Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon
The Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon is three off-road triathlons back-to-back, an icon event celebrating the natural side of Canberra
About the event
Swim 1.5km + Mountain bike 36km + Run 18km + Swim 3.5km + Mountain bike 36km + Run 11 km + Swim 1.2km + Mountain bike 23km + Run 13km = Triple-Triathlon
The 21st Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon will be held in and around Canberra on Sunday 18 November 2018.
ONLINE ENTRIES WILL OPEN HERE ON THURSDAY 18 JANUARY AT 2PM.
ONLINE ENTRIES CLOSE ON WEDNESDAY 14 NOVEMBER AT 5PM.
The Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon is the ultimate scenic tour of our national capital, a landmark event on the national multi-sport calendar.
The race can be enjoyed by teams or solo entrants. To attempt the entire course solo is one of the toughest single-day sporting challenges imaginable. Most race in teams, tripling the enjoyment in a celebration of camaraderie, application, speed, strategy and endurance.
See who has already entered the 21st Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon.
- 0530 Solo athletes
- 0600 Relay Teams
- Pre 5pm Thursday 18 October: $180 Solos; $210 T3; $240 T4-9
- Post 5pm Thursday 18 October: $210 Solos; $240 T3; $270 T4-9
- Online entries close 5pm Wednesday 14 November
- Trophies for all Solo finishers
- Trophies for 1st 3 teams in each category
- Registration and briefing
- Mixed teams
- Team replacements
- Role and duty of helpers
- Race start
- Number checkpoints
- Transition compounds
- Aid stations
- Care in Nature Parks
- Course markings
- Road crossings, paths & gates
- Race rules
- Participant waivers
- Contingency plans
- Safety & emegency procedures
- Swim safety
- Course cut-off times
- Race finish, awards & results
- Course changes
- Ten highest moments
- Course records – Solo Athletes
- Course records – Relay Teams
For all pre-entered Teams and Individuals, compulsory registration will be between 2 pm and 5 pm, Saturday 17 November at "My Rainbow-Dreams" cafe in Dickson Chambers, opposite the Dickson Post Office, Dickson.
If you have made changes to the composition or order of your team, you will need to have these recorded at Registration. You will also collect race numbers and helpers' passes, get numbers written on swimmers' arms, and collect information on any last-minute course alterations.
To qualify for a Mixed Team award, at least three of the nine legs of the race must be completed by a female team member (ie three females can complete one leg each, one female can complete two legs and another can do one, or one female can complete three legs to meet the minimum requirement.)
Mixed Teams are still welcome to participate if less than three legs are completed by females, in which case they will automatically be entered in the Open Category.
Replacement of team members is allowed, provided the replacement does not alter the category of the team (ie all-female to mixed, or 3-person to 9-person etc). Replacement members must sign the original team entry form at Registration. Also at Registration, names are to be confirmed for each member doing each leg. Changes to this schedule will be permitted on the day, provided transition marshals are informed of the change in advance of the leg concerned.
Individuals- Every individual competitor must provide his or her own helper, who will be issued with an official helper's ID number at Registration. Each helper may only be responsible for one athlete. Individual's helpers may provide assistance of any kind anywhere on the course, with the exception of pacing (ie swimming, riding or running with the athlete for more than 30 seconds), or physically assisting the athlete to move in a forward direction (ie pushing, holding or towing the athlete). Helpers may row or paddle ahead of the athlete during the second and third swim legs (not the first swim leg), provided they stay at least 5 metres clear of the athlete. Helpers may touch the athlete as long as he or she is stationary, and may assist with clothing, equipment (including mechanical assistance), food & drinks, as well as motivational, inspirational and directional advice. Helpers are fully and exclusively responsible for the condition and security of the athlete's equipment, and transport of that equipment from one transition compound to the next. Helpers may not interfere with or impede the progress of any other competitor. To do so will incur the disqualification of the helper's athlete, even if he or she has no part in such interference.
Teams - Teams must provide their own assistance and transport, which must be limited to a maximum of two (2) vehicles. Only members of a team can provide assistance to a team member in the course of the event. All other conditions are the same as apply to the individuals' helpers. Any team member impeding or interfering with the progress of any other competitor or team will incur the disqualification of his or her entire team.
The race will start in three waves, from Dulwa swimming beach at the eastern end of Diddams Close, Lake Ginninderra.
Individual competitors will enter the water at 5.30 am.
Teams will depart in 2 waves, commencing from 6 am. You will be advised of the precise starting time for your wave at Registration on Saturday 5 November. Please assemble at the beach for final check-in fifteen minutes prior to your start time. Final briefing will commence five minutes before start time.
Upon completion of each leg, it is the athlete's responsibility to ensure that his or her number has been recorded by the timekeepers, before tagging the next athlete or proceeding to the next leg. Swimmers must remove wetsuits where a number is obscured. Besides the transition compounds, there will be several number checkpoints on each mountain bike and run course. These will be marked with a sign, and attended by an official. It is the athlete's responsibility to ensure that his or her number is recorded by the official. Failure to be recorded at a number checkpoint will incur a minimum time penalty of 30 minutes. Locals will be aware of many potential short-cuts, but should remember that to take a short-cut may mean missing a crucial number checkpoint!
Race numbers are recorded at number checkpoints and transition compounds throughout the race. Anyone whose number is not recorded within a reasonable time will become the object of a search (and, if necessary, rescue) mission. For this reason, any individual or team member choosing to withdraw from the event must inform, or have their helper inform either an Emergency Services marshal or a race official at an aid station or a transition compound.
In the event of a team member being unable to complete his or her leg, another team member may complete that leg on his or her behalf, provided race officials are informed of the details and circumstances before the replacement team member proceeds. The resulting split time for that leg will not be credited to any team member, but the team will still be eligible for awards. Otherwise, the team may choose to leave that leg uncompleted and another team member may start the next leg, commencing from the advertised cut-off time of the previous leg. In this case, the team will be allowed to proceed, and other team members' split times will be recorded, but the team will be recorded as a DNF, ineligible for awards.
Each team athlete must check-in with officials at the transition 15 minutes prior to their anticipated start-time. The team-member completing the previous leg must complete his or her course and be recorded by officials before tagging the next member, who is then free to depart.
There will be full aid station supplies at each transition point. These will include water, sports drink, fruit, sweets, First Aid kit, vaseline, sunscreen (all of which are available to competitors only), and either public toilets or Port-a-loo. The transitions from the first and second swims to the first and second mountain bikes will also provide hot drinks.
Access to transition compounds is restricted to race officials, individual's helpers (wearing helper's ID), media and team members involved in the changeover.
Transition compounds will be at the following locations:
Swim 1 / MTB 1 - barbecue area, Bimbi Beach, eastern end of Diddams Close, Lake Ginninderra.
MTB 1 / Run 1 - bus stop on Antill St, at the end of Watson.
Run 1 / Swim 2 - beach near boathouse restaurant on Menindee Dr, Grevillea Park, Russell.
Swim 2 / MTB 2 - adjacent to Ferry Terminal on Kuttabul Pl, Acton.
MTB 2 / Run 2 - grassy area beside Badimara St, Waramanga, near the Tuggeranong Parkway cycle path underpass.
Run 2 / Swim 3 – Nguru Beach off Mortimer Lewis Dr, Lke Tuggeranong, Greenway.
Swim 3 / MTB 3 - grassy area between KFC and Tuggeranong Arts Centre on Reed St, Tuggeranong.
MTB 3 / Run 3 - grassy area beyond the end of Hartigan St, Garran.
Aside from the transition compounds, there will be one aid station on each mountain bike course offering fruit, sweets, sports bars, water and sports drink refills (but not bidon exchanges), as well as rudimentary bike repair equipment. Individuals are advised to carry two full drink bidons on their bikes, as well as a full repair kit and 2 spare tyres. Anyone completing the entire course without getting at least one flat will be lucky! There are frequent aid stations on the run courses, though the more inaccessible will supply water only. All aid stations will be equipped with a radio or mobile phone.
Following is a complete list of aid stations:
(FS = Full Service; W = Water only; WSD = Water and sports drink)
1) swim 1 / MTB 1 transition: Bimbi Beach, eastern end of Diddams Close (FS + hot drinks)
2) MTB 1: summit of Black Mountain, bus layby (FS + repair kit)
3) MTB 1 / run 1 transition: Antill St bus stop, Watson (FS)
4) run 1A: summit of Mt Majura (WSD)
5) run 1B: horse logs near reservoir before Hackett Hill (WSD)
6) run 1C: turn-off under power lines between Hackett Hill & Mt Ainslie (WSD)
7) run 1D: summit of Mt Ainslie (FS)
8) run 1E: in front of old AGSO, Constitution Ave & Wendouree Dr, Parkes (FS)
9) run 1 / swim 2 transition: beach at Grevillea Park (FS)
10) swim 2 / MTB 2 transition: Acton Ferry Terminal (FS + hot drinks)
11) MTB 2: Uriarra Rd crossing (FS + repair kit)
12) MTB 2 / run 2 transition: beside Badimara St, near Parkway tunnel (FS)
13) run 2A: summit of Mt Taylor (W)
14) run 2B: Colquhoun St crossing, Kambah (FS)
15) run 2C: Laidlaw Pl crossing, Kambah (FS)
16) run 2 / swim 3 transition: Nguru Beach, off Mortimer Lewis Dr, Greenway. (FS)
17) swim 3 / MTB 3 transition: adjacent to KFC, Reed St (FS)
18) MTB 3 / run 3 transition: end of Hartigan St, Garran (FS)
19) run 3A: summit of Red Hill, lookout (FS)
20) run 3B: end of Walsh Pl, Curtin (FS)
21) run 3C: Bike path crossing of Dunrossil Dr (FS)
22) finish line / recovery area: (FS + hot showers + hot pasta meal)
Most of the course of the Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon is within Canberra Nature Park, which includes Aranda Bushland, Black Mountain Reserve, Bruce and O'Connor Ridges, Mt Majura, Mt Ainslie, Cooleman Ridge, Mt Taylor, Wanniassa Ridge, Farrer and Isaacs Ridges and Red Hill. We are very fortunate to have been granted permission to stage this event through the CNP, especially the mountain bike legs. The authorities of Environment ACT have been extremely cooperative and helpful.
However, please be aware that this event takes place in a public domain. We do not have exclusive use of any of these areas, all of which are used by many people on weekends. Please treat other users with courtesy, especially walkers.
Swim courses will be marked with swim buoys. The markings used for mountain bike and run courses will be detailed at Registration.
Athletes are entirely responsible for their own safety and must give way to all traffic at all road crossings. While marshals will be stationed at major crossings, they will not be stopping traffic, but simply alerting and reminding you to make a safe crossing. Please be patient and cautious. In the context of an all-day event, a short delay at a road crossing may be used as an opportunity for a brief rest.
Athletes must show due courtesy and concern for all users of public cycle paths, including giving way to all pedestrians and recreational cyclists. Competitors are not to 'race' along the cycle paths, and are to proceed at a normal recreational pace.
All gates in Canberra Nature Park and the former Stromlo Forest which are normally locked will remain locked for this event. Where a gate is closed, you may open the gate to pass through, but must then close the gate behind you. Where a gate on the course is locked, it must be climbed.
This race is sanctioned by Triathlon ACT as a member of Triathlon Australia, and is conducted in accordance with Triathlon Australia race rules, with the exception of those rules covering drafting on the bike course. Drafting is permitted in this event.
Please note that all competitors who have entered or have been entered into this event online, whether as individuals or team members, must sign the participant waiver before commencing their respective leg or legs of the race. Copies of the waiver will be available at each transition area.
Any competitor who commences a leg without first signing the participant waiver is subject to immediate and automatic disqualification, and is no longer deemed a participant in the event.
From time to time Canberra’s lakes, like all inland water bodies, may be affected by various natural phenomena such as blue-green algae or bacteria. All of the lakes are tested regularly and rigorously, and are subject to closure if the levels of any potentially harmful organisms rise above certain standard measures.
In the event that any one, two or all three of Canberra’s lakes are closed at the time of the Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon, all effort will be made to ensure that the event proceeds as a Triple-Triathlon with 3 swims, though distances and courses for all legs may vary. Alternatively the event may be postponed to a later date, with all entries held over to that date, or still valid for any staging of the event within 3 years of the originally advertised date.
The event is being attended by members of Sports Medicine Australia. Trained personnel will be on hand to treat injuries, with 4-wheel drives on stand-by in case of emergencies. Most aid stations and many marshals will have mobile phones. 2 boats will also be patrolling Lake Burley Griffin, in addition to smaller craft.
The most important component of ensuring a safe event is common sense, particularly on the mountain bike courses. Carefully check your brakes and tyres the day before the race. Please exercise care while negotiating all descents, especially if you are unfamiliar with the course, as some sections are really steep and rocky. The time lost through sensible caution is nothing compared to the time lost through a trip to the hospital.
Beware of snakes. In Springtime, snakes are still quite sluggish, being not yet properly warmed up. This is when they can be most dangerous, as they cannot get hastily out of your way, and see no option but to strike. In case of snakebite, remain where you are and alert the next athlete to seek immediate help.
This is an endurance event, where a spirit of mutual assistance will benefit all. No amount of planning can adequately protect a 150 kilometre course through bushland, and many sections are without medical personnel or marshals for several kilometres. If you encounter another athlete in difficulty, please stop to ascertain their condition and lend assistance where possible, and be sure to report the situation to the next marshal you see. The reward of helping another in need will outlast that of reaching the finish line.
Swim caps are compulsory in all three swims, and wet suits are strongly recommended. Swim caps will be provided at Registration for individuals and all Team swimmers. Average water temperature in the lakes at this time of year is 17C - 20C degrees.
Particular care must be taken by individual athletes before and during the second and third swims, as leg muscles tend to cramp in the water after extended use. Take time at the transitions to replenish with electrolytes and fuel, and allow your heart rate to diminish. Thoroughly stretch all leg muscles before entering the water. Race officials have the responsibility to prevent you from entering the water if they feel you are distressed or overly fatigued. Once in the water, keep your legs moving as much as possible, to encourage blood flow. In case of cramping, signal to the nearest craft. You may rest on the craft as long as you need, or on dry land if close enough. It is advisable to practise your run/swim transitions in advance. Be sure to drink at the Commonwealth Place water station during the Lake Burley Griffin swim.
All times listed are in 24-hour clock time according to Eastern Daylight Savings Time, which assumes that the race commences with the start of the Solo competitors at 0530.
|Swim 1 - 0700||Swim 2 - 1325||Swim 3 - 1805|
|MTB 1 - 0950||MTB 2 - 1630||MTB 3 - 2015|
|Run 1 - 1150||Run 2 - 1745||Run 3 - 2200|
After these times, there will be no marshals, checkpoints or aid stations on the course, and split times will not be recorded.
Individuals: The only cut-off time which will be strictly enforced is the cut-off at the end of the third swim course. Any athlete who has not started the third mountain bike leg by 1805, will not be allowed to continue. Any athlete starting the final run leg after 1930 must be accompanied by his or her helper with a torch. A sweeper will follow the backmarker throughout the course in a canoe, on a mountain bike, and on foot.
Teams: In the event that a team member fails to complete his or her leg before the designated cut-off time, another team member will be allowed to start the next leg at that time. In this case, the team will be permitted to proceed, and all ensuing team members' split times will be recorded, but the team will be recorded as a DNF, ineligible for any awards.
The race finish and communications HQ is at the Elizabeth McKay Aquatic Centre at Yarralumla Bay. Updates on competitor positions will be posted here throughout the day, and hot food and drinks will be served to athletes only. Hot showers are available, so remember to bring a towel and soap with a fresh change of clothes, so you can relax with a plate of pasta, cheer on your friends, and share stories of the day's exploits.
The awards ceremony will be at the Elizabeth McKay Aquatic Centre at 8 pm. Awards will be presented to all individuals who complete the course; the first three all-male, all-female and mixed teams of 3; and the first three all-male, all-female and mixed teams of 4 - 9 members.
Full results, including split times, will be available on this website the following day after the race.
As Canberra's natural and urban landscape is continually evolving, each year there are usually some course changes. Continue to watch this space for updates, and see course descriptions for full details.
Short of going up in a balloon, the Triple-Tri course offers the best aerial views of Canberra available. Check any of the following vantage points for stunning vistas...
1. Mt Majura (1st run course) 888m
2. Mt Taylor (2nd run course) 855m
3. Mt Ainslie (1st run course) 843m
4. Mt Stanley (3rd MTB course) 841m
5. Black Mountain (1st MTB course) 812m
6. Mt Wanniassa (3rd MTB course) 809m
7. Sheaffe Trig (3rd MTB course) 793m
8. Mt Stromlo (2nd MTB course) 782m
9. Davidson Trig (3rd run course) 749m
10. Red Hill (3rd run course) 720m
Male Overall - 10:21:10, Rowan Beggs-French, 2017
Male Over 50 Overall - 11:56:04, David Baldwin, 2017
Female Overall - 12:00:09, Julie Quinn, 2017
|Leg||Record Holder-Male||Time||Year||Record Holder-Female||Time||Year|
|1st Swim||Matt Harris||20:53||1996||Deirdre Grace||20:55||1996|
|1st Bike||Jason Chalker||1:37:22||2002||Jody Purcell||1:54:36||1998|
|1st Run||Paul Smith||1:28:19||1998||Julie Quinn||1:51:22||2013|
|2nd Swim||Jason Chalker||47:49||2002||Shannon Proffit||51:11||2013|
|2nd Bike||Rowan Beggs-French||1:42:20||2017||Julie Quinn||2:01:56||2017|
|2nd Run||Paul Smith||53:01||1997||Julie Quinn||1:01:53||2013|
|3rd Swim||Stuart Bardsley||17:27||2004||Deirdre Grace||18:50||1996|
|3rd Bike||Rowan Beggs-French||1:15:31||2017||Julie Quinn||1:27:41||2017|
|3rd Run||David Baldwin||1:09:08||2005||Julie Quinn||1:12:24||2017|
|T3 Open||8:09:10||Aspire (Oliver Bourne, Dylan Cooper, Vajin Armstrong)||2012|
|T3 Open All Over 50||10:33:20||Vintage Vets||1999|
|T3 Open All Over 60||12:45:45||Rad's Rusties||2011|
|T3 Female||10:18:37||Powerpuff Girls (Brooke James, Michaela Watts, Sarah Richardson)||2012|
|T3 Female All Over 50||13:06:54||Nifty Fifty (Rose McGready, Amanda Nott, Elizabeth Bennett)||2015|
|T3 Female All Over 60||15:02:15||Swinging Sixties||2009|
|T3 Mixed||9:07:03||The Wrong Trousers||2002|
|T3 Mixed All Over 50||10:26:35||Shoklo's Nifty Fifty (Rose McGready, Martin McGready, Jeff Grey)||2017|
|T9 Open||8:14:34||The Team With No Name||2004|
|T9 Open All Over 50||9:47:56||Old Hacks (Alex Gosman, Trevor Jacobs, Peter James, Simon Claringbold, Peter Clarke, Rico Fitch, Peter Klein)||2012|
|T9 Open All Over 60||11:18:25||Hack Remnants (Alex Gosman, Trevor Jacobs, Peter Clarke, Steven Meredith, Nathan Carroll)||2017|
|T9 Open All Over 70||15:02:35||Rad's Rusties||2010|
|T9 Female||10:16:16||Team Loser Shoes (Kylie Message, Kate Vandenberg, Elizabeth Humphries, Kym Somi, Alex Orme, Aimee Davenport, Elise Burriss, Alice Bates)||2016|
|T9 Female All Over 50||11:23:21||GoGo Girls - The SlipStream Team||2011|
|T9 Female All Over 60||13:47:58||The Tearaways (Lindy Dunn, Kay Pendlebury, Carol Baird, Brenda Day, Rae Palmer, Cathy Montalto, Ann Ingwersen, Liz Thompson)||2015|
|T9 Mixed||8:13:51||Under the Radar (Emma Gillingham, Matt McAuliffe, Craig Benson, Jay Vine, Martin Dent, David Medlock, Jasen Higuchi)||2016|
|T9 Mixed All Over 50||12:57:19||Rad's Ravers (Peter Dunn, John-Paul de Sousa, Carol Harding, Lindy Dunn, Caroline Campbell, John Kennedy, High Crawley, Ray Bramwell)||2013|
|Leg||Record Holder-Male||Time||Year||Record Holder-Female||Time||Year|
|1st Swim||David O'Brien||18:11||1996||Jessica Traficante||19:58||2011|
|1st Bike||David Osmond||1:24:24||1998||Julia Graczyk||1:49:14||2002|
|1st Run||Paul Crake||1:12:02||2000||Emma Murray||1:22:15||2005|
|2nd Swim||Haydn Marsh||36:27||2003||Lotte Wilma||42:56||2003|
|2nd Bike||Dylan Cooper and Jay Vine||1:22:32||2013 and 2017||Michelle Cooper||1:36:30||2017|
|2nd Run||Martin Dent||37:43||2016||Emma Murray||45:43||2005|
|3rd Swim||Shane Whipp||14:53||2000||Michelle Hunter||15:51||1999|
|3rd Bike||Peter Wilson||1:01:35||2007||Melanie Simpson||1:11:58||2011|
|3rd Run||Martin Dent||44:45||2015||Natalie Archer||56:30||2013|
Swimming in three separate lakes, climbing and descending ten peaks, the 150-kilometre Triple-Tri course is an exhilarating exploration of Canberra from every conceivable angle.
Click on a leg to view a course description and map.
|Leg 1: Swim 1.5 km|
|Leg 2: Mountain Bike 36 km|
|Leg 3: Run 18 km|
|Leg 4: Swim 3.5 km|
|Leg 5: Mountain Bike 36 km|
|Leg 6: Run 11 km|
|Leg 7: Swim 1.2 km|
|Leg 8: Mountain Bike 23 km|
|Leg 9: Run 13 km|
Share your stories and photos! The Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon inspires thousands of personal stories. Part of the joy of the event is in sharing these stories. Please submit your experiences and photos to "Triple-Triathlon Stories," GPO Box 3127, Canberra City, ACT, 2601 or email to email@example.com
Select from the following stories to sample a few of the experiences and adventures to be had out and about in the National Capital, in one of the most challenging events to be found anywhere.
Triple-Triathlon Solo Male Finisher's report 2017, by Andrew Renwick
Triple-Triathlon Solo Male Winner's report 2017, by Rowan Beggs-French
Triple-Triathlon Winning Mixed 3 Team photo-report 2016, by Steve Hanley
Triple-Triathlon Solo Report 2015, by Rowan Beggs-French
Triple-Triathlon Solo 2015, by Warren Evans
Triple-Triathlon Team Report and Photos 2015 "Where's Our Swimmer", by Steve Hanley
Triple-Triathlon Team Report 2015 "HMAS Friendship", by Murray Robertson
Triple-Triathlon Race Report 2013, by Craig Benson
Triple-Triathlon Race Report 2013, by Shannon Proffit
Triple-Triathlon 2011 Report (pdf), by Andrew Renwick
Triple-Triathlon 2011, by Sukhajata Cranfield
Triple-Triathlon 2009 Report, by solo competitor Andrew Renwick
Triple-Triathlon 2009 Supporter's Photo-Report, by Steve Hanley (external link)
Triple-Triathlon 2007 Report, by Steve Hanley (external link)
Triple-Triathlon 2007 Report, by Andrew Renwick
Triple-Triathlon 2006 Report, by Steve Hanley (external link)
Triple-Triathlon 2005 Report, by James Sullivan
Triple-Triathlon 2005 Report, by Julie Quinn
Triple-Triathlon 2005 Report, by Trevor Fairhurst
Triple-Triathlon 2005 Report, by Steve Hanley (external link)
Sharky's Triple-Tri Report '04, by Mark "Sharky" Smoothy
Triple-Tri Report '04, by Geoffrey Pell
Triple-Triathlon 2004 Report, by Steve Hanley (external link)
Sharky's Triple-Tri Report '03, by Mark "Sharky" Smoothy
Through the Wind, the Rain and the Cold: Triple-Tri '03, by Steve Nightingale
Triple Tri Obsession! by Rob Marshall
Thanks to the Bilbys, by Martin Stiles
'02 Triple-Tri Report, by Michael Kerr
'98 Triple-Tri Report, by Paul Smith
The 1996 Triple-Triathlon, by Mark Hutchings
2017 Nov 19thTriple-Triathlon Solo Male Finisher's report, 2017 by Andrew Renwick
"I'm not a quitter" I told my wife, during a conversation earlier in the week. It's easy to say, hard to do and even harder to hold consistently as a principle. "I'm not a quitter, so I'm going to need your help on this one".
This year was the 20th edition of the Sri Chinmoy Triple Triathlon, a scenic route around Canberra involving 6.2k of swimming, 96k of mountain biking and 43k of trail running. It is an event I have competed in during 2007, 2009 & 2011. This year, the push was on to field the largest solo field possible for the anniversary event. I knew it would attract the best. How could I turn down the opportunity to toe the start line with triple-tri greats like David Baldwin, Julie Quinn, Rowan Beggs-French, Trevor Fairhurst, Klayten Smith and Alina McMaster? So myself and a few mates agreed, it was April. Plenty of time to prepare...
In 2011 I trained upwards of 25hrs a week and achieved a 2nd place finish just 15 minutes behind Rowan. This year with a few exceptions, my training was limited to my daily commute. I was under no illusion that I was honing my competitive edge nor that I'd be rubbing shoulders on the podium. So then why? Why take on an event so physically and mentally taxing you know your whole self will be pushed to the limit? Why take on an event that will bring the hurt, perhaps like it has not been brought before? Why take on an event that has the capacity to chew you up, spit you out and leave you lying on the side of some trail, somewhere? Maybe by the end of this story you'll know. Maybe you'll just have to sign yourself up next year. to find out... I hear the 21st anniversary is going to be pretty special.
The Lead Up
Two young boys to juggle, full time work, a daily cycle commute, 5 pool sessions (total) and 3 short "swim/bike/run" days is the training summary. An ear and sinus infection 48hrs out and a visit to the GP for antibiotics on Saturday morning capped off my less than ideal preparation. The fact that my mates were unable to race solo as well was another hit to the psyche. As a result the last minute go decision, frantic packing and 3.5hrs drive left me somewhere other than the zen-like state which would help me through race day.
Thanks to the enduring support of my wife Julie, I got to the start line and donned the swimming wetsuit for the second time in 6 years. I then contemplated the day ahead with a group of like-minded people in the frigid waters of Lake Ginenderra. Where would I rather be? Nowhere.
Leg 1 – 1.5km Swim Time: 0:31:18
The start was called and off we went. A large lead group formed and wow, they could swim. I'd love to say I held on and cruised through 1.5k of easy swimming, though it is not the case. My limited swim training shone through from the get-go and I struggled through half and hour of mild discomfort. Not a good omen for the remaining 4.7 kilometers in the water.
Leg 2 – 36km Mountain Bike Time: 2:58:43
Most of my preparation for this event involved commuting to work and as such I was very glad to be out of the water and onto the bike. Julie executed a flawless transition and soon I was peddling lakeside knowing that my icy bones would warm up in the hills around Black Mountain. 'Push Bike Hill' lived up to it's name. A steep, stony ascent towards Telstra Tower. Switch off the mind, point the bike upwards and keep on trucking. I reached the summit and bombing down the other side was in order. I was warm, riding well and picking off solo competitors one by one… Them BAM! my pedals locked up with a horrible metal crunching sound. Not ideal.
A brief visual inspection clearly showed that my rear derailleur and chain were mangled with no hope of recovery. Bugga! Time to call the cavalry... Though I have no phone... Bugga! Luckily the next solo competitor, Josh, did. A call to Julie, a hike out to the road and the expectation that if I can find another bike before the next leg I race unranked.
Julie had other ideas. An early morning call to a mate Hov and next thing I know I'm back in the game, albeit an hour behind the rest of the solo field.
I coursed through the final 18 kms and into TA.
Leg 3 – 18k Run Time: 1:56:43
Stoked to be back in the race I swapped bike for trail shoes and headed off up Mt Majura, then up Hackett Hill, then up Mt Ainslie with a few more ups in between.
Finally a long down took me past the War Memorial and to Lake Burley Griffen and the run along the foreshore into TA. By this stage I'm feeling pretty good, 1 tri down, longest run done and as I enter TA another solo is leaving! It’s all about to change.
Leg 4 – 3.5km Swim Time: 1:29:56
The first swim leg hurt me a little and safe to say I was really looking forward to being on the other side of this expanse of water.
I could wax lyrical for hours about the discomfort I endured throughout this swim. About how my legs cramped from the start and how I was fairly certain I was going to drown at some stage during the last kilometre. Or, I could describe the lovey first aid officer who met me coming out of the water, saw my blue face and hands then stated "You'd better come with me mate. You dont look so good." To which I responded “Thanks mate, I don't feel so good, but Ive been here before and just need to get on my bike to warm up."
It was ugly, I'm glad it's done, we shall never speak of it again.
Leg 5 – 36km Mountain Bike Time: 2:24:02
I headed out for the second bike leg, suffering though knowing there would be plenty of hills just around the corner to warm me up. Soon the rhythm settled in. Pedal the flats, bomb the downs and get off and push anything over a few degrees off horizontal. It was so great to see Andrew Graham (Graz) out along this leg as the sun was baking, most of this leg is exposed, so when the breeze dropped away it was brutal. Soon enough though I wound my way down to TA.
Leg 6 – 12km Run Time: 1:26:49
Mt Taylor. A sufferfest. Every time.
Out of TA, up and up and up. A small respite down the backside then into the oven. Fire trail and bike paths through the backstreets of Canberra. Towards the end of this leg I was really coming unstuck. The body had had enough. I made it into TA and this is how it went.
Graz: "Mate, you dont look so good."
Me: "I feel like death. I just need to lie down for a few minutes."
Julie: "That's no good. Now get your wetsuit on and get in the water.”
Me: "Just two minutes."
Julie: "You've already been here two minutes. Get off the chair, get your wetsuit on and get in the water."
So I did.
While this may seem harsh, the primary role of a support person is to keep you moving. Often this involves making decisions that are in the best interest of the racer. Julie has seen me suffer plenty, she knows my limits and more importantly, my capabilities. I'm forever grateful to have her on my side.
Leg 7 – 1.2km Swim Time: 0:39:43
The water was blessedly cool and while it was not exactly pleasurable I was stoked to be on my way for the third triathlon. The leg finishes with a short climb up a ladder out of the water. You can imagine my limited appreciation for the ingenuity of such a device at this stage of the game.
Two to go.
Leg 8 – 24km Mountain Bike Time: 1:58:27
The final bike leg is the shortest of the three and Julie was right. I felt much better for my leisurely splash and I was elated to be still moving forward given the day so far.
Shortest doesn’t mean easiest and the ever present steepness plus the cumulative stress on my weary bones certainly made for a challenging ride. Luckily the day was cooling, the sun getting lower in the sky. The light that had been so harsh a couple of hours ago turned magic, filtering through the trees. Smashing down the final single-track and through the storm-water pipe I emerged into the final TA. Just one challenge left and this day would be done.
Leg 9 – 13km Run Time: 1:28:31
One leg to go and I could hardly believe it. 36 hrs earlier I was at the GP, questioning if I would even get to the start line. Now just one more mountain to climb.
Up I went. Near to the top Sean, Kim, Hugo and Oscar came out to see me. It was wonderful to see their smiling faces and hear their cheers. "This is the last mountain Andrew. Almost home!"
Down I went, then through the flatland towards Lake Burley Griffen and the finish line. The sun was going down and the sky turned a delicious shade of red. It was amazing. After 14 hours I was on the final stretch, there was no one around and I was truly grateful for my place in this very moment of time. There was nowhere I would rather be. My mind was a fire with wonder and awe. Strava tells me that at this point I was running between 6:30 and 7:00 minutes per kilometre. Not that flash, though truth be told while my head was clear my body certainly didn't feel that flash either.
2.5km out from the finish I see Sean's clan once again.
Sean: "Mate, there is another solo just 50 seconds in front of you!"
Me: "But I've got nothing left..."
Sean: "I know you've got something... "
My body wept as I forced it to move, doing the math in my head. "50 seconds over 2.5km...." I had no idea, nor the capacity to figure this out. Faster, that's all there is. Faster.
So that's what I did. Go faster. 4:30, 4:45 maybe. Whatever it was it hurt like hell. But I caught the guy and the team runner in front too. I didn't slow until the finish and Julie's waiting arms.
I crossed the finish line in 14:54:12, almost 3hrs longer than my 2nd place finish in 2011. I was ecstatic. The cards had been stacked against me, yet my strength and the support of Julie, Graz, my friends who came to cheer me on and the Sri Chinmoy community got me through another Triple Triathlon.
The end of a Journey
My day was only made possible through the support of my family and friends and I am so very grateful to the following people: My wife Julie, my support crew in life, I hope I give as good as I get. Graz, your support for both Julie and I across the day was phenomenal. Thank you for giving up your time to join me in Canberra. My Mum, Dad, brother and sister in law, thank you for looking after our boys all weekend. They had a great time hanging out. Prachar and the Sri Chinmoy team, thanks for another year of an awesome event. Josh, for stopping and lending my your phone. Dan Hovenden for dragging yourself out of bed and lending me your new steed. Lastly, thank you to all my fellow solo competitors. Events like this only exist when people are willing to take them on. Huge congratulations to Rowan Beggs-French, David Baldwin and Julie Quinn. Amazing athletes who each broke their category's respective course record. What an achievement!
So there you have it, another race, another story. Perseverance and pain. Elation and endurance. A story I write for myself to help me understand my journey of discovery. A story perhaps, that I’ll share with my children as I watch them overcome challenges of their own. Take from it what you will and perhaps one day we will toe a start-line together.
2017 Nov 19th20th Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon, Sunday 19 November 2017
The Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon is its own universe.
In this universe, all the planets aligned and the gods saw fit to party for the 20th staging of its grand Cosmic Play.
All the inner and outer conditions were auspicious, the numbers and omens propitious: the training and expectation had peaked; a week of rain cleared the lakes of bacteria, greened the views, gladdened the cheering bird-chorus and softened the ground to the perfect tackiness for fast racing; the pre-race hail storm had exhausted its fury, leaving a stage of calm and readiness; the highest-ever quality field gathered; the sun shone with the optimum degree of brilliance; the wind blew always towards the finish line.
The 20-strong field of soloists included 8 previous winners of either the outright or over-50 categories, male and female, along with another 8 highly-credentialed endurance athletes making their Triple-Tri debuts. This field wasn’t just star-studded, it was a supernova soup! At the dawn start, anticipation was high, nerves alive, senses alert, hearts thumping, minds and bodies fully focused on the momentous adventure ahead.
The early legs – first swim, Black Mountain ride and the long run over Mts Majura and Ainslie – are about settling into a rhythm, finding a groove and embracing the racing state. The middle legs – the long Burley Griffin swim, grinding Stromlo ride and hot slog over Mt Taylor – are the heart of the contest, to be endured as best as possible to set the stage for the final legs – a dip in Lake Tuggeranong, Wanniassa and Isaacs Ridges ride and final run over Red Hill – which can be a painful battle for survival or supercharged surge for glory … or both.
This is the first time in its history that the entire solo field – and it was the largest field ever – has finished this gruelling race; testimony to the superb preparation, depth of courage, determination, character and commitment of this elite band of champions. The top 12 solo finishers came in under 13 hours, and 17 under 14 hours, which far surpasses anything previously achieved on this stage.
Julie Quinn and husband David Baldwin have a long and intimate association with Triple-Tri Universe. Both have participated in teams since the early years and David has the highest number of solo finishes – 9 in all. They have missed the last few editions with a busy schedule of international rogaining, yet both felt drawn to the starting line for the 20th, with expectations high that David might give the course record a decent shake in the Solo Male Over 50 category.
The standard of the Solo Male Over 50 category has risen dramatically with the course record falling by large chunks 3 times in the last 4 years. David Baldwin, racing in this category for the first time, grasped the challenge wholeheartedly, not only lowering the record once again but taking it under the formidable 12 hour barrier to cross the line in 11:56:04. In an inspired run home, he just missed his own record for the final run course for solo athletes set back in 2005 (of 1:09:08), by a mere 12 seconds.
Julie’s own overall course record had been broken in 2013 by an amazing race from Queenslander Shannon Proffit in a breathtaking 12:02:59. That year, despite attaining her best time ever, was the only one of her 7 Triple-Tri starts Julie didn’t win. This year was Julie’s first time back at the Triple-Tri since that day. Poised, calm and graceful as ever, she was focused, composed and clearly enjoying her work as the day progressed and the legs folded one into the next. The record was not within sight: her only goal, to offer her all. Nevertheless, a new record time for the 2nd bike leg of 2:01:56 was setting up her race nicely. By the end of the Lake Tuggeranong swim, Julie was only 2 minutes behind husband David; after the last bike she was only one minute behind. Was this what stirred David into such a spirited final run? Whatever the case, emerging from the tunnel at the Hartigan St transition, Julie was one minute behind course record schedule. She would have to blow away her own daunting course record for the final run leg just to be in the picture – and then some. When the going gets tough, champions stand up. Throwing caution to the wind, she went for it. The small gathering at the finish line, still exuberant from David’s finish minutes earlier, were elated as Julie sprinted home to reclaim her crown as Queen of the Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon, taking 3 minutes off her own best leg time (new leg record of 1:27:41) to achieve the incomprehensible. The new record glows at 12:00:09.
There has been a 13 year gap since Alina McMaster’s back-to-back victories in her only previous solo appearances at the Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon in 2003 and 2004. With an event of this magnitude, there will always be uncertainty leading into the race no matter what one has achieved previously or how much training one has done. Alina aimed to finish, yet like several others on the day, found herself carried by the spirit of an extraordinary occasion which swept her to an astonishing 13:28:21, just 7 minutes outside her 2004 winning time, flooding with joy and inspiration not only her immediate family but her huge extended family of friends and supporters. Kudos and immense respect to a class athlete of immense heart!
In 2002, Canberra legend Jason Chalker was at the height of his athletic prowess and an international career of professional off-road triathlon racing. A giant of the local off-road scene, Jason’s crowning achievement (in our eyes) was his monumental solo effort at the 2002 Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon, a seismic event of such magnitude that when the dust settled an unscalable mountain remained, bearing the numbers 10:25:03. While some have perhaps dared to dream of reaching that pinnacle, most have just admired this massive peak in silent awe.
Rowan Beggs-French first tackled the Triple-Tri solo in 2011 – and won in 11:56. After a stint living in Darwin, he next attempted the race in 2015 – and won, taking half an hour off his PB in an astonishing 11:26. This year would be his 3rd expedition into that unknown world of personal challenge and discovery which is the vast hinterland of Triple-Tri Territory, and he would be facing his strongest competition by far. Rowan started well: despite giving minutes away in the water, ideal conditions favoured his strong suit, the mountain bike legs. Jason Chalker’s record was a distant peak obscured for the moment by much closer mountains in the form of a host of elite athletes all vying for today’s title.
By the second swim, Rowan knew he was going too fast. He wasn’t following his race-plan script. Was it was adrenalin, fear of the looming competition or inspiration? His mind was telling him: you are going to blow up. He couldn’t obey. He was going too fast – and loving it. He blew away the course records for the next two bike legs – 1:42:20 his new time for MTB2 and 1:15:31 for MTB3. Amazing. This brought him into the final transition with victory assured. All the surrounding mountains had been transcended. Only one remained, now clear and looming. He was still going too fast. He was still feeling fantastic. He would soon feel even better … The impossible summit was visible. Just one solid run of 13 km was all that was needed. Crossing the line with arms upraised in sheer ecstatic relief and unbelieving triumph, Rowan had achieved the impossible. He had blissfully stared down Time. It stood for 15 years: now the unmovable mountain had moved. Another has risen higher in its place, inscribed thus – 10:21:10.
The closest anyone had ever come to the great Jason Chalker’s record was Klayten Smith’s victory last year in 10:39. Klayten is a 2-time Triple-Tri champion drawn inexorably to the start line this year, despite an injury-afflicted year. The powers of persuasion backed by overwhelming enthusiasm of his friend and Canberra resident Michael Brennan, proved irresistible. Klayten and Michael would be close to each other throughout the morning, running together on Mt Majura and Mt Ainslie, until Klayten drew gradually ahead. Their placings would swap again in the final run however, with Michael – who only does these events to “keep fit” in skiing’s off-season – claiming his 2nd consecutive 2nd placing in 11:26:42 ahead of Klayten’s 3rd in 11:28:23. Both performances would have won this race most other years.
Tom Brazier made his mark as a quality runner, winning the inaugural Sri Chinmoy Canberra Trail Ultra (100km) in 2013. Adding mountain biking and some swimming to his training palette, he’s now proven he is capable of anything. Tom’s 4th placing of 11:32:00 is one of the most impressive Triple-Tri debuts ever, powered by his top class running and supported with excellent mountain biking. If he starts taking swimming seriously, Tom will be very much in the frame for a future Triple-Tri win.
Hopefully many of the soloists will offer their own stories, so we will limit ourselves here to listing, and applauding each of their times:
Coming in 5th place in a superb 11:39:47, came 3-times Ironman Dale McCormack. Rounding out the sub-12 hour finishers was multiple-winner Trevor Fairhurst, thrilled to achieve his best result for some years. Paul Ledbrook completed his first ever Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon in the top 7 placings, clocking an excellent 12:09:45.
Adrian Sheppard has participated for years in numerous Triple-Tris, mostly as a competitive mountain biker. Completing the race solo has been his dream all along and this year he has done it in style: another fine debut finish in 12:14:57. Sydneysider and Ironman Blake Nielsen had participated once in a Triple-Tri team and that was enough to persuade him also to go solo: another impressive first-up effort of 12:21:32. Brian Black is another Sydneysider and Ironman and another Triple-Tri debutant: his finish in 12:51:31 a huge achievement.
In 11th place, Craig Johnston’s 13:15:54 almost exactly replicated his first finishing time from last year – we hope Craig will become a Triple-Tri regular. Over 50s 2nd place, Ross Beatty, just keeps getting better and finished emphatically in 13:16:58. Local Canberran Andrew Dankers finished his first attempt in an impressive 13:23:34. Kel Rankin from Picton was another to complete on his first attempt, finishing strongly before the sun went down in 13:36:18. Andrew Renwick, a crowd favourite, returned for his 4th Triple-Tri and 4th finish in 14:54:12; closely followed by former 50 and Over winner from Wagga, Geoff Breese in 14:57:51; while Joshua Smith was the final of 8 first-timers all of whom finished, in 15:18:27.
TEAMS OF 3
“Teams of 3” is for the purists and the elite. Despite all efforts to assemble “Gun” teams of 4 to 9 members over the years, the overall course record for teams has almost always been held by a team of 3 – and so it remains.
The fastest out of all the Mixed Teams of 3 was “Shoklo’s Nifty Fifty”, racing in the T3 Mixed All Over 50s. Former solo finisher Martin McGready partnered with super-swimmer Rose McGready and super-runner Jeff Grey to obliterate the course record for the category by over one hour, setting an amazing new record of 10:26:35 – this one is likely to stand for many years to come.
The T3 Open category was again won (in 9:15:03) by the Triple-Tri’s most famous team, “Stuff the Puffs”. Despite their irreverent name, this is a serious combination which has changed over the years but has always included Dave Osmond riding all the bike legs. Indeed, Dave was presented with a special award this year for the extraordinary achievement of having ridden all 60 mountain bike legs in all 20 editions of the Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon – and all at a highly competitive level (Dave still holds the course record for MTB1). His companions this time around were James Johnston in the water and Matthew Crane in running shoes.
“One of Each, Thanks” brought together a slick combo of Duncan Adams, Richard Smyth and Andy Isbister to take 2nd in 10:05:28; while Russell Rockford, Andrew Bryant and Jason Martin combined for 3rd place under the banner of “Crusty’s Crew”.
The only All-Female team of 3 this year were “Triple Treat” – Rosie Williams, Katrina Cousins and Leanne Wilkinson teaming up for an admirable showing of 11:52:05.
“Jo Joe Tom Time” was actually sans Tom but they kept the name (“Jo Joe Steve Time” doesn’t have the same ring to it), and just as well – Joe Howland, Steve Hanley and Jo Brischetto took out the Mixed Teams of 3 in 10:37:13. 2nd place in 10:44:59 was “32 Flavours sans Steve” (because Steve had defected to the winning team), of Katie Binstock, Seb Dunne and Peter Preston; while 3rd was taken by “CIA” (Anna Gurnhill, Christo Norman and Iain Johnstone) in 11:29:38.
TEAMS OF 4-9
Standout performance in the Teams of 4-9 came from “Hack Remnants” who smashed the course record for the Open Teams of 4-9 All Over 60. Comprising Alex Gosman, Trevor Jacobs, Peter Clarke, Steven Meredith and Nathan Carroll, the vastly experienced quintet turned back the clock in more ways than one to stage an exhibition of Triple-Tri team brilliance with their consummate 11:18:25.
The tightest competition is often in the Open Teams of 4-9. The all-conquering “Under The Radar” of previous years evolved from a Mixed ensemble to a formidable Open Team of 4-9, this year acknowledging their status as very much “On The Radar”. Fielding Jarrod Lee, Matt McAuliffe, Reuben Caley, David Allen, Jay Vine – who equalled Dylan Cooper’s record of 1:22:32 for the 2nd mountain bike leg – Jasen Higuchi, Emma Gillingham, Dave Medlock and Craig Benson, the team was unstoppable. Their only real competition was with the organising crew who scrambled to get transitions set up in advance of their lightning advance – in the case of the transition from swim to bike at the end of the Lake Tuggeranong swim, “On The Radar” were victorious! Their winning time of 8:21:08 was one of the fastest ever recorded and over half an hour ahead of another superb combination of “Massage One ACT” in 2nd place with 8:52:58, comprising Conor Sproule, Dylan Cooper, Trent Dawson, Corey Bacon, Michelle Cooper, Scott Imhoff, Wayne Corlis, Ed Hall and Nuru Somi (who blitzed the final run leg in 49:05). 3rd place in this category was taken by the stalwart Goulburn set-up of “Giant 440 Woodies #4 Pete”, featuring Rodney Smith, Rodney McWhirter, Jaemin Frazer, Andrew Dawes, Andrew Oberg, Kerry Baxter, Lori McWhirter, Michael Beard and Stefan Hese.
“The Buzz Lightyears” also hailed from Goulburn, recruiting Terry Withers, Kerry Baxter, Craig Johnson, Mark Stutchbury, Rodney Smith and Andrew Dawes to take out the Open Teams of 4-9 All Over 50. People have been members of two different teams in the past. Yet Kerry Baxter, Andrew Dawes and Rodney Smith created history today by all three of them representing two teams, where both their teams won podium positions in two different categories.
“Ladies Who Tri” brought together Lauren Hendricks, Elizabeth Mutton, Aoife Connors, Aoife Farmer (that’s right – two Aoifes in the same team!), Justine Kennedy, Lee Steel, Rosie Staude, Nicole Bruce and Thea Chesterfield to take out the All-Female Teams of 4-9 in 12:11:58.
Yet they were not the only All-Female team – just the only one under 50! “Three Squared FIT” came to the starting line with Rosemary and Belinda Robinson, Robyn McLelland, Andrea Teunissen, Elizabeth Lowe, Geraldine Cusack, Leanne Tennant, Maryann Simpson and Julie Delandro – all over 50 and out to conquer the course which they duly did, in 14:21:46. “One Foot Out of the Grave” took this age thing even further, boasting an All-Female Team of 4-9 All Over 60 (with two of them over 70!), to win their unique category in 14:54:53. A mighty congratulations and deep bow to Nerida Clarke, Rae Palmer, Carol Baird, Brenda Day, Connie Clement, Cathie Sims, Margaret Hadfield, Ann Ingwersen and Cathy Montalto!!
One of the youngest teams in the field, yet already Triple-Tri veterans, “KAOS” shone in taking out the main prize in the Mixed Teams of 4-9 in a superlative time of 10:15:36. Cassia and Saul Cunningham, Corey and Ryan Smith, Ella, Zoe and Paul Cuthbert, along with Adrienne Nicotra were awesome. a perilously close 2nd place was claimed by “Herding Cats” in 10:17:41, a team with probably more combined Triple-Tri finishes than any other with Iain Addinell, Rod Higgins, Vanessa Haverd, Rachel Meyer, Simon Tilley, Allison Campbell, Mark French, Julia Graczyk and John Fleming. The podium was completed by “Resultz Racing” – Anna Reynhout, James Allen, John McPherson, Siobhan Palmer, Kieran Denny, Matt Shadwell, Eva Ellmer, Andrew Reed and Rob Mulfird breasting the tape in 11:08:21.
The unofficial “Best Team Name” award this year goes to “Triple Tripass”. Honourable mention to “Wacky Waving Inflatable Flailing Arm Tube People” – for no succinct reason.
Heartfelt congratulations and thanks to all who participated either solo, in a team or as a helper, friend or supporter on this thrilling day.
Our sincere gratitude for your tireless service to Gai Webster, Technical Official from Triathlon ACT; Craig Johns also from Triathlon ACT; to John Birch and his team from Canberra Canoe Club; to Chris Ablett and Jonathan Muller of YMCA Sailing Club; to Emma of Lake Ginninderra Sea Scouts; to Connie Chan of Hammer Nutrition; to Mike Corrigan, Pat Siciliano and Cathy Pine of Sports Medicine ACT; to volunteer course marshals Nic Bendeli, Geoff Barker, Beverley Jende, Paul Mahoney, Kent Forster, Carinna Tong, Sue and Norm Brennan; to the course sweepers Jean Douglass, Tim Burns, Paul Cuthbert, Peter Lockey and Richelle Turner; to the staff of My Rainbow-Dreams vegetarian cafe; and to members of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team of Mongolia, Auckland, Brisbane, Melbourne, Torquay and Canberra.
See you next year for the 21st!
2017 Nov 19thTriple-Triathlon Solo Male Winner's report, 2017 by Rowan Beggs-French
I love living in Canberra. There are not many places in Australia that I have been that offer more to people who enjoy the outdoors and endurance sport. The facilities, surrounding green space and calibre of athletic community here means you are never short of opportunities or motivation to explore somewhere new and train hard.
The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team in 1995 created a multisport event showing off the spectacular landscape of Canberra, and pushing the limits of endurance in a single day event. Each year since then (with the exception of 2 years due to weather) the Triple-Triathlon has tested athletes either solo or in teams to swim 6.2 km, ride 100 km and run 45 km in an enduro triathlon format taking in the lakes, mountains, and meadows that envelop our bush capital.
It is not your typical triathlon! It is not a race where you can sit on your pre-determined power output on the bike and then sit back into your marathon pace running. On the bike you will be doing gate vaults in the bush, and pushing your bike up crazy steep loose fire roads, then soaking in a view before an awesome descent. On the runs you will be running along trails mainly used by kangaroos and wombats, scrambling up Canberra’s biggest peaks, and dropping through beautiful single track. It is a race that forces you to go off feel and immerse yourself in the amazing trails. Which is why I love it so much.
I first raced this event as part of a team in 2008 with my now wife Amy and friend Scott. I was racing standard distance triathlon but was mainly training on trails and the event really appealed. We had a ball and the next year raced again. In 2011 I decided to push my limits and go solo for the first time. After a great day I finished first solo in just under twelve hours. After moving around Australia as an Air Force Pilot, I was itching to do it again in 2015 when as a family we moved back to Canberra. I had another great experience winning and setting a half hour PB.
My 2017 has been pretty up and down with injury but about September I started getting excited to aim for this event as it was the twentieth anniversary of the race and the field was looking bigger and deeper than it ever had been. My build for the race involved a lot of strength work in the gym along with hills riding and running. I am a full time dad and luckily my daughter loves going for adventures on the back of my bike or in the chariot!
Having done the race previously is a huge advantage – the stress of not knowing what to expect has passed and you have nutted out the logistics to make it run as smooth as possible. Over the last couple of weeks the training wound down but visualisation of the course and how I would feel throughout ramped up. The week of the race I was full of nerves, not knowing how the day would come together given my preparation, and nervous about the competition I would face with 8 previous winners of the event lining up with me.
Race morning was early! A 5:30 race start meant getting the family up at 4 to get ready for the day. Amy and my friend Marty were my support crew for the day along with my three and half year old daughter Imogen. Arriving at the shores of Lake Ginninderra to the west of Canberra the weather was beautifully mild, around 15 degrees, and there was this calm enthusiasm and anticipation from the 22 other solo competitors and their helpers (the 70 odd teams started half an hour later).
In the soft dawn light after a moment's silence we dove into the first 1.5 km swim of the event. My plan was to try and jump on the feet of Michael Brennan, but after about 50m he left me behind and I settled into my own rhythm. It pays not to blow up in the first swim of an 11-hour race!
The first transition went smoothly and I was happy to be on the mountain bike, where my plan was to push a solid pace and see if anyone went with me. I met up with Michael about 5 km into this leg and we rode together for the next 8 km, through some fast flowing fire roads, which were perfectly grippy from the rain of the past week. Then we reached the first of the big hills – affectionately known as ‘push bike hill’ on the side of Black Mountain. The 800m rocky Fire Trail sits between 25 and 35 per cent gradient for its length and is the first of many opportunities to get off your bike and push.
After a short stint walking at the steepest pinch I got riding again to put some distance between Michael and me. The rest of the first ride went well, some more punchy climbs and flowing descents and a great single track section through Bruce Ridge which led us towards the transition to the first run of the day starting at the base of Mt Majura. The atmosphere in transition was awesome, many of the teams were eagerly waiting for their riders to come in with the warm morning sun and barely any wind. I sat down for a moment to get my socks, runners, and hydration pack on before taking off for the 250m climb of Majura.
After setting a quick pace for the first ride I eased into a more relaxed rhythm running, following the rocky single track that weaved up the western side of Majura. It’s a special track especially in the early morning sun as you get glimpses of the city and Brindabella Mountains glowing in the distance. After reaching the summit the next section was a rollercoaster descent through the single track in the Majura Pines mountain bike park. Traversing the ridgeline between Majura and Ainslie I checked in with the body, which was feeling great. More importantly my mind was really calm, I was taking the chance to soak in the surroundings and not over thinking what I needed to do or concerning myself with pace.
The expansive view of Mt Ainslie is iconic, and against the blue sky and having 2 of the 3 biggest hills of the running course out of the way was an awesome moment! Coming off the mountain and onto the flat bike path leading to the next swim my calves were starting to tighten up, but luckily I had a 3.5 km swim ahead to get off my feet and let the legs recover.
Getting into a wetsuit mid race is an experience! I bought a sleeveless wetsuit in order to expedite this process. After having half a bottle of my Infinit electrolyte drink and the 3 of us working as a team I was in the wetsuit and off on the next swim. That feeling of being off my feet and just rolling the arms over was sublime. I had a gentle tail wind, which meant the chop was giving me a slight push. I pulled alongside a jetty mid swim to get some more calories in – the best part of an hour mid-race swimming means it’s really easy to hunger flat going into the next ride (a lesson learnt from previous years!).
After a quick bite of sushi and some beetroot juice in the next transition it was off for the longest ride of the day – around 38 km of flowing fire roads to the southwest of the city. It turns out I exited the swim at the perfect time as friend and veteran of the Triple-Tri, Dave Osmond came past me about a kilometre in as part of a team. I was feeling great at this point so jumped on his wheel and spent the next 10 km riding and chatting with him. This ride is where the day can start to get pretty warm – as it is predominantly open and it's late morning or early afternoon at this point of the race. Despite only having a top of 25, I was feeling the heat. The climb up Mt Stromlo went well, just slow and steady, before another fun descent along some weaving fire roads.
Another friend, Michelle Cooper, came flying past about 5 km from the end on her way to taking the bike course record. Again surging to stay with her was a great boost both to my speed and mind as things were starting to tire. Staying close to her for the rest of the ride I came into the crunch point of the race tired but feeling strong.
A quick reapplication of sunscreen, body glide and some no dose and I was off onto the 11 km run which has you summit Mt Taylor, a short and sharp peak in Canberra’s south. In the heat of the day it will definitely let you know if you have gone too hard early in the race. As soon as I hit the 25 per cent fire road climb I was down to a walk. But that was hurting my quads too much so I started walking backwards, and then discovered shuffling backwards felt great. The 1 km of climbing felt like an eternity but after reaching the top the view of the Brindabella Mountains and knowledge that the rest of the run is downhill was a huge boost to morale.
Nearing the end of the run my legs were shattered, but mentally I was still calm, happy and very much looking forward to the last 1.2 km swim. The swim was slow as I really focused on recovering, cooling down and preparing mentally to push through to the finish. Getting onto the bike for the final time with a solid dose of caffeine I tucked in for the coming 10km of flat bike path into a head wind. Klayten Smith the winner from 2016 was about 20 minutes behind in second place at this point so I focused on opening that gap so that we wouldn’t be running together at the end.
The short steep hills on this leg passed quickly and before I knew it I was approaching my last transition through the infamous storm water pipes of Hindmarsh Drive. Being 6’5” and having raced for over 9 hours already, riding a bike through a drainpipe for about 80 metres is somewhat of a challenge. I got into the tunnel just ahead of one of the team riders and completely messed it up! I tried to slide down and lie on my top tube as I had done in practice but instead just lay on top of my seat and had my back wedged against the tunnel roof, paying my blood sacrifice to the race.
After some frantic stuffing around I exited the tunnel, had some more water, caffeine and a bottle of Infinit and took off on my last run. I settled into a rhythm through the climb over Red Hill, enjoying the final view of the city. The legs were in pretty good shape compared to previous years, and I focused my mind on keeping my running form as light and smooth as possible. The smiles of the teams as they come past and words of encouragement from the helpers at aid stations are one of the things that make this event so special.
Coming onto the bike path and past the second last of these aid stations I glanced at my watch to see what the time was. I saw that it was 3:18 and I had 7 km to run, which meant that if I was able to hold my current pace of just over 5 min per km that I could surpass the solo course record set by off-road legend Jason Chalker in 2002.
The remaining distance was gently undulating and shaded along the south side of Lake Burley Griffin. There was plenty to lose myself in and appreciate as the final kilometres ticked down. Rounding the corner to the finish the joy of having completed this course quicker than anyone had in its 20 year history was overwhelmingly emotional. A week later it is still sinking in: I like many others thought that record would never be broken. Overall it was an awesome day.
Endurance sport is such an amazing experience – the emotional highs and lows, the hundreds of small decisions we make leading into and during a race, the weather, the mechanicals, the other unforeseen challenges we have to adapt to make it truly special when it does all come together in our favour.
If you are looking for a different challenge, atmosphere and experience this race will provide it. I love the diversity that exists within the sport of triathlon, and this race truly is one of those hidden gems. I am already getting excited to toe the line and see what the day brings next November!
2016 Nov 6thSri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon, 6 November 2016
Late course changes have become almost customary with the Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon. Such is the nature of this event: an off-road adventure held within an urban domain, subject to constant growth and change, with swims in 3 lakes susceptible of invasion at a moment’s notice by algae or bacteria.
On this occasion, the 1st and 2nd swim courses needed to be modified, affecting in turn the adjacent mountain bike and run legs. Hence, while overall records set this year are recognised as official, performances in the 1st and 2nd swim legs and 1st mountain bike leg do not qualify for leg course records.
The Triple-Tri is several races within a race, with Solo athletes on the go from dawn to dusk, while Relay Teams of 3 members or larger ensembles of 4 - 9, battle it out in sometimes dramatic and intense duels spanning the length and breadth of Canberra from morning till dusk.
Every athlete who even dreams of completing the Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon solo, is a brave soul indeed. Those who complete the journey are champions in every sense.
Laura Marshall proved that the last shall indeed be first. In conquering the Triple-Triathlon course for the second time, Laura achieved the rare feat of coming simultaneously both first and last, transcending the rest of the field uniquely in two ways: her time of 16:40:11 represented the longest time on the course of any athlete, while also being the first solo female across the line. Congratulations to Laura for her resilience, courage and strength of mind, a real inspiration to all who witnessed her finish.
The Over-50s Male division has seen a remarkable plunge in times, with the record being well and truly broken twice in two years. This year it was Daryn James who brought the mark down to a scintillating 12:19:18 with a well-controlled, focussed and beautifully executed race, which brought him 4th place outright amongst all solo athletes.
Klayten Smith returned this year for his second immersion in Triple-Tri world. Having taken 1st place already in his only previous outing, Klayten’s goal was to significantly lower his time. Embracing the course with its multiple and varied challenges and rewards, Klayten raced with heart and soul, his 10:39:36 the second fastest time in the event’s history, after only Jason Chalker’s legendary 2002 performance.
An accomplished cross-country skier, Michael Brennan only does two multi-sport races each year: the Sri Chinmoy Multi-Sport Classic in Jindabyne, and the Triple-Tri. For someone who regards himself as “not really a runner, or a mountain biker – or a swimmer”, Michael races for the challenge and enjoyment, relying on superb fitness and attitude. His 2nd place time of 11:37:16 would have won this race in many a year.
Trevor Fairhurst has had multiple distractions since his winning streak in the 2000s, including fatherhood and a series of injuries. With an uncertain preparation involving minimal running and a lack of long-distance work, Trevor approached the race with no assurance of even completing the course. His 12:11:29 has to rank of one of his finest performances, a real triumph of spirit over circumstance.
Peter Preston’s 12:38:58, Craig Johnston’s 13:13:05, Jon Schol’s 13:46:50 (Male Over 50) and first-timer Joel Murcia’s 14:00:36 were all outstanding returns on a day which boasted more than its fair share of heroes.
TEAMS OF 3
The name ”Stuff the Puffs” was born out of a rivalry with another Canberra team, “The Puffy Puffcakes”, who were a formidable force at the Triple-Tri in the late 1990s. The puffcakes are now a crumbling memory, yet the team they inspired has become the most successful outfit in Triple-Tri history. Newby puff-stuffers James Johnston (swimmer) and Matthew Crane (runner) joined with anchor Dave Osmond (mountain bike) to sweep all before them in a commanding display of 8:47:01 to take out the competitive T3 Open category – and 2nd place outright including all T9 teams.
Indeed after the winning team, the next 4 across the line were all Teams of 3. 2nd place T3 Open was the “3Ple Team” of Andre Carvalho, Ben Buchler and Perry Blackmore in a fine 9:33:29. The combination of Duncan Adams, Richard Smyth and Doug Richards – “One of Each, thanks” – took 3rd in this category in 10:50:26.
Like Dave Osmond’s “Stuff the Puffs”, Steve Hanley’s “32 Flavours” has incarnated with various personnel over the years, with Katie Binstock and Seb Dunne forming a winning combination with Steve this year to take the main prize in the T3 Mixed category in 9:52:51. “Meat and Two Vegs” combo of Chaitanya Shettigara, Michale Lyas and Daniel Oehm were 2nd in 9:58:08; and “Swim ride run sweat then beer” (Erin Thompson, James Lukassen and Stephanie Auston) proved that a team with only one male can be more than competitive to take 3rd place in 10:36:36.
TEAMS of 4-9
A new and formidable combination of Kylie Message, Kate Vandenberg, Elizabeth Humphries, Kym Somi, Alex Orme, Aimee Davenport, Elise Burriss and Alice Bates teamed up to form “Team Loser Shoes” and break a 17-year-old record to take the All-Female Teams of 4-9 category in a sensational 10:16:16. Hopefully this team will stay together and become the new benchmark for this division.
“Aqua Terra” were 2nd placed T9 Female in an impressive 11:37:22, comprising Pauline English, Sue Buckle, Jessica Robson, Leanne Wilkinson, Jo Allison and Carolyn Haupt. 3rd placing went to “Not Enough Lisas” (Lisa Moore, Danielle Winslow, Michelle Dorey, Lisa Keeling, Catherine Fullford, Lisa Charles and Jo O’Dwyer) in 12:33:39.
The stars of the awards presentation were undoubtedly the two “over age” all-female teams. “Three Squared FIT” took out the T9 Female All Over 50 in 14:23:03, comprising Julianne Quaine, Elizabeth Lowe, Sarah Rainbow, Krissa O’Neil, Belinda Robinson, Geraldine Cusack, Trish Phillips, Maryann Simpson and Rosemary Robinson. Normally these astonishingly fit ladies would have stolen all the limelight, yet “The Young Ones” of Lindy Dunn, Connie Clement, Sue Archer, Margaret Hadfield, Toni Bolschelar, Maria O’Reilly, Nerida Clarke and Ann Ingwerson almost caught them, in an amazing time of 14:47:23 – for a team of ALL OVER 60 FEMALES!
“Under the Radar” are under the radar no more. Last year they assembled a team of all-stars and stormed the course record for T9 Mixed. This year they lowered the mark for this category yet again to 8:13:51, the second-fastest time ever recorded in this race. With Emma Gillingham leading the way in all the swim legs, the team was completed with Matt McAuliffe, Craig Benson, Jay Vine, Marty Dent, David Medlock and Jasen Higuchi. Marty Dent added the course record for the 2nd run (leg 6) of 37:43 to his record for the 3rd run (leg 9) which he set last year. We can only assume he will have a go at the 1st run (leg 3) next year?
“Cold Water” proved hot on the day, with an ensemble of Triple-Tri veterans Stuart Godley, Rod Higgins, Stu Doyle, Rachel Meyer, Simon Tilley, Louise Sharp, Mark French and Julia Graczyk taking out 2nd in this category in 10:04:29; from “The Buzz Lightyears” of Goulburn bringing together Emily-Mae Strickland, Kurt Warn, Terry Withers, Elke O’Rourke, Kerry Baxter, Steve Boyt, Niamh O’Rourke, Mark Stutchbury and Olivia Stutchbury in 10:22:15.
The T9 Open category saw triumph in 10:07:46 for one of the Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon’s most loyal and consistent teams. Also from Goulburn, “Giant 440 Woody’s – 4Pete” race to honour the spirit and memory of former team captain Peter Oberg, one of the Triple-Tri’s most ardent supporters. Now headed up by Pete’s brother Andrew, the team was completed this year by Rodney Smith, Rodney McWhirter, Michael Pickford, Andrew Dawes, Lori McWhirter, Michael Beard and Stefan Hese.
Ahead of the “Giants” for much of the day in a topsy-turvy race which proved to be the closest of any of the categories, another Triple-Tri stalwart team of “Aviator’s Beach Club” took out 2nd place in this category in 10:09:49. Captained by swimmer Dave Hayes, James Meadley, Sean Davis, Pete Hansen, Andy Thomas, Richard Palmer and Kate Chipperfield completed the team. 3rd place was taken by “Tri Squared Friends” of Rory Sullivan, Anthony Newman, Jack Chenoweth, Grace Zhang, Jack Allison, Brad Valette, Kevin Chan, Oliver Lee and Alexandra Grant came home in 10:50:52.
Gratitude to all whose tireless and selfless service helped make this such a successful and memorable outing. The sports trainers of Sports Medicine Australia, members of the Canberra Canoe Club and YMCA Yacht Club, Race Referee Fiona McWhinnie, staff of Access Canberra, the NCA, Triathlon ACT, Canberra Girls Grammar School, National Arboretum Canberra and Stromlo Forest Park and the many volunteer helpers on the day including Adele Yin, Ben Lees & Michaela Watts, Duy Nguyen, Sue Brennan, Carinna Tong, Gopi Ganesasundaram, Terry Dixon, Geoff Barker, Erin Smith, Mike Edmondson, Tim Burns, Mike Matthews, Jane Hiatt, Jackie Leuthi, Beverley Jende, Jane Gordon, and to members of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team from Serbia, France, the UK, Auckland, Brisbane, Melbourne and Canberra.
We look forward to your company next year for an historic occasion: the 20th edition of the Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon, to be staged in and around Canberra on Sunday the 19th of November 2017.
About the Organisers
The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team
Serving the athletic community for over 35 years...
Team Founder Sri Chinmoy
A lifelong advocate of fitness and self-transcendence...