After a serious attempt by Winter to impinge on the triathlon season, Summer arrived in the nick of time, warming Lake Burley Griffin just enough to allow the swim legs to proceed for the 27th Sri Chinmoy Triathlon Festival.
For Saturday's races, wetsuits were optional, while for Sunday's longer events, they were required for all competitors. For all races from the Sri Chinmoy Joyathon through to the Sri Chinmoy Peace Triathlon, an optional duathlon was offered for those who chose not to test the cooler waters.
Full results for all races (both overall and by age category) are published, along with photo albums from each event.
The decision to stage Saturday's Sri Chinmoy Junior Joyathon as a duathlon (700 m / 3.5 km / 800 m) was made mid-week in the realisation that children were more likely to be adversely affected by swimming in cold water, and most would not possess wetsuits.
Annika Morling showed sensational form to win the race outright (in 16:16) by nearly a minute from the all-girls team "St Peter's Trio" (17:06). First boy home was Dimitri Morogiannis (17:25), from Dylan Braagaard (17:32).
Not surprisingly, the Sri Chinmoy Joyathon fielded the highest percentage of takers for the duathlon option of any event of the Festival â about one third of participants. The Joyathon Triathlon (200 m / 7 km / 2 km) was dominated by the Boys Under 17 â Thomas Harrison (23:46) winning his duel with Conor Sproule (23:49), ahead of the first Male 17-49, Andrew Burke (24:26); the first female 17-49, Nicolette Kenny (24:58) and the fastest Girl Under 17, Emma Kelly (27:07). The "Scooby Gang" were first team across the line in 27:12.
James and John Ashleigh meanwhile battled it out in the Sri Chinmoy Joyathon duathlon (1 km / 7 km / 2 km), James taking line honours in 26:02 from John's 26:18. The team "Skipping Fish" were next in 27:13, from the first female Amelia Crane (27:29).
The Sri Chinmoy Sprint Triathlon (500 m / 21 km / 5 km) was chosen by some of Australia's leading Junior athletes for an early-season hit-out in top gear â with a result, the top 4 placings outright were taken by Male Under 20s. Michael Gosman gave away an early lead to Shane Farrant on the bike, then responded with a seering run (16:21) to win in the end by 40 seconds in 56:53. Nuru Somi took the 20-29 category in 1:01:02; Kevin Branagan the 30-39 in 1:01:07; David Williams the 40-49 with his 1:07:53; and Geoff Hawke the 50-59 with 1:06:19.
Speaker of the ACT Legislative Assembly, the Greens' Shane Rattenbury, showed his career in public office has not dimmed his athletic appetite or prowess as he claimed second place in one of the most competitive age groups, the Male 30-39, in an eye-catching 1:04:59.
Jodie Barker, competing in the Women 30-39 category, was first woman home in 1:06:15, from Rebecca Wiasak (20-29 â 1:06:33) and Sally Vaughan (1:08:56). Georgia Hardy was first Under 20 in 1:10:01; Michele Roche first 40-49 in 1:24:31; and Merridy O'Donnell first in the 50-59 with her 1:24:12.
The Sri Chinmoy Sprint Duathlon (2 km / 21 km / 5 km) was won by Lance Purdon (1:06:08) and Jacinta Coyle (1:13:05) respectively. Geoff Llewellyn, pioneer of this event â having designed the original course back in 1984 and racing every year bar one since then â chose the duathlon option this year, finishing in 1:44:52.
Mindful of the cold nights and early mornings Canberra had been experiencing in the lead-up to the Festival, the start for Sunday's races was brought back to 8 am for the Sri Chinmoy Peace Triathlon (2.2 km / 80 km / 20 km), and 9 am for the Sri Chinmoy 'Classic' Tri (1.5 km / 40 km / 10 km).
A relatively mild night overnight gave way to a beautiful day on Sunday â aside from the cool swim, offering optimal conditions for riding and running on a perfect Canberra Spring day (maximum 20 degrees).
Though they started an hour later, it was of course the athletes in the Olympic-distance Sri Chinmoy 'Classic' Tri who finished first. Daudi Somi (Male Under 20) swept the fastest times in all three disciplines to record a convincing win, just missing the elite 2 hour mark by a mere 42 seconds. Second place outright was one of the most impressive performances of the day â Kevin Goodwin, racing in the 50-59 category, offering encouragement to all the athletes along the way, crossing the line in 2:07:12. Matthew Haase was next in 2:11:15 (20-29); Marc Dorfling winning the 30-39 in 2:17:52; and Todd Evans the 40-49 in 2:13:16. Though he may have been out there the longest, Wilf Deck's effort in winning the 70+ category was one of the outstanding of the day. Suffering more than most from the cold water and getting a flat tyre along the way, he crossed the line smiling and beaming as ever â in 4:52:37.
Sally Parker (20-29) showed her quality in the women's race, winning in 2:19:49. Natalie Wood (30-39) came in next in 2:26:19; while Janelle Borg took the 40-49 category in 2:46:26. Fastest team was the All-Male collection of "Where's Lincoln?" in 2:16:03.
The Sri Chinmoy 'Classic' Duathlon (3 km / 40 km / 10 km) was won by Phil Dowling (2:10:09) and Peta Leach (2:36:15). Veteran performer at the Sri Chimnoy Triathlon Festival, having raced in the event for the past 22 years â Lachlan Lewis â was all smiles and waves as he finished in 3:41:50.
Mitchell Robins (20-29) announced his presence as an outstanding talent by winning the Sri Chinmoy Peace Triathlon at his first attempt, finishing in 3:53:35 after a phenomenal 1:13:13 for the 20 km run unchallenged. Chris Waterhouse was first in the 30-39 in 4:04:51. Steven Mackay won the 40-49 with 4:35:24; and Graeme Alford took the 50-59 in 4:36:32.
Christina Thorne (30-39) won the women's race in 5:13:17 from Nicolette Kenny, while Rosie Spicer (50-59) came home in 5:13:17. First team was the All-Male RMC-1 in 4:23:01, leading strong contingents from RMC and ADFA, both teams decked out in superb racing uniforms for the day.
The organisers wish to thank all who helped make this Festival such a memorable occasion: first and foremost, all the athletes whose cheerful cooperation, understanding and good sportsmanship in the face of the ongoing uncertainty with the water temperature brought everyone together with a sense of common purpose and adventure. We are most grateful to race referee Geoff Wells and his technical assistants from Triathlon ACT, including Technical Director Gai Webster whose advice on the contingencies for swimming in cool water provided the blueprint for how the events were run; to athlete Murray Bruce who interrupted his own race to assist a fallen rider (Michael Nunn) at Coppins Crossing and stayed with him until an ambulance arrived (Michael is now back at work, sore but in one piece); Bob Paunovic of ACT Traffic & Roads; the National Capital Authority; Australian Federal Police and Water Police; ACT City Ranger's Office; volunteers from the Gungahlin SES; Canberra Canoe Club; ACT Snowsports; Rotary Club of Gungahlin; the Motorcycle Riders Association; Graeme from Trophylink; Sports Medicine Australia (ACT Branch); and members of the Sri Chinmoy Centres of Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra.
The 28th Sri Chinmoy Triathlon Festival will be held two weeks later next year, in the expectation of warmer water â on the weekend of 30/31 October 2010.