's no luck involved, in a race like that I think there is.
"There's a pretty stacked field this year, I'd be happy to get a top five finish."
You can ask anyone for tips on how to do it, but there's no real secret. It's about whose the toughest out there on the day and whose done the work.Hayden White
Carberry is preparing for his 'Coolie' debut. The 25-year-old said he was ready for a "long race".
"I think I'll have to pace myself and stay with the front pack in the ski leg. It's my best chance of staying up there," he said. "I'll grit my teeth and try stay up there for the final legs.
"A top 10 result would be good for me. I don't want to have a bad round and go outside the top 10 [in the Ironman series]."
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