Sri Chinmoy Multi-Sport Classic 2009 Race Report
A special spirit of place, infused with the thrill of high endeavour and the oneness of shared adventure, makes the Sri Chinmoy Multi-Sport Classic in Jindabyne such a memorable life experience.
Julie Quinn (main image, centre) continued her winning ways over this, one of her favourite courses. While not quite as fast as her course record from 2008, as the only female solo entrant, she was really competing with the men, only two of whom finished in front of her 11:49:33.
The race at the front of the Solo Men's category was enthralling, with Canberra athlete Alex Ramsey (main image, on right) throwing down the gauntlet to last year's winner, Matt Acheson of Sydney.
Alex effectively set up his win in the first leg of the day, coming out of the 1.5 km swim nearly 4 minutes ahead of Matt. Matt chased determinedly all day, but with Alex resolute ahead, it was going to take something extraordinary for the lead to be wrested from his grip. From transition to transition, his lead fluctuated between 3 and 9 minutes. It was not until the second last leg, the 9.5 km choppy paddle, that Matt was able to make a significant inroad of 7 minutes, closing to within a mere 27 seconds at Wollondibby Inlet. Back on land though, Alex drew away to finish nearly 2 minutes clear at Banjo Patterson Park.
In the course of their duel, Matt broke two leg course records- for the 1st and 3rd mountain bike legs- while Alex set a new best time for the 3rd swim. Both broke the overall record for the new course held by Matt from 2008, the record now sitting with Alex at 10:13:09.
Gerard Sweeney, Stewart Cowey, Steven Hanley (main image, on left) and Craig Arnold all realised their dreams of completing the daunting 12-leg course solo- Craig finishing in the dark and over 3 hours after Alex, but with just as broad a smile of satisfaction.
Wind and chop on the 2nd and 3rd paddle legs not only made for very challenging conditions and several rescues by the SES, but also rendered the overall course records for teams much more difficult to attain. Nevertheless, several leg course records fell, starting with Sarah Kennedy's 20:09 in the 1st swim. The technical and thrilling 1st mountain bike leg saw Dion Maber record an astonishing 29:33, and Sara Hely setting a new best time for the women of 45:05. Sue Navakas set a new record for the 2nd run over the hilly Pallaibo and Waterfall Tracks of 1:14:04, and Shanyn Sparreboom, having lost her record for the 1st swim course, hit back in the 3rd swim with a new best time of 17:29. Bart McPherson saved his best for last, with a blistering 16:07 for the final 5 km run.
The most competitive category on the day was the Open Teams of 4, with the poetically named "Get Stuffed" (James Crook, David Coward, Jarrod Crosby and Danny Wright) finishing 27 minutes clear of the field in an impressive 8:51:35.
"Velocity Vixens" (Sue Navakas, Danielle Winslow, Libby Adamson and Michele Clement) returned with an impressive 10:36:22 to take out the Female Teams of 4 category, with "Go-Go Girls 50+" (Helen Douglass, Jeannie Douglass, Peggy Douglass and Sue Archer) again taking out their category despite star cyclist Peggy Douglass losing a chain on the 3rd mountain bike leg. The pair of Sara Hely and Mark McDonald combined brilliantly to defy allcomers in the Mixed Team of 4, winning in 10:44:53.
"Aviators Beach Club" (Dave Hayes, Gabrielle Hurley, JK Thomas, Richard Palmer, Andrew Thomas and Pete Hansen) were the top placed Open Team of 12, coming in amongst the leading teams in 9:26:02. The 10-member "Murray-Darlings" (Sharon Davis, Charlotte Dennis, Gill Whiting, Ian Burns, David Hohnberg, Mike Dennis, Susan Buckle, Stuart Doyle, Greg Burghardt and Penny Everingham) finished first in the Mixed Teams of 12, in 10:24:54.
Special thanks to Les Threlfo and the members of the Snowy River SES for their tireless support on the water throughout a long and arduous day; to Chris Darlington and staff of the Jindabyne Sport & Recreation Centre for once again providing such an ideal event headquarters and accommodation base; Steve Austin for medical support; Russell Baker for timing and technical services; staff of Kosciuszko National Park and Kosciuszko Education Centre for their wholehearted dedication to this event; Bob and June Weston for the use of their property and unstinting kindness; Snowy Hydro for permission to stage the event in their lake; Snowy River Shire Council for permits, support and the use of equipment; Jindabyne Scouts for the loan of their canoes; NSW Maritime; NSW RTA and NSW Police; Peter Ward and Tina Burrell; Sam, Carl, Anna, Jayita, David, Mary and Tracey for their selfless service (and special mention to Betsy, Annie and Serena); the staff of My Rainbow-Dreams and members of the Sri Chinmoy Centres of Canberra, Brisbane, Melbourne and Christchurch.
Full results are published, along with an album of photos from the day.