The Solo Champions
Michael Brennan’s athletic career continues to amaze and transcend: for someone who has already achieved so much in so many fields, it was appropriate that a victory be added in an event which demands such a comprehensive palette of skills and fitness, a victory which had until now eluded him. Michael’s superb time of 9:36:10 placed him second-fastest individual since the long and arduous 3rd mountain bike leg was added in 2008, and saw him trail only 7 multi-person teams on the day. En route, Michael set a new fastest time for the long 2.5km swim leg with 39:20. Although he finished first, Michael was the last to depart from the finish area, maintaining his full involvement and enthusiasm for the race by offering appreciation and support to all his fellow competitors until nightfall beckoned us all home.
Geoff Breese is another champion whose effervescent energy continues to overflow after the finish line is crossed: Geoff’s main goal appears to be enjoyment of the occasion, which he does not try to hide and is infectious to all around, athletes and volunteers alike. Meanwhile his wholehearted engagement with the race produces some amazing results, including another victory in the Male Over 50 category with 11:51:19, even bettering his “official” race record from last year!
Two first-time solo participants completed the epic journey today: Nigel Doyle is the first solo entrant ever from Darwin, and now holds the record for Northern Territory residents of 12:39:53. Nigel’s experience paddling in the surf proved very useful in the choppy conditions of the 3rd paddle leg, while his steadfast determination and positive outlook saw him maintain a remarkable consistency throughout the journey.
Meanwhile Dean McMaster was solely focused on finishing, his willpower overruling the innumerable obstacles tossed up by this long and testing day. It was a great joy to welcome Dean across the finish line in 12:53:32, a triumph by any reckoning.
Teams of 2 – 4
The team of “Once Were Intact” (Andrew and David Griffin, David Peedom and Rohan Essex) came to Jindabyne as defending T4 Open champions and record holders, and gave the course a mighty good race today. For the first half of the event, the lead changed several times between themselves and “Geese” (Sharon Crisafi, Garry Reed, Miles Waring and Tristan White), as both contenders drew further clear of the rest of the field and left organisers scrambling to be in position at the transitions in time for their arrival. “Geese” were too good in the back half of the course however, closing with a 14-minute buffer by the finish line in an all-round classy performance, featuring a course record for the newly-designed 2nd mountain bike eg of 21:34 from Tristan White. 3rd placed “Bin City” (Brock Neall, Jamie McCrudden, Ian Kennerley and Al Boyle) were also consistently excellent across all disciplines, including a new course record for the 2nd paddle leg of 20:29 for Jamie McCrudden.
The T4 Mixed category was won by the impressive husband-and-wife pair of “Team Pogue” (Christine and Ryan), from the trio of “Dave’s BJ’s” (Josh Campton, Dave Snedden and Bonnie Prior), with “Less is More” (Penny Frost, Dave Newton, Richard and Kylie Smyth) rounding out the podium placings. Linda Stahlgren of “Magic 8 ball” also established a new record time for the 2nd mountain bike leg of 28:35.
Sadly there were no teams entered in the T4 Female category this year…
Teams of 5 – 12
The Goulburn grouping of Andrew and Jacqueline Oberg, Andrew Dawes, Rod Smith, Mark Stutchbury and Kerry Baxter came together as “We Perisher-thought – 4 Pete” to take out the T12 Open category in a blink under the span of 9 hours in 8:59:38 after a demanding day which saw them rising above all setbacks and challengers. 2nd placed “Knerds” (Julie and Chris Waring, Andrew Garvie, Mike Hotchkiss and Suzie Gunning) crossed the line in 9:26:02, from perennial podium placegetters “Aviator’s Beach Club” (Dave Hayes, Jack Jessen, Jordan Kelly, Wayne Bradbury, Pete Hansen and Andrew Thomas) took out 3rd with 9:48:31 – swimmer Dave Hayes was so determined to cover the entire course of the first 1.5km leg in the fog, he ended up swimming perhaps further and taking even longer than for the second swim of 2.5km.
The always lively and colourful ensemble “Kaos” (Cassia and Pia Cunningham, Aoihbinn Crimmins, Zoe and Ella Cuthbert, Adrienne Nicotra and Tara Sutherland) smashed the previous best time for the T12 All-Female category with an impressive outing of 10:15:31. Zoe Cuthbert had an exceptional day, setting new best times for both the 1st (32:08) and 3rd (2:11:07) mountain bike legs for her team.
“Results Racing” (Michelle Welch, Emily Stewart-Reed, Michael Reed, Matthew Shadwell, Laura Curran, Gordon Campbell, Robert Mudford and Anna McPherson) were the standout team of the T12 Mixed contenders, winning in a convincing 9:35:50, while a closer race ensued between 2nd placed local team “Cami Jebisi” (Sinikka Christo, William Hunter, Michael Quinlan, Cameron Ballinger and Jennifer Lloyd) who finished in 10:15:56, just a few minutes ahead of 3rd placed “Quangers and Mash” (Georgy Falster, Clint Shinn, Luke and Jess Perkins, Brett Cuthbertson, Vanessa Palmer, Emily O’Halloran and Bernardo Palma) in 10:21:06.
The 1st Swim Leg
Setting out the first swim course in the dark, it was not apparent just how thick was the fog which had settled over the lake in the pre-dawn – so dense that the marker buoys simply could not be seen by swimmers or support paddlers. It is to all swimmer’s credit that groups formed in the gloom and all were able to return to shore safely, by whatever route necessary. In future if such a phenomenon occurs, laps of a shortened course close to the shore will be adopted, the length of the course determined by the necessity of clear visibility between marker buoys.
Note on Course Records
Given the significantly revised and shortened legs for the 2nd paddle and 2nd mountain bike courses, the best times set on these legs from this year are automatically listed as new course records, along with other leg records established during the race. However due to the uncertainties surrounding the distance swum by most of the field for the first swim leg, overall times from today will not be considered for overall course records.
Gratitude to All!
Sincere thanks to all involved with such a complex operation on so many levels: to the authorities and staff of Snowy Monaro Regional Council (especially Sophie Ballinger), Snowy Hydro (especially Jenny Crowe), NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service (especially Andrew Miller), NSW Police, NSW Roads & Maritime Services; to Les Threlfo and his team from the Volunteer Marine Service; to Rohan Kennedy for medical support; to David Campbell, Nick Graham & Matt Barnes for paddling safety support; and to volunteer helpers of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team from Mongolia, Ukraine, New Zealand and Australia.