We sit down with Josh Minogue as we talk about how patience pays off, his Coolangatta Gold triumph and his triathlon journey.
04:09 Swimming Background
07:16 How Can Disappointment Be Good For Me?
09:08 If You Stop Learning, Stop Coaching
10:08 Being An Athlete and Being A Coach
13:12 Coaching And Training For Triathlon
14:43 Trying Something New
18:23 Transition From Swimming To Surf Ironman
24:46 Giving The Coolangatta Gold Another Try
34:28 Not Competing in Surf Ironman
37:41 “I’m So Glad I Did It” Moments
39:02 Two Types Of Fun
42:33 Pain Is Inevitable, Suffering Is Optional
44:11 Future Challenges
48:42 Some Lesson Are Learned In The Doing
Brenton Ford: So Josh, we used to race each other back in the day. And I think it was at Hobart Aquatic Center. I think I might’ve been like-
Josh Minogue: A long time ago.
Brenton Ford: I was like 12 or 13. I remember we might’ve raced against each other in a final there or something and I just remember seeing you afterwards and I think you might’ve been done and I was done and we were playing in the kid’s pool for a while, like mocking around I was like, and I think… and you were really at a pretty high level then and I was kind of afraid to talk-
Josh Minogue: I don’t know about that.
Brenton Ford: Well, I think you’re a sub two minute freestyler and I was hovering just above. And so if you’re quicker than two minutes for the 200, you’re a big deal. And, so I was probably a bit too afraid to say anything. But, a mate of mine, Simon Hearn, saw some of his posts on the weekend and saw that you raced at the same race and I thought, you’d be a good guest to get on with your background in swimming, in Surf Ironman and now getting into triathlon.
Brenton Ford: So if you want to just talk a little bit about your background in swimming to start with, and it probably feels like a long time ago, but, and I mean, we look back and geez, it goes fast. But I mean, you were at a very top level for quite a few years there. Do you want to share what that was?
Josh Minogue: Yeah. Well, thanks for having me on first and foremost. But, I was not a bad, junior swimmer coming through. I was at the Australian final, won a couple of Australian junior titles. I swam a bit of freestyle and a bit of butterfly and got picked on a couple of Australian junior teams when I was a little bit older, like 17 or 16, 17, 18. So I had a good run there. But after 18 I never really kicked on to, like the goals, obviously the Olympics when you’re a swimmer and a swimmer in Australia.
Josh Minogue: And I got to the point where I was fourth and fifth in the country over 200 butterfly and trying to make those finals in 200 freestyle. So top 10 or pushing on the top 10, but I never really pushed on. And I had a couple of really good years in around 2006, 2007 and then 2008 and the Olympic trials came and I made a change to go to Sydney, out of Wollongong because I was at Wollongong originally with Ron McKeon and you’d know McKeon as in Emma and David who are currently on the Australian team.
Josh Minogue: And, I train with Ron my entire life growing up and made a move and thought I needed some training partners to push me on and it just never happened. So I got to those 2008 Olympic trials and I probably wasn’t good enough to get on the team anyway, but I ended up crook as a dog, the week before and finished with just finals and semi-finals, but never got to that level and swam with a lot of really good guys.
Josh Minogue: I’d swam against Michael Phelps in 200 butterfly in mid 2006 when he was at his absolute peak of his power and I’ve got that story. I can always talk about it. I’m pretty lucky to have that one. So that’s my swimming claim to fame. And I guess like so many, it’s, I guess the story of what could have been, if I’d probably not made better decisions, but just taken the path a little bit easier.
Josh Minogue: I got [inaudible 00:03:21] when I was 14 or 15 and thought I could go to the games and went all in on it. And it’s just, it’s funny how the world works, but I wouldn’t really change my path or anything because I learned a bunch of really good lessons and there’s a lot of good things you learn out of being disappointed early on in your life and you learn to overcome that and it’s not the end of the world if you don’t achieve your dream.
Josh Minogue: And I’m pretty lucky to have had that lesson at the age of 19 and as I said before, I definitely wouldn’t change it, although going to the Olympics would be fantastic. It’s set in motion a bunch of things that have gotten me to where I am today and I’ve got a family and a wonderful life up here because of it. And I don’t know what would’ve happened if I had to go into the games, but I’m pretty content with the way it’s turned out now.
Brenton Ford: And taking those lessons early on as well and coaching as you do now, how do you convey that to the athletes that you coach?
Josh Minogue: I’m lucky to coach at Sunshine Beach Surf Club, up on the Sunshine Coast now. So I guess it’s hard to tell kids about disappointment and I guess you and I be the same. You hear it when you’re young and you don’t really believe. You don’t believe it. You think, how can losing be good for me? Or how can disappointment be good for me? And it’s probably something that I try and tell the parents as much as the kids that they don’t get disheartened when their kid or when their child comes fourth or when they miss the final or when they get second.
Josh Minogue: It’s these losses are good for them in the long run. It teaches them humility and it teaches them to learn from mistakes and to analyze their races because if they’re just always winning, it just doesn’t help. Well, it doesn’t create a good a personality I guess, or a good mindset. And it tends to be the ones that win all through teenage years that when they do finally come up against a challenge, then that’s when they find out well what they’re really made of and when it’s not so easy, it really opens up their character.
Josh Minogue: And I guess I try to impart that on the kids, but it’s really tough when you’ve got 13 and 14 and 15 year olds who commit everything to a goal and they don’t get it and how they can see it as a positive in the long run. And we always talk about being disappointed but not being disheartened and try and move from your failures and see them as a challenge to come back and improve for next time. So I do my best, but it’s no easy task. I’ve got a new appreciation for all the swim coaches I had back in the day and surf coaches when I started coaching as well. It’s not an easy gig.
Brenton Ford: No, it is a good gig though. Like I’m really glad that I went into this line of work and you’re like, you get to work with great people and you get to hopefully impart some of the noise that you’ve picked up along the way. And it’s kind of like, it’s just, there’s so many different moves that you can use and so many different things that you can say or directions you can steer the athletes that you coach.
Brenton Ford: But, it’s kind of, it’s a way to be creative as well. Like you get to kind of, just figure things out and try and see what’s going to work best for each person. And it’s, I really like that creativity of it where you can have your own style and like continually learning. Like I think back to when I first started coaching about 12 years ago and, jeez, I was such a rookie then and even now, like there’s times where I think, geez, I’ve got so much to learn. But it’s like as soon as you stop learning, I think that’s probably when you should stop coaching. And like, what have you found to be the difference between being an athlete and then being a coach and having to be on the other side of the fence?
Josh Minogue: I think that, being the athlete is simpler.
Brenton Ford: For sure.
Josh Minogue: And I was always somebody who really trusted in my coaches and that was important for me. I trusted in them wholly and it was an unwavering trust and I think late in my career probably that went out the window when I left Ron. And, that was the big thing for me is that I trusted them completely and I knew that if they told me to swim 100, 100s, I knew it was good for me. So I’d do it with everything I had.
Josh Minogue: And I just think if you don’t have that trust and it’s just not going to work, and that’s probably been the toughest thing, is developing that trust with the athletes where they know that if they listen to you and they commit wholeheartedly, you’re committed as well and you’ll get a result in the end. And it might not be the result you’re looking for, but it’ll be a result. And that’s probably been well, the toughest thing or the biggest difference I guess between the two is, I’m the one making the decisions and I’m the one who’s having to think it through.
Josh Minogue: Whereas as an athlete you just get, I guess it’s not laziness, but you just fall into that, okay, I’m going to believe in them. I’m going to do the hard work and we’ll come out on the end. Where the other way around now is, it’s not so much the physical hard work, it’s probably the mental side of it in terms of planning and making sure that the path that you’re going down is the correct one.
Josh Minogue: And that’s probably the big thing I’ve struggled with starting off coaching is just, knowing or trusting in yourself and your own plan and having different plans for different people who have different personalities and different skill sets. And that’s been the one is keeping the faith when it gets tough or when it doesn’t seem like it’s working or when you might get a couple of bad results in a row. That’s really been the hard one so far and something I’m having to learn to deal with.
Josh Minogue: And I’ve been lucky to have some great coaches in my life, some really, really fantastic coaches, both in swimming and in surf and now in triathlon as well. So I just continually try and learn. I’ve no doubt in the world that I’m not the best coach going around, but I’m one who’s willing to work the hardest and one who will listen and I guess steal from other coaches and learn and grow and adapt and not just be set in my ways.
Josh Minogue: So that’s probably one area that I’ve really enjoyed coaching is stealing from people and seeing how they do it in different surf clubs or different swim coaches or different, coaches from other sports and stuff. Just stealing from them and trying to adapt that into our own program. So it’s definitely not an easy gig, that’s for sure. But it’s one that’s fulfilling and worthwhile when you have those kids trusting you and commit to you fully and you get to commit back and I guess chase a mutual goal.
Brenton Ford: And are you enjoying the combination of training during the triathlons now and also being able to coach? Do you find that if you’re continuing to work for something that it helps you with the coaching?
Josh Minogue: Yeah, and it keeps me sane as well. I don’t think I could go into, no exercise and stuff like that. And I guess it keeps it a little bit real for me as well. Like I always say to the kids, I’d never set them something that I wouldn’t be able to do myself or that I wouldn’t do myself. So there’s that element of keeping it real. Like if we do a run or if we do, a set in the surf, if I go, oh geez, I’d never do that or I couldn’t do that, then it’s not really appropriate.
Josh Minogue: And I think sometimes if you’re too far out of the sport or too far removed, you just forget what it really takes and what it’s like. And so I stay in the water a little bit and I make sure that I’m there doing a couple of sessions as well on the outside because if I can’t do it, then there’s no way that they are going to be able to do it. Or if I struggle to, then some of them probably will, but the majority will just walk away.
Josh Minogue: So, I enjoy doing that triathlon element. And it’s just a personal goal thing as well. Like I think everybody’s got to have goals and challenges and that’s a big one for me is, there’s challenges professionally in terms of relationships and away from sport. But I’ve always got to have like a sporting goal as well to chase. And it seems like I’ve just got a really silly one at the moment with this whole Ironman thing and I’m loving it. But, it’s definitely not an easy.
Brenton Ford: And that’s what I found. Like I’ve done a season of triathlon and I’m-
Josh Minogue: Nice.
Brenton Ford: … just about to get back into it. And, I enjoyed like trying something new, like the running, I’d always run a bit, but or the biking, I still suck at and I’ve got to get a lot better at. But it is good doing something new and being challenged that way because firstly the improvement that you can make can be so dramatic and when you’re at that higher end of that or the top end of the field, like especially if you with swimming and Surf Ironman, like the improvements are so marginal.
Brenton Ford: But when you’re trying something new, you really get those big gains and that can be quite fun. And I think like the sanity aspect of it too, like it gives you something to really just dial your focus into. And also the physical side of it where like if I’m physically fit, mentally I’m the same as well. But if I’m mentally fit and then physically not do anything, like it’s the physical for me often comes first. I find like forget that, the rest falls into place.
Josh Minogue: It keeps me out of trouble. I say like if I’m riding a couple of hours in the morning and running in the afternoon or swimming or whatever it is, then I’m not going to go and have six beers after work on a Friday afternoon kind of thing. Like I’m going to go home and do a session and go to bed and you’re spot on. There’s something to be said about challenges that are hard and they really test you and there’s a lot to be said about doing something completely out of your comfort zone and similar to you while swimming, while they’ve got the same name like Ironman and Surf Ironman, they’re just so different.
Josh Minogue: I found riding the bikes so difficult and, or difficult to get fast on and that’s been the best path for me that it’s such a challenge and it’s not easy because I don’t I think… I think if you get caught doing easy things, you just take soft options everywhere in your life. And I guess it’s one of the big things I push on the kids is the way you do one thing is the way you do everything. And if you’re willing to accept a big challenge in one area of your life, you’re probably willing to do it in other areas.
Josh Minogue: And if you’re working hard in the fitness area and you’re keeping yourself in a good place, then I guess you’re doing the same mentally and at work and with your family and stuff like that as well. And it sounds really airy fairy, but I just feel like it works. Like if you can find a challenge that you’re willing to overcome in the sporting arena, I bet you you’ll look for challenges in terms of your professional career and in terms of other areas and that’ll make for a more fulfilling life.
Josh Minogue: And it’s something that I’ve only embraced the last couple of years. I was always happy to [inaudible 00:14:23] like to do the same things over and over in the same sort of, I guess the same races and guys that I knew I’d beat or the guys that I knew I could race against and now it’s like, well, I want to take on the best in the business and even if I get smacked up, at least I’ve accepted the challenge and I can come back next year and see just how much better I can be.
Brenton Ford: I completely agree with that. Like you’re focus on one aspect or you challenge yourself on one aspect and that plays out to the other areas of your life. Like say you’ve got 10 things, sort of 10 areas of your life that are happening. Let’s say two of those are going well, eight of those aren’t going well. If you focus in on those two that are going well, I find that will then transfer across to those other aspects of it. And so the same thing goes-
Josh Minogue: 100%.
Brenton Ford: … with like, but challenging yourself and going about it that way. And I mean, what was your transition from swimming to Surf Ironman like, and was there like in terms of your actual swimming, like what did you have to, was it much you had to change there with like with the stroke, with how you’re trained? How’d that go?
Josh Minogue: So in after the 2008 Olympic trials, I think that was in may, I didn’t know what to do. I moved home from Sydney to Wollongong, was living with mum and dad trying to get uni finished and I’d always wanted to do… I’d always go into the Aussie titles in terms of surf, but I’d just done the surf race or I’d go around in the Ironman and kind of get knocked out in a semi or something because I wasn’t doing any scale board work.
Josh Minogue: So then when I got home, my old man said to me, “Do you want to do the Coolangatta Gold? It’s on in six months and it’ll give you something to train for,” and I could get round reasonably, but I wasn’t very good. So I got home and decided, well, okay, I’ll do that. And got a job at home and just started training towards that and I had no idea and was training on my own and didn’t really, know what was up at all and I just do long sessions.
Josh Minogue: I just paddle as hard as I could, as long as I could. And then there was a couple of groups around town in terms of like board and ski. There was some guys like David Smith who won the Olympic gold medal for kayaking and he was a really good swimmer when we were young as well actually. And Hayden White and Ali Day and those sorts of guys were training. So I jumped in with them on [inaudible 00:16:50] and then swimming, I went back to Ron at Wollongong there and I didn’t really have to change that much.
Josh Minogue: Like I’d done a lot of surf swimming as a kid, so it came really naturally. Like I just spent all day, every day in the surf and it wasn’t a big deal. And there are differences in terms of your stroke and stuff like that. But for me it was always in built. And I guess it’s hard when I see a lot of the guys maybe you’re coaching in that that are coming to surf swimming or open water swimming late in their life and it’s just such a foreign environment for them.
Josh Minogue: I know they feel like, I’m getting dragged under or I’m going to drown or I can’t get a clean stroke. Whereas for me it was always surf swimming. Now I’m just going to surf swim and that was something I was lucky to have. Like I grew up at the beach, we’d spend every day of every… we’d just spend every day at the beach. Like I’d go swimming training. I’d come home from school, go to the beach for half an hour and body surf and then get in the and go swimming training at 4:30 kind of thing. Like I was just another part of life.
Josh Minogue: So it just came really easily in terms of that swimming. But it was the other elements of board and ski that really made me struggle. And that had an effect on my swimming as well because it’s different muscle groups and that affects your swim. And I always found out through my clubby career when I was racing in the Kellogg series or when I was training for the Coolangatta Gold or the Aussie titles that if my ski paddling was going really well, my swimming it’s sort of struggle a little bit.
Josh Minogue: So I had to be really conscious of letting that go and understanding that well, my swim is not fantastic at the moment, but it’s good enough and my ski is going a little bit better or my board’s going well. And, I had to take a backward step and just let my swimming go for a little bit and not go as in disappear. But when you go from swimming 10, 11 sessions a week, back to five or six sessions a week, you’ve naturally got that drop off and you have to find the level again and it levels itself out after 12 months and you figure out that, okay, this is where I’m at now.
Josh Minogue: And I guess you reset your PBS and what you want to hold at training and what’s acceptable and then you go again and you try and build that back up off five or six sessions a week rather than 10 or 12. Like I went from trying to swim, sub 350 for 400 to just being happy to go, hey, I’m going to go four minutes or 405 kind of thing. And that’s all 355 and that’s good enough kind of thing. And that’s all you need to be able to swim at the top level to be effective.
Josh Minogue: So it was kind of just a big race set going back into clubbies and then I moved from [inaudible 00:19:37] I went to the Sunshine Coast for a training camp to train with Michael King at the Mooloolaba club. And I remember ringing dad about two days in and I said, “Look, I’m not coming back.” And he laughed at me and said, “What do you mean?” I said, “Actually I’m going to drive home, pack my car up and then drive back to the Sunshine Coast and just move up here.”
Josh Minogue: And he was really supportive and stuff and he said, “Look, you’re only 19. Like give yourself two or three years and see if you can chase this dream.” And it had always been a dream of mine when I was a kid to be an Ironman. Like I’d looked up to him as a kid and watch the likes of [inaudible 00:20:12] and Michael King and [inaudible 00:20:15] sorts of guys that were famous and they were making money and they were going to the beach every day.
Josh Minogue: And I decided if I wasn’t going to chase that Olympic swimming dream, that I was just going to give it a go on the Sunshine Coast and see if I could become an Ironman. And I got really lucky to move into the Sunshine Coast with a bunch of good young up and coming guys, like Matt Poole and had Jack Hansen and there was [inaudible 00:20:42] and a bunch of other good [inaudible 00:20:45] and a bunch of good up and coming Ironman that were 19, 20, 21. And we all moved in here together.
Josh Minogue: And I guess the rest is history for us. Like most of those guys went on to be in the Ironman series for a long time. Some of them still are. We had the likes of Ali Day, Matt Bevilacqua, Hayden White, Kendrick Louis move in. We had, you name it, they all went through Mooloolaba at one point. We were probably the strongest, if not the second strongest, Ironman group in the country.
Josh Minogue: And I just got so lucky to find a coach like Kinney and the group like that to look after me as a 19 year old. And they’re still my mates now. They were in my bridal party when I got married earlier this year and they’re still some of the best in the business, like Poole is leading the Ironman series, and we lived together for eight years and I think I moved out and he became a whole lot better. So maybe I’m a bad influence on him.
Brenton Ford: And I remember hearing that you were about to give up the Surf Ironman and then coach Kinney said you should give the Coolangatta Gold another crack because you’d come third four times.
Josh Minogue: Yeah. So I was in the series for six years in the end or, I think I had six years in the series and I’d have a good year and a bad year and I’d be injured and I’d be up and down and it was just became really draining on me and I had some really good results where I got some good race results for me kind of thing against some great competition. Like I had some sprints out at the beach with Shannon Eckstein for thirds and fourths and I went to Perth and won a couple of big races over there and I was good, but I was never top level contender for the overall series.
Josh Minogue: I could get a race off here and there and be competitive. And I got towards the end. Well, I got towards my 30s and I just wasn’t making enough money. I was really poor and I was making enough to get by and thought, I’ll get a real job and ended up becoming a sport’s journalist on the Sunshine Coast. And then well, every couple of years I’d have to go back to the Kellogg’s trial. There’d be automatic qualifies from the year before, let’s say top six. And if you fell outside of that, you had to go back to a trial and you train all winter and get yourself ready for one day.
Josh Minogue: Where if you finished in the top 10 you’d get in. And if you missed out you have to wait 12 more months to go back. And by then I was just over go into the trial. I’d finished like seventh or eighth or ninth every year and I’d have to go back to this trial year on, year on, year on and get in. And I just, I was over it and got to the trial in September of, it must’ve been 2013. No, 2014. 2014 and got to the trial and was doing really well and I trained really hard. And was out in front by a mile in the first race and it was three races.
Josh Minogue: And basically all you had to do was get two good results and then you could have one shocker and it’d be enough to get through. Like it wasn’t brutal, but I first raced mile out in front, I got smacked by wave and my ski went about a hundred meters up in the air. And I remember when I popped back up, I could see it still going up in the air and it was, it came down into about a thousand pieces and washed into the beach.
Josh Minogue: And so I was out and got no points in that first race, which meant there was no chance I was getting through, and I decided I was done at that point. There was nothing you could tell me, nothing you’d convince me to make me ever do another Ironman race again. I was just so over it. Like I had no money. I was working a full-time job. I was training outside of that. So I’d get up at 4:30 and then wouldn’t get home until about 8:30 at night and do that five days a week. And I was just done.
Josh Minogue: And so I just drank for… I legitimately just drank for about two weeks and like partied and went out every night and had an absolute blast. It was so much fun. But about two weeks later, Kinney rang me and he’s as close to a father figure as I’ve had outside of my dad along with Ron McKeon. And he rang me and he’s like, “I can’t see you do this to yourself like you’ve done…” And I was in good form. Like I was in as good a form as I’d ever been in my whole entire life and it was just really bad luck to cop on the chest and end my trial.
Josh Minogue: Like I would’ve just rolled through the trial and got in no stress at all. The guy who ended up winning the trial was training with us day in, day out, and I was as good, if not better than he was. So I know I would’ve got through if it wasn’t for that wave. And so he just said to me, “Look man, I can’t see you do this to yourself. Can you please do this gold for me? We’ve got…” it might’ve been eight weeks and he’s like, “We’ve got eight weeks to prepare. Please, please, please.” And I just kept saying no.
Josh Minogue: And then in the end I made him a deal that if I said yes, this one last time he’d never asked me again to go and train or to go and race and that we were done and we agreed to it. And I went back to training the next day and did eight weeks with one or two other guys because everyone else was racing or training for the Kellogg series that year. And I just did this Coolangatta Gold work. I did it with a young kid named Alex Wright who’s a great little competitor and still race as well.
Josh Minogue: And nobody gave me a chance in the world of winning that day. Caine Eckstein had won five of the last six I think at that point. And I’d gotten third, three times twice to him and once to Ali Day. And like I was good, but I just, nobody gave me a shot. I think he was a dollar five favorite and I was, I would’ve been 100 bucks. I’m pretty sure, and I love my old man to death, but I’m pretty sure he had money on Caine that day to win the rice. And that’s not a word of a lie. I think he might have 100 on him to try and make a little bit of money back.
Josh Minogue: And Caine had just done the world record for chin-ups in 24 hours. He’d done like four and a half thousand or no, maybe seven and a half thousand chin-ups. He’d taken that record from Dave Goggins, you know the Instagram, the motivational guy. So he’d just broken the record from Goggins and I think he’d hurt his… well, he hadn’t really been training enough, I don’t think skiing board. And I think he hurt his bicep a little bit early in the race.
Josh Minogue: So we line up and nobody really believed I could win. And I was thinking, Josh will get a second, then, that’ll be a good way to end his career or third and that’ll be a good way to end his career and happy days. And I get off the [inaudible 00:27:33] about maybe seven or eight minutes down on Caine and I just, I got off the [inaudible 00:27:38] and apologize to my handlers and I’m like, “I’m not doing it. Like, I’m sorry this is, I’m so far down, like this is not my day. I’m sorry guys,” like legitimately apologized and just thought, I’m going to finish 13th here at best.
Josh Minogue: And then I got into the swim and I just got a rhythm together. And we spoke about before about different surf swimming. Like I guess the one big difference is you’ve got to get your rating up. And I just decided that I was going to rate up as high as I possibly can and see how many guys I could pull back or how many minutes I could pull back. And in the end, I think I swam five minutes off Caine or something in that swim and I was only two and a bit minutes down.
Josh Minogue: And when I got to the beach, the boys were losing it and they’re like, “Mate, you can get him on the board if you really, really have a go.” And I thought if I could be close to him on the board, I’d be able to out run him. And I still believe that to this day, but we’ve got about halfway through the board and Caine, his bicep had gone and he was floating along and I paddled past him and I think a lot of people got this confused.
Josh Minogue: I said to him, I said, “Jump on mate and we’ll get to the end.” And I think people thought I meant jump on my board and I’ll paddle you to the end. But what I actually meant was jump on my wash and I’ll drag you to the end, because I genuinely didn’t want him to finish out there, if that makes sense. Like I wanted to, if I was going to beat him, and even at that point I wasn’t 100%. I wanted to beat him fair and square and full blown and outrun him kind of thing.
Josh Minogue: So, because he was the best athlete. Well, the best long distance athlete I’d ever seen at that point. And he’d done [inaudible 00:29:17] who won Ironman the year before and had to pull out of that on the run. And I just thought I could outrun him. And he went for a little bit further, but they ended up pulling the pin and I couldn’t believe it. Got to the run and just kept rowing and ended up winning by 10 or 12 minutes in the end.
Josh Minogue: And the final race of my career was probably my best, and I made enough money to get a house deposit and all the problems that I’d had six months earlier kind of disappeared. Like I had people wanting to sponsor me and money for the first time and I was winning races and I was kind of relevant. But I’d promise Kinney that I was never going back and good to my word. I decided that was that and enough was enough and walked away like that.
Josh Minogue: So it was, easily the best I’ve had of racing ever in my entire life and the most memorable, but it probably, it wasn’t memorable for winning. Like that was awesome, but it was memorable because the people that were there and the way it all sort of came about. And if it wasn’t for Kinney, Michael, I would never have lined up in a million years. So I owe him and I will always owe him for doing that for me.
Josh Minogue: So it’s a crazy story for me and I just got really lucky on the final day sort of thing. And we spoke about it before, when I spoke at the start about swimming. I feel like all those results and missing out on the Olympics and all those sort of close ones, I had a little bit of karma on that day. Like, I don’t think I probably deserve to win the gold that day, but I had done a hell of a lot of work and I probably deserved a result in swimming somewhere along the way. And it’s funny how the world works and I finally got a result, but it came eight years later, or sorry, seven years later in an Ironman race rather than a 200 butterfly or a 200 freestyle. So it was good and very proud of it to this day.
Brenton Ford: And so after that, probably one of the highest highs of your life, what was it like then knowing that you weren’t going to compete again in Surf Ironman? Was there a time where you felt a little bit lost because that was what you’ve been doing for such a long time. Where were you at in terms of like mentally and then with the prospects of work and everything? Where were you at?
Josh Minogue: I was on cloud nine for weeks and weeks afterwards. And I just started dating my eventual wife at that point, Tyron. And I was just enjoying life like it was rad. I had such a good period, but it was probably six months later when I was like, I need to find another outlet kind of thing. And there was a big change up in that period. A lot of the boys on the Sunshine Coast moved to the Gold Coast for clubby.
Josh Minogue: So sort of I lost that group of I could go swimming with in the morning or I could go and have a paddle with in the afternoon. And so I decided that I needed another challenge. And I guess triathlon was it and decided to jump on. And I’d always watched Ironman as a kid. I’d watch [inaudible 00:32:33] like everyone and they all tell the same story, like why world of sports. You’d watch it there and you’d see these guys hammer it out and I have very little doubt that it’s the hardest race on the planet.
Josh Minogue: And it’s the hardest race on the planet, not because it’s just physically tough, but it’s so competitive as well. Like you can get guys that age group is and stuff like that who are just animals out there and I just thought, well, I’ll get a bike and see how I go. And I ended up getting through a friend of a friend, getting in contact with the coach, Brett Davidson. And, Box has been so good to me and he guided me through it and I started really slow and I had some hiccups and I was in and out and up and down. But it’s been a fantastic journey.
Josh Minogue: And eventually got to Hawaii in last year. Got to Hawaii last year and it is the greatest day in sport without a shadow of a doubt. And I kind of want it, well, I definitely want to go back in 2020, so that’s the next goal. But triathlon was a savior. I didn’t want to go back to clubbies. I felt like, I’d done, not had done everything I could do, but there was nothing more there that was motivated me at all.
Josh Minogue: And I would have love to win [inaudible 00:33:46], which if people listening don’t know, that’s where you have two board paddlers, two ski paddlers, two swimmers, and it’s probably, it’s the last event of the season at the Australian championships. And so much emotion goes into it and it’s so tough to win. And I think we ended up with maybe four silvers and two bronzes over the years, all to Northcliffe the best club in the world.
Josh Minogue: So, I just wanted to win one of those so bad. And then when the boys broke up and went to different clubs and moved to the Gold Coast, that possibility went out the window as well. So I think it was like, there was no more goals there. And I just thought, well, what’s the next hardest thing I can do? And that’s, punish yourself for nine hours in a triathlon. So it was definitely a wake up call.
Brenton Ford: And it’s funny how you keep coming back to is similar but slightly different sports, but all ones that are very, very physically demanding. But I think that’s like I’ve found that I still primarily swim, but, will get back in a triathlon. But, I’ve done a bit of running and it’s just like, for me, that’s where I find so much enjoyment and I love the feeling of being fit and healthy and, being out in the sun and just like coming from that space, then everything else tends to go well. And it’s, there’s really peace in, in the physical exertion and in those events where it’s incredibly hard. And when I built up and did an Ironman in 2016 and did the [inaudible 00:35:26] one, and I’ve never-
Josh Minogue: Nice.
Brenton Ford: … suffered that hard at the last like-
Josh Minogue: I love it.
Brenton Ford: … 10. Well, it was probably the last like 20Ks of the run, really. But the last 10K is that run. I’ve never been in that space before. And, like at the time it really sucks, but it’s one of those things that sucks at the time, but you look back and go, that was awesome. I’m so glad I did it. And if you can bring that feeling on yourself on a somewhat regular basis, I think that that really makes you feel alive.
Josh Minogue: I think and there’s like, I think it’s Cameron Hanes who’s like the ultra marathon runner and Bob Hunter and stuff and he’s like, there’s two types of fun. It’s the fun that you’re having at the time, but you don’t really remember it. And then there’s fun that like sucks at the time, but you’ll remember it fondly for the rest of your life. And that’s what these sorts of things are. I think they suck at the time, but you’ve got the stories to tell and you’ve got that sense of accomplishment and all those positive like things along the way and you’re spot on.
Josh Minogue: Like I had some really, I guess warped role models as a kid, like, and not warped in a bad way, but guys who were, I looked up to guys like Dean Mercer who go out and train for six hours straight or like some of the like you look at guys like Grant Hackett or those guys who just like to be hard for a long, long time and 200 butterflies, like it’s a stupid event and it hurts and it’s miserable, but like it’s so much better than swimming a 50 freestyle or whatever it is. Like they’re the tough ones.
Josh Minogue: I used to love 200 freestyle because it was all in from the start and it was way more pain than all the other events. And I don’t know, I’ve always been drawn to those sorts of things. So Ironman was a perfect fit. And I guess that’s why I was drawn to the gold as well because the toughest test in surf sports, like it’s four and a half hours and people go, well, four and a half hours, that’s like half of what an Ironman is.
Josh Minogue: But you’re also battling against the elements. Like you could be punching into the wind for three out of those four and a half hours kind of thing, like, and then there’s surf and then there’s the other competitors. And then you’ve got to overcome all the other things that go along with it. Like it’s not easy at all. And that’s what drove me to it. And like you said, it’s those challenges that you really discover, what you’re made of and who you are and that fatigue makes cowards of us all kind of thing.
Josh Minogue: And you’ve just got to figure out whether you, like, whether when you get to that point, there’s really anything there or you just all talk on the start line because there’s so many people that are just all talk on the start line. And when it gets to hour six or seven or eight, are they saying the same thing or are they doing the same thing? And that’s the real revealer of character I guess. And it’s great.
Josh Minogue: It’s Ironman especially because it’s just such a tough day and it’s such a roller coaster, like it’s so up and down like, and for me I think it’s a little bit easier. Normal people just hate the swim at the start. Like for them it’s an hour 15 of absolute misery to start the day. Whereas for me it’s like 45 minutes of the easiest, most clean open water swim you’ll ever have. And you start the race out in front. It’s just so much fun from then on out.
Josh Minogue: And I get passed by a thousand guys on the way through, but it’s, I just love it. Like it’s such an addictive thing and it’s such a tough test. And if you ever go to Hawaii and you watch the race, you understand how important it is to some people and how tough it can be for those guys out there. Guys like Craig Alexandra or [inaudible 00:39:11] or those guys, like they truly are some of the best athletes on the planet by none because they mightn’t be the strongest or the fastest, but they suffer the longest. And I think that’s something that is overlooked. And it’s something that draws me in every time.
Brenton Ford: And like they make it look so easy. Like you look at [inaudible 00:39:31] makes it look so easy and you think, well, okay, it’s another day out for him. But inside he’s gotta be suffering so hard to be able to hold that speed for that long and to be able to do it so consistently as well. Like he’s just incredible, especially over the last few years. Look at how far ahead he is of the rest of the field. Like it’s just, it’s a real-
Josh Minogue: And that-
Brenton Ford: Sorry. You go.
Josh Minogue: Sorry. And there’s some guys in different sports that make it seem that way. Like Phelps is the same and Grant Hackett was one. Like you watch him swimming in Athens in 2004 and he just looked so good the whole way through. He makes it look so comfortable and then he gets out and he almost collapses when he stands up on the block. And like Crowley was another one of those in triathlon and there’s guys like Shannon Eckstein and Surf Ironman and they’re the guys that, like it hurts them but they just don’t care.
Josh Minogue: Like there’s a goal that’s more important than the fact that it hurts. And a few people have said to me in the past like, pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. And that’s the attitude. Like they don’t suffer. They’re in pain but they’re not suffering. Whereas people like me or your regulars, like we suffer through the last couple of hours and I think that makes it worse. Whereas they’re in pain, they understand it and they just move on. And I think that’s a part of being a professional athlete that is overlooked, the ability to just deal with it and get the job done anyway.
Brenton Ford: And over the next five years or so, what would you like to not necessarily be doing, but how would you like to be helping the guys that you’re working with and competing like the sport that you’re doing at the moment? So what are you working towards and what are some of those challenges that you want to continue to face?
Josh Minogue: I guess going back to Hawaii is a big one. Like I went there and got humbled pretty badly kind of thing. I swam really well off the front. I think I swam 47 high on the swim and rode really well and then ended up just a walking zombie in the run. So personally that’s the big goal is to get back to Hawaii and just put in a better day than that. Like, I don’t think I’ll ever be a professional triathlete or anything like that, but if I can put in a strong sub nine hour or something like that, that’d be pretty rad.
Josh Minogue: And then on the work front, I’d love to coach guys that go to the highest level and I’d love to coach Kellogg’s Iron women or Ironman and help them achieve their dream. But it’s probably not the focus for me. It’s probably helping each kid when they come through, figure out what they want to get out of the sport and then helping them get to that point. It’s everyone wants to be on TV and everybody wants to do all those things, but for some kids it’s like, hey, I just want to be the third person in the board relay or I want to get to the state final or I want to go from not being able to get out around the cans and back in.
Josh Minogue: And it’s definitely not as glamorous as being the coach who has the guy who wins, but it’s certainly just as fulfilling. So for me, I’ve got some great kids who can definitely make it at the top level if they choose to. And I will be there and support them 100% of the entire way. But I’m more about finding out what each kid wants and helping them get there and helping them overcome challenges and challenges that are away from the beach as much as the ones that are on the beach.
Josh Minogue: Because kids have a tough time and these kids are a great young kids, but they also have to deal with school and friendship groups and social media and all those sorts of things. So if I can be one of the positive outlets in their life and have an impact like some of the coaches had on my life. I still ring both Ronnie and Kinney all the time and ask for advice about everything except surf and swimming kind of thing. I still talk to them and like about life and all these sorts of things.
Josh Minogue: And I just hope one day that, I guess that’s my goal over the next five years is I can have relationships with these kids where they feel like they can ring me and ask for advice and if they need help, call and not be afraid to ring and say, hey, I made a mistake. What should I do? Because that’s more important than gold, silver and bronze. At the end of the day, these kids are, some of them will be champions, I have no doubt about that. But a lot of them won’t be.
Josh Minogue: And it’s probably more important that I have a positive impact on their life rather than helping them paddle out around three cans of back to the beach super fast because I don’t know, when they’re 60 or 70 whether that’ll be all that important on their list or whether it’s how you helped me through that tough time and that’s probably the big one for me.
Brenton Ford: I think that’s a really good goals of coaches. And it’s a sign of a coach where the athlete can come to you and talk about things, challenges they might be having in their life and teaching those life skills that they may not be getting at home. They may not be getting at school, that’s [inaudible 00:44:45].
Josh Minogue: But maybe they are getting them at home, but a lot of the time they just don’t listen to their parents. Like I’m not saying my message is any different to their parents, but sometimes it’s just got to come from a different source and mum and dad, like it happens all the time. You’re too close to, or the kids are too close and they feel like they can lash out and say like, hey, like no matter what I say to you, I know you’re going to love me, so they take it out on their parents.
Josh Minogue: Whereas if it comes from a coach or a teacher or a family friend, they tend to listen a little bit more and it doesn’t get drowned out in the wash of, hey, get ready for school and all these other things. And that’s probably the big one for me is like, I don’t know any more than parents do, but sometimes it’s just a different voice that has a bigger impact.
Brenton Ford: I was contacted by parents, this week actually, and she said, “Look, our daughter, she’s having trouble. Like when she gets to the race on the blocks, like she just counts herself out. She looks at the other competitors and then just overthinks it and thinks she’s not good enough.” And she said like, “Myself, my husband have been trying to like, talk her through it and give her some things to help.”
Brenton Ford: But like just knowing what it’s like, they’re not going to listen to their parents no matter how good athlete they were or how good a coach they might be. It’s like, it’s got to come from someone else. And I think that lesson has gotta be learned in the doing, it’s not going to necessarily come from what someone says.
Josh Minogue: [inaudible 00:46:18].
Brenton Ford: And I said, “Look, we’ll be better off doing some sessions and some training sessions and just get her to build up that confidence in the pool first and then she can translate that into the races.” And it’s good to know like that’s what the real benefit of being a coach is or how you can really help people. Because as you said, looking back in even like five, 10 years, how fast that person goes or how fastest from it goes for 100 meters, probably not going to make a big difference in this grand scheme of their life. But it’s the other stuff around it.
Josh Minogue: And I learned that from like Ron McKeon is a perfect example. He had his daughter, Emma just missed the Olympics as a 14 year old, and when she got a little bit older he told her that she had to go and get another coach because the relationship wasn’t working. And not the relationship had broken down, but you need someone other than dad telling you there, hey, you need to swim this and do that. You need dad as well as coach.
Josh Minogue: And he and Emma went off to Brisbane and grew as an athlete and their relationship is fantastic. And like it showed me and she won the most Olympic medals in Rio of any Australian and he was good enough to know that, hey, her needs come before mine and as dad, I need to let her go. And he’s was the Australian open water head coach at that point. So you know he’s a fantastic coach and all that and could have got her those metals as well. But sometimes that second voice is just so much more important or equally important in reinforcing those messages.
Brenton Ford: And like my dad was my coach growing up, but until 18 and-
Josh Minogue: How did that go?
Brenton Ford: Well, it was really good because he, like when we got home, there was never any talk at the dinner table like-
Josh Minogue: Perfect.
Brenton Ford: … you didn’t push hard enough in that set or like there was none of that. And so that’s what made that relationship work.
Josh Minogue: Good.
Brenton Ford: And I mean, I was never at that level where I was kind of just off Australian open qualifying times. So there wasn’t that need to go elsewhere. But had it like I’ve seen parents who coach their kids who will take it home and take it to the dinner table and it just doesn’t last because that’s not what you want from a parent. I heard a guy, Ben, I think it’s Ben Crown. He works with the Richmond Tigers and he was being interviewed on SEN and talking to Gary Lyon and someone else.
Brenton Ford: And one of the things that he said about being a parent is, “All you really need to say is to your kid is, ‘I love watching you swim or I love watching you play footy.’ It’s not, I love watching you get that gold medal or I love watching your swim fastest. I just, I love watching you do whatever it is that you do.” And I think that’s such a good and simple message because the kid takes that and go, mom and dad loves watching me play footie. Like that’s all it needs to be. And that’s the best way you can support your kids.
Josh Minogue: And I think that needs to be the first message. And I’m not saying don’t tell your kid, hey, you could have done this a little bit better or whatever, but as long as that’s not the first message. The first message is, hey, I’m proud of you. Hey, you did a really good job. It was fantastic. And then when the kid knows, they’re probably more accepting of any advice you’ve got to give kind of thing.
Josh Minogue: And whereas if it’s just, hey, you missed that goal or you were slow over the third 50 or whatever it is, that’s when it becomes, hey, I’ve got two coaches here and I’m not looking for two coaches. I’m looking for a coach and a mom and dad, not somewhere. And it seems like you and your all man had that perfectly like coach on pool deck and then when you get home it’s dad and that’s what it’s all about. Like that’s the good balance that you need to have.
Josh Minogue: And most of the parents that I’ve got a fantastic like that, they’re really, really good. They understand and it’s been really, really refreshing because you hear horror stories about, kids sport parents. But I’m really lucky in that sense that they let me be coach and for the majority, their mom and dad, which is fantastic and everyone wants the same thing at the end of the day. They just want their kids to be successful and they want them to be happy. Like that’s the most important thing out of all of them. And if I could up finishing up here with all my kids enjoying it and happy and having fun, then I’ve done my job. And if we win some stuff along the way, that’s pretty cool too.
Brenton Ford: Mate, it’s been great chatting to you. And, for those people that are listening, you have your own podcast which is based around [inaudible 00:51:09]. You sell yourself too short.
Josh Minogue: [inaudible 00:51:11].
Brenton Ford: You’re too kind. But it’s called Around the Cans. So do you want to talk a little bit about that. And for anyone who’s interested in surf clubs and that kind of thing, what’s the best way to find it and how’d that all come about?
Josh Minogue: So my best mate, Jack Hansen, who is possibly one of the best coaches in the country, or he’s one of the best coaches in the country in Surf lifesaving, one of the best youth coaches, that’s for sure. He has a connection with kids and he’s unbelievable. We’re best mates and we love Surf lifesaving. So we just put out a weekly podcast about Surf lifesaving. It’s pretty hardcore surf, but we just have a bit of fun with it. Nothing too serious. And it’s pretty low key.
Josh Minogue: We talked to some former competitors as well. We’ve had the likes of, Guy Leech on before talking about what the sport was like in the ’80s, and what it’s like to be one of the most famous sportsman in the country and end up going on Baywatch and all those sorts of things. So we just have a bit of fun with it. And it’s called Around the Cans. You can get it at all places where good podcasts are provided. So jump on and have a listen and give us some feedback and we love it. So it’s not the world’s greatest podcast, that’s for sure, but do our best.
Brenton Ford: Well, that’s a good approach where you’re always looking to improve. But I think, the way you undersell yourself with your level of sport, and I imagine it’s the same with your podcast. So mate, I appreciate you being on the podcast and I’m looking forward to catching up next time I come up your way.
Josh Minogue: Beautiful Sunshine Coast, mate. You’re always welcome, that’s for sure. Thanks for having me on. And, if anyone’s ever got any questions, just jump on the gram and hit me up and hopefully I can answer anything anyone has or if they want to give me some feedback, I’d really appreciate it.
Brenton Ford: And we’ll put all those links at the bottom of the show notes and people can find you there. And what’s your Instagram handle?
Josh Minogue: @joshyminogue. So Joshy with a Y in there and not Kylie. So similar spelling, but [inaudible 00:53:13].
Brenton Ford: Close enough.
Josh Minogue: Lovely.
Brenton Ford: Thanks mate.
Josh Minogue: Thank you so much.