In some competitions, and on some days, there can only be one winner…
On other days, several contenders can emerge as winners…
Yet today was one of those very rare occasions, when every participant – by a happy conjunction of auspicious weather, venue, course, Nature in repose, fortunate circumstance, general goodwill and an alignment of inner mood and outer conditions otherwise known as grace – was assured of being a winner.
Some records were threatened, a few barely survived, while several were shattered.
The first record was broken even before the day dawned: the largest field (119 entries) ever assembled for this annual gathering at the foot of Black Mountain. As though in response to this expression of intent, Mother Nature joined in with her own record: the warmest day this race has ever experienced, with some spectators sporting T-shirts for the first time in this mid-Winter race’s history.
Headline performance of the day surely belongs to Dylan Cooper, who, in a field boasting several former course record holders, took all in his stride to set a new all-comers course record of 1:39:36 in his debut duathlon. En route, Dylan also bested his friend Rowan Beggs-French’s bike course record with a new standard of 53:30 for the challenging 23km. Rowan – who had urged Dylan to take part in the race – effectively relegated himself to second place, with his fine 1:43:44, from another former record-holder, Dave Osmond in 1:45:45.
In the Male 50-59 category, evergreen Jon Schol took the honours with 2:06:11 from the ever-cheerful Christian Dussault in 2:09:27. Peter Fogarty won the new Male 60+ with his splendid 2:26:26.
Kate Vandenberg’s superior biking gave her the win in the women’s long-course race in 2:09:11, despite Priscilla Barrington running faster in both of the run legs, Priscilla having to settle for 2nd placing in 2:10:35, from Beth Bowen in 2:31:49. Jane Hiatt meanwhile, flew the flag for the Female 50+ with her steady 3:14:50.
In the Long-Course teams division, Craig Benson established a new record for the first run leg of a scintillating 9:48. With Craig teaming with Jack Druery, “Team A” took out the All-Male Teams in 1:48:34. The “Duathlon Dugongs” pairing of Olivia Stutchbery and Kurt Warn won the Mixed Teams in 1:55:36; and the “Duomums 4350” – Kim Greaves and Carol Hartley – ran out winners of the All-Female Teams in 2:27:12.
The Short-Course race was surely Kim Houghton’s finest hour – or rather, his finest 40 minutes and 5 seconds, being how long it took him to win the solo race outright and establish a new course record for 50-and-over males. Kim also wrested hold of John Smytheman’s long-standing bike course record, which now stands at 21:39. John had to settle for 2nd place today in an excellent 49:58.
Only 6 seconds behind the flying Kim Houghton, came the Male Under 50 winner, Steve Sibraa in 40:11, from Peter Daffier in 41:17.
Lou Basyoni led from the front in the women’s race to win in a fine 42:15. Lou won each of the 3 legs, and set a new record for the 1st run leg (by one second!) of 6:01. Felicity Roantree wasn’t far behind in 43:31; from Simone Annis’ 3rd-placed 47:31.
“Team Bennie” (Tom Bennie and Jacob Stewart) set a new best time for the All-Male Team in the Short-Course race of 38:49, as well as taking line honours in the race. Ann Backhouse and Jenna Fitch teamed up to form “J Fit” and take out the All-Female combinations in 55:26; while the Mixed Teams title went to the redoubtable pairing of Melissa Head and Trevor Jacobs (“Headways”) in 39:06, for second across the line.
Gratitude to all who participated, helped, cheered and served in any way to help make this such a memorable and glorious occasion…