Kiwi triathlete Emily McNaughtan to make Ironman debut after blood clots in lung

Emily McNaughtan's journey to the starting line of Saturday's Ironman event certainly hasn't been easy.

Along with the gruelling training it takes, she also had to juggle a stay in hospital 

The health scare had her doubting whether or not she would make the start of the event in Taupo. 

But her preparation for the gruelling event hasn't been easy. Three months ago, she ended up in hospital.

"It got really bad actually," McNaughtan tells Newshub. "One evening I couldn't breathe because it was too much pain."

It turned out a piece of her lung had died, along with blood clots in her lung. Needing blood-thinning medication, she lost six weeks of training for Saturday's event, prompting questions about her participation.

"I had my doubts. On my bad days I did think 'I'm not going to be able to do this' or 'I'm not going to be at my best or make that starting line.'"

But now she's arrived at the starting line, and can't wait to get going. 

"I'm really looking forward to it - probably more than I've ever looked forward to a race."

Saturday's event will be McNaughtan's first full Ironman as a professional after finishing second in the half last year. It's a challenge she's embracing.

"I just want to be challenged and I thought that this season was the perfect opportunity to try and push myself - see how far I can go with sport, and see what my body is capable of."

Her journey to the starting line is already proof of that.