Saturday 27 - Sunday 28 October
Sri Chinmoy Triathlon Festival 2007 Race Report
Congratulations to all who participated in the 2007 Sri Chinmoy Triathlon Festival!
Sri Chinmoy Triathlons have been staged at Yarralumla Bay since 1984. In 1990 the original race was supplemented with a Sprint Distance event on Saturday afternoon. The program was further augmented a few years later by children's races, an Olympic distance race and an Off-Road event. The 3-day Festival had been born.
2007 saw another innovation in the constantly-evolving Festival: the inaugural Sri Chinmoy Champions Challenge. The new race sits half way between the traditional Long-Course and a full "Ironman" distance. To streamline the program of events, the Sri Chinmoy 'Classic' Tri and Sri Chinmoy Sprint Triathlon were also staged on the Sunday morning alongside the new Champions Challenge.
The week preceding the Festival had seen almost daily rain and evening thunderstorms. The rain topped up the drought-depleted Lake Burley Griffin and greened the surrounding countryside, so that when Friday dawned clear and bright, conditions were almost perfect for the sport of triathlon.
Friday March 2
Sri Chinmoy Joyathons
Joy is the essence of sport, as celebrated in the three Sri Chinmoy Joyathons - the first on Friday morning for Primary aged children, the second at lunchtime for Secondary aged children and the third on Friday evening for all comers. The distances are short and the accent is not on competition but the sheer joy of active participation. The Joyathons serve as the ideal curtain-raiser to the Festival by reminding us how sport can lighten and brighten our lives.
Saturday March 3
Sri Chinmoy Off-Road Triathlon
Swimming from one side of the lake to the other and commencing the mountain bike at Black Mountain Peninsula, the Sri Chinmoy Off-Road Triathlon showcases some of Canberra's renowned bush tracks and trails. A severe hailstorm a few days earlier had left most tracks strewn with branches, rocks and debris and opened up some serious ruts, so bikers had to exercise greater caution than usual. The run course over Stirling Ridge and back along the lake's rocky edge is a testing and enjoyable cross-country, a rarity in the very heart of the city.
The men's race saw the battle of the non-swimmers, with Dave Osmond and Adrian Sheppard - 24th and 25th respectively out of the water - posting the fastest mountain bike and run splits to pass the rest of the field and finish in flying style. Dave's bike split time of 1:02:10 was only 6 seconds slower than Rod Higgins, riding for the winning team. The women's race was won by Raeleigh Rogers in a convincing return to competition after an extended break, holding off a determined Emma Hender. Raeleigh also posted the day's fastest outright swim time.
In a break with tradition, Saturday afternoon was free of racing, allowing athletes and organisers alike a rare chance for rest and leisure activities.
Sunday March 4
Sri Chinmoy Sprint Triathlon
For the first time staged on Sunday morning in conjunction with the Sri Chinmoy Champions Challenge and Sri Chinmoy 'Classic' Tri, the Sprint Triathlon offered some faster-paced action.
17-year-old Lindsay Wall of Berridale 'relaxed' through the course for a 5-minute win, in the process recording one of the fastest times since Greg Welch in the early '90s. It was a family affair for the Wall family with mum, dad and 2 brothers also racing.
Special mention must be made of Geoff Llewellyn who continued his run of participation, having missed only one Sri Chinmoy Triathlon (injured) since 1984; and of the 79-year old Rad Leovic who helped in the bike compound for the Junior Joyathons all day Friday and completed Friday evening's Open Joyathon before backing up for the Sprint Triathlon the next morning.
Adrienne Elmitt and Hayley Gosman led the way for the younger brigade while Christina Thorne showed the value of experience to complete the podium spots in the women's race.
Sri Chinmoy 'Classic' Tri
The favourite Olympic Distance race enjoys a scenic bike course employing the famed Coppins Crossing loop and popular run taking in the Governor General's driveway and the Sri Chinmoy Peace Mile at Westbourne Woods.
Felicity Roantree and Ben Abell were clear outright winners, while the standout age group performance came from John Muir, who despite not racing for several years took out the M40 - 44 division by 21 minutes and placed 3rd outright.
Sri Chinmoy Champions Challenge
The new 3.2 km swim, 120 km cycle and 30 km run lived up to its name: the course, especially the ride through the hills surrounding Canberra, followed by a 30 km run under a very warm sun proved a very real challenge, and each finisher a true champion.
Sarah Fien had an outstanding comeback to competition after a long lay-off through injury, placing third outright in the exceptional time of 7:20:43. In the men's race, Pete Farrell ran down a tiring Bevan Leach in the later stages of the run after Bevan had led through the swim, bike and most of the run. Both had raced Long-Course the previous week.
With its demanding but satisfying course and comprehensive athlete services, the race offers the perfect challenge for those looking to extend themselves beyond the now-common Long-Course distances. Let's hope that more will take up the challenge when the race returns in 2008.View the Festival photo gallery >>
Sri Chinmoy Triathlon Festival October 2007 Race Report
A quarter of a century is almost as long as the sport of triathlon has been around. In that time the casuarinas of Yarralumla Bay have looked on as numerous souls have experienced the thrill of triathlon for the first time, world champions have come and gone, and thousands have enjoyed the triumphal sprint along the famous finishing chute under their welcoming shade.
Sri Chinmoy himself, the inspiration behind this and hundreds of annual sporting events worldwide and founder of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team which stages the race, passed away just weeks ago, on 11 October at his home in New York.
As a tribute to the living spirit of Sri Chinmoy's inspiration, the 25th Triathlon Festival bearing his name proceeded as planned, albeit without Friday's Junior Joyathons.
This was the first time the event would be staged in late October. Since Canberra winters have been less severe in recent times, the lake has not been coming off such a cold base, so trends have seen the lake warming much earlier in the season.
The average water temperature of 19.4C proved ideal, allowing wetsuit use while not intimidating those who chose to go without. While this time of year can be prone to storms, the milder temperatures certainly offered a welcome change from the searing heat of recent summer races.
The Festival opened on an unassuming note with a small gathering dotted along the beach in readiness for the first leg of the Sri Chinmoy Off-Road Triathlon, a 680 metre swim to the far side of the lake at Black Mountain Peninsula. There followed a 25 km mountain bike ride around Black Mountain, through the Cork Oaks and over Dairy Farmers Hill, wading across the Molonglo River and through Westbourne Woods to the transition at Yarralumla Bay. The final 5 km run course headed along Stirling Ridge then returned around the lake's sometimes rocky frontier.
Michael Gosman, the only entrant in the Solo Male Under 20 division, powered home as the first solo male outright on the back of the day's fastest solo swim, ride and run splits, finishing 12 minutes ahead of his nearest rival, Shane Williams. The only other athlete to come close to his swim time was his dad, Alex Gosman, swimming for the all-male winning Team "40 & 50" with Rod Higgins, whose bike split was 8 minutes faster than any other rider. Rod's partner, Allison Campbell paired up with Julia Graczyk in "Mum's Day Out" to take the all-women's Team prize. Raeleigh Rogers successfully defended her title, leading home the women's field by a clear 10 minutes from Anne Napier.
Another first was the staging of the Sri Chinmoy Joyathon (left) on Saturday afternoon as a prelude to the Sprint Triathlon. Brayden Clews-Proctor has shown outstanding talent in winning his age group for several years in the Primary School Junior Joyathons, and this time excelled in the Open race, not only winning the Boys Under 13 division but coming in 3rd place outright behind ace athletes John Hovius and Keith Cassilles-Southgate. Brooke Donnelly, entered in the girls under 17 division, was first female from another junior, Alice Wallett. Amy Edwards turned in one of the performances of the day in winning the girls under 13's. Meanwhile Hayden's mum, former world long-course champion Gayelene Clews made her comeback to triathlon after a 15-year break with a pleasing 2nd place in the 17 - 50 yr women's division.
It has been 15 years since someone has broken 53 minutes for the Sri Chinmoy Sprint Triathlon. Aaron Farlowe was probably unaware as he blitzed the field in a virtual time trial that he would come so close - a mere 3 seconds - to Greg Welch's course record of 52:40 set back in the race's glory days in 1992. Easily clocking the fastest swim, bike and run splits, Aaron finished 6 and a half minutes clear of Josh Berry, the only other athlete to finish inside the hour. Yvette Fisher was the first female across the line, ahead of under 20's Danielle Cooper and Hayley Gosman. Canberra's own world champion Rad Leovic (right) became the first ever 80-year old to complete the race, to a rousing ovation.
Sunday dawned clear, still and bright as another small field of just 20 lined up for the long swim (3.2 km) of the Sri Chinmoy Champions Challenge. The Sri Chinmoy 'Classic' Tri got under way 2 hours later. Almost everyone had remembered the start of Daylight Savings, though a few turned up dismayed as swimmers were running out of the water. The 'Classic' athletes then headed onto the 40 km loop course through Coppins Crossing, though they only had to complete one lap while the Champions Challengers would come around 3 times. As Paul Every later commented: "The 3 laps offered plenty of variety: it hurt in a different way each time!"
The 'Classic' run course is scenic and varied, a most satisfying finish to the journey. Paul O'Doherty commanded the cycle and run legs to cruise home a winner by 3 and a half minutes, while Natalie Wood was pressed harder by Sarah Greenwood in the women's race. Evergreen competitor Lachlan Lewis (left) enjoyed his move up to the male over 70's with a category win in his 21st Sri Chinmoy Triathlon Festival.
While the later 'Classic' Tri contestants were finishing, the weather's mood was shifting. Low dark clouds took up their positions and a strong gale tormented the Champions Challenge cyclists still on their last lap. Onto the 2-lap lakeside 30 km run and the wind brought showers, then cleared to a picture-postcard day under glorious sunshine.
While only the second time this race has been run (and with an altered cycle leg), Brad Course finished in a new course record of 6:38:51, trailing only "Troy's Team" which took out the first place mixed team division. The men's 40-49 age category dominated the race, filling half of the solo men's field. Laura Marshall and Kylie Gaffel flew the flag for the women, conquering the wind and the rain to both finish around the 9 hour mark.
It is not often that a "DNF" gets a special mention in a race report. But the story of Ashley Snow (right) is remarkable. 6 months ago he saw an ad for this race and decided he had to do it. He was the first entrant. Never mind that he had never done a triathlon, or that he couldn't swim. The Sydney bus driver headed for the pool and started training with a single focus, shedding 15 kilos along the way. Just to front the starting line was a huge achievement, and while he did not quite finish the swim leg (coming to shore in the boat for just the last 200 metres), he refused to buckle and soldiered on to complete the cycle and run. Though a technical non-finisher, we were proud to present him his "Sri Chinmoy Champions Challenge" medal. Why? Because for sheer determination, guts and the courage to follow his dream, he showed us all the traits of a true champion.
Geoff Llewellyn had participated in every Sri Chinmoy Triathlon Festival since the first in 1984. indeed it was he who had recommended Yarralumla Bay as a potential venue for the race. This year, with a pending shoulder operation, the 73-year old Geoff could not complete, but instead helped out both days in the cycle compound. Our gratitude to Geoff for his glowing inspiration and sterling support.
Thanks also to Triathlon ACT for their solid leadership of the sport in Canberra and this event in particular, and to Ian Clout and his unassuming team of technical officials for ensuring the weekend proceeded so smoothly. Thanks also to the volunteers who keep it all together on the ground: from SES, Canberra Canoe Club, NSW Snowsports, ACT Ice Skating. And to all our sponsors: Capital Tourism, Hammer Nutrition, The Canberra Times, Onya Bike Belconnen, Reebok, and the Natrional Parks & Wildlife Service. And thanks to the members of the Sri Chinmoy Centres from around Australia who continue to come to support this event.
And lastly our special gratitude and congratulations to you: all the athletes who bring your heart's enthusiasm, courage, determination and joy, qualities which make all our lives better and brighter.
Upcoming Sri Chinmoy Races not to be missed - earlybird entries for both these events close this coming Monday 5 November at 6 pm, after which a higher fee will apply, so get your entries in!
Sunday 11 November: Sri Chinmoy National Capital Swim - swim the 9 km length of Lake Burley Griffin, for solo swimmers and relay teams of 4. Enter online now >>
Please select the link below for full category results or overall results for each race of the March 2007 Sri Chinmoy Triathlon Festival. Results are in pdf format.
Please report any anomolies in these results to [email protected] or phone (0404) 071-327.