Mat: We are here with Ben Hannant, Maxing Out Athlete for 2018 and we want to get to know Benny a little more so we’re going to spend a few minutes with Benny and ask him a few questions so let’s start with the basics, how old are you?
Ben: I just turned 33, getting old
Mat: Geez young whipper snapper, where do you live?
Ben: I live at Tullebudgera, I’ve got 12 acres, and I live there with my wife and 6 kids - soon to be 7 kids. I just love the Gold Coast that’s where I grew up; I grew up in Mudgereeba and love the Gold Coast.
Mat: What is that you love about the Gold Coast?
Ben: I just love that you’ve got everything here, you’re so close to the beach, I’ve also got horses, I’ve got cows, I’ve got sheep, motorbikes for my son, it’s just a great lifestyle to raise kids where you’re not so much in the hustle and bustle.
Mat: Bees too
Ben: I’ve got a lot of bees, yes it’s the kids business, I teach my kids how to work, that’s a big thing for me, I grew up on a 10 acre farm in Mudgereeba, my dad taught all 10 of my siblings, I’m one of 11, how to work and that’s something I want to instill in my kids.
Mat: That’s cool, so mate have you got a nickname you want to share with us? What do we call you?
Ben: Where do I start? I get polar bear a lot, obviously the white skin and the blonde hair and overweight a lot of extra padding.
Mat: Nice one, so obviously it was a footy thing right?
Ben: Yes, what do you call a fat white bloke with blonde hair? Why not call him the polar bear? (laughs)
Mat: Pretty simple. Tell me a little bit about your career, I obviously got to play against you a little bit but for everybody who doesn’t know, I know a lot in terms of what you achieved, but why don’t you share it with everybody else.
Ben: I started off at the Broncos when I first left school, I didn’t play first grade straight away, I played reserve grade, went down to the Roosters for 2 years, debuted down at the Roosters, went back to the Broncos, did 7 years with the Broncos, 2 years at the Bulldogs, I did 2 years at the Cowboys as well, I was lucky enough to play Origin, played 12 Origin matches, 5 series wins, 6 tests for Australia, 4 nations, 2 World Cup Challenges, 2 All Stars, so I’ve been very blessed, I’ve been part of some really great teams, just the whole experience, the whole journey the life lessons you learn, not only on the field but off the field which affects your family and everything else. Rugby league, it’s been a massive blessing for me.
Ben: I was lucky enough to get 2 Premierships, 1 with the Broncos in ’06, I was only 20, I don’t think I appreciated it as much, when I was that young I thought this was something that happened all the time, but it took 9 years for me to get back there again and to win one up at the Cowboys, which was their first ever win as a club, was something extremely special because it meant so much to the town up there, the place went nuts and I was able to have all 6 of my kids there at the time and it was the best thing, not just to win the Grand Final, the best thing was sharing it with my family who travelled the whole journey with me up to that point.
Mat: Reflecting back, career highlights?
Ben: Definitely Origin for me a career highlight, that and winning Premierships. I was part of the 3rd series win for QLD, 4th, 5th,6th & 7th and it only had been done 3 times in a row before that, so to be a part of 3 then 4 then 5,6 and 7, it was an incredible experience, especially the fact the last couple of years, though I think at the time it wasn’t a ‘yes we won the series’ it was more a relief that we didn’t lose it , to be a part of that team that will go down in history as the greatest bunch of blokes that ever laced a boot for QLD at Origin level, its something pretty special.
Mat: They were good times in Queensland, good times, you’re a family man, tell us a little bit about your family.
Ben: I met my wife, high school sweetheart as you’d say, 16 years of age, we’re pretty religious so we weren’t allowed to live together until we were married so obviously I was smart enough to lock her down very early, so 20 years of age she was 19, we got married and we started having kids straight away and we ‘ve got 3 beautiful daughters and our 4th son will be due in a couple of days.
Mat: Oh wow, 3 boys and 3 girls, you split it up pretty well right?
Ben: 3 and 3 at the moment and then there will be 4 boys, 3 girls.
Mat: Wow amazing, so mate, tell me, how do you think your kids would describe you?
Ben: As a kid I think, I cant sit still, I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t do drugs, I don’t party too much, but my life is all about my kids and having fun. At my property I’ve got a super cross tracks, I go motorbike riding with my son, I’ve got a Polaris razor, I like to go cycling, my kids are at the velodrome, they cycle as well, triathlons, I just like to get out and be busy, live my life and teach kids life lessons along the way, that’s how I learnt.
Mat: Nice one, so, Iron distance triathlon, you’ve done triathlons, but you haven’t done a iron distance triathlon, what do you feel like you’ve got yourself in for here?
Ben: I know I’m going to be in a world of hurt. I don’t know what I’ve got myself in for and that’s the beauty of this thing, that’s the whole thing about this whole challenge, I don’t know, all I know is that I’m going to be hurting so much and I’m going to want to give up, but there’s going to be certain things that’s going to push me along the way and its all about taking it bit by bit and part of this challenge that’s why it means so much to me, it is my journey in life, especially with my children, we’ve had to take bit by bit and just tackle little things and slowly you get to the finish line.
Mat: Nice one, well thanks for spending time mate, look forward to the journey with you and that start line at Challenge Roth.
Ben: Lets get ready to Max Out.
Mat: You bet
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Maxing out is a TV and Web documentary that follows well known celebrities on a journey to their first ever Iron Distance Triathlon - Swimming 3.8km, Riding 180km and Running a 42.2km marathon, all within 15 hours on one day in July 2018 . This is a documentary to mirror the struggle of everyday challenges dealing with a child with Autism as we endeavour to raise much needed funds and awareness for Autism Spectrum disorder. 4 ASD KIDS does incredible things in this to help families impacted by Autism and we are putting our athletes through this challenge to be able to help more of these families.
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