The 28th Sri Chinmoy Triathlon Festival featured 5 races over the weekend of Saturday 30 & Sunday 31 October 2010.
Thanks to a wet winter in Canberra, the courses were at their greenest in a few decades. The grass at Yarralumla Bay was over knee height in the week leading up to the Festival â a welcome contrast to the dust-bowl of late summer a few years previously.
The water temperature in Yarralumla Bay was 19.6 degrees, making for wetsuit-optional swims in all races. Fine weather smiled on the athletes in the Sri Chinmoy Joyathons, before a downpour descended during the cycle leg of the Sri Chinmoy Sprint Triathlon on Saturday afternoon. The start of the Sri Chinmoy Peace Triathlon on Sunday morning was delayed by 23 minutes while a strong storm blew over the area. Once it passed, conditions settled nicely and the weekend finished in glorious sunshine.
The Sri Chinmoy Junior Joyathon for under 13s started proceedings on Saturday afternoon at 1 o'clock, over a course of an 800 metre swim, 3.5 km cycle and 800 metre run. Dimitri Tremopoulos was fastest boy, winning the Boys 11-12 category in 12:57, closely followed by Zachary Morgan, with Duncan Miller in 13:08 close on their heels, to take out the Boys 9-10.
Ashley Bleakley was first Girl 11-12, and 4th overall in 13:12, the fastest girl on the day by more than one minute from Rebecca Morling, who won the Girls 9-10 in 14:29. Spencer Burns was first in the Boys Under 9 in 16:18, while Mia Stewart took out the Girls Under 9 category in 18:52.
With the kids racing so energetically over such short courses, the whole event seemed a blur of activity, the scene returning to calm briefly before the larger version athletes took to the water at 2 pm in the Sri Chinmoy Joyathon - a 200 metre swim, 7 km cycle and 2 km run.
The Joyathon was dominated from the outset by the ACT Junior Triathlon squad, with boys and girls from the squad taking out 13 of the top 14 placings. Conor Sproule eased away from fellow Under 17s entrant Thomas Harrison, to win the race outright in the sensational time of 21:09. Paul Flannery was the first non-ACT Junior Rep member to appear across the line, winning the Male 17-50 category in 23:55, while Freya Aisbitt took out the Girls Under 17 race shortly after in 24:43. Megan O'Neill was first in the Women 17-50 in 29:10. Winners of the Men's and Women's 50 and Over categories were David Williams (30:15) and Jillian Wisbey (35:56) respectively.
Juniors continued their fine showing in the Sri Chinmoy Sprint Triathlon at 3.30 pm (500 metre swim, 21 km cycle and 5 km run), 15-year old Braydon Clews-Proctor shining with a superlative 58:46, almost 4 minutes ahead of the next athlete, another Male Under 20, Jack Bigmore, himself more than 2 minutes ahead of 1st placed Male 30-39, Matthew Fenech in 1:04:49. Michael Longhurst was next, taking out the Males 40-49 in 1:05:17, while first Male 20-29 was Ken Gibson in 1:09:05. Alex Gosman's 1:11:09 was the best time for Males 50-59 on the day, while Jim Williams led the way for the Males 60-69 in the great time of 1:12:00.
Jodie Barker showed how it is done for the women, taking the race in 1:09:11 to be first in the Women 30-39. Therese Hancox was best among the Female Under 20s in 1:13:56, Jacqueline McDermott leading the Females 20-29 in 1:14:47. Michelle Elmitt took out the Females 40-49 with her 1:16:26, and Robyn McLelland took the Female 50-59 category in 1:28:33.
Another Junior star, Alice Wallett had led the women from the start, blitzing the swim and cycle courses and was racing with the fastest males before inadvertently missing a turn on the run course. Despite running about an extra 4 km, Alice continued strongly to the end, setting a fine example of giving her utmost despite misfortune along the way.
Teams in triathlon are often comprised of 'social' athletes - friends who may not feel up to the entire distance themselves, getting together to complete the 3 legs by pooling their resources. Such teams usually appear around the middle of the field. The Sri Chinmoy 'Classic' Tri on Sunday morning (1.5 km swim, 40 km cycle and 10 km run) however, was dominated by some teams of serious athlete-specialists, which filled 4 of the first 6 places across the line.
First All-Male team was "OnTheGoRacing" (Hamish Wise, Nick Barnier & Chris Simms), in 2:02:13, ahead of the 1st Mixed team, "VO3 MAX" (Morgan Skillman, Gerard Tiffen & Marty Porter) in 2:08:50. The fastest All-Female team was the BG's (Kate Vandenberg, Susannah Hiron & Emma Fielder) in 2:37:40.
After the first 2 teams, next in was the first-placed solo athlete, and 1st in the Men 20-29 category, Henry Stimson in 2:14:30. Jeremy Gillman-Wells justified his decision to race by taking out the Men 30-39 and 2nd solo overall, in 2:16:31, while the 3rd solo athlete was the impressive Geoff Hawke, winning the Men 50-59 in 2:18:23. First in the Men 40-49 was Andrew Beevors in 2:19:08, while Callum MacKenzie led home the Male Under 20s in 2:35:47. Geoff Llewellyn, pioneer of this event and indeed the venue of Yarralumla Bay, who initiated the process which led to the staging of the first ever Sri Chinmoy Triathlon to be held here in 1984, returned as he has each year since, to win the Men 70 and Over category, in 3:42:08. Lachlan Lewis, another who has completed over 20 Sri Chinmoy Triathlons, overcame flat tyres to bring home the field in 5:05:05.
Natalie Wood was a clear winer in the women's race, finishing first of the Females 30-39 in 2:24:20. Alicea Heffernan took out the Female 20-29 in 2:32:13, while Jacki Hagger led home the Female 40-49s in 2:51:47.
When the early morning storm had abated somewhat on Sunday, a small field took to the water for the Sri Chinmoy Peace Triathlon - 2.2 km swim, 80 km cycle and 20 km run. Will Carroll was first out of the water and never looked back, powering on to win the event (and the Men 30-39) in 4:07:08. Nick Kastelein was 1st in the Men 40-49 in 4:26:47, while Luke Kay led in the Men 20-29 in 4:31:20. Geoff Williams led the Men 50-59 in 6:11:12.
Women's winner (and first Female 30-39) was Lavinia Gordon, ahead of 1st Female 40-49 Joanne O'Dwyer in 5:07:22 and 1st Female 50-59 Rosie Spicer, who spent the longest time on the course for her brave 6:57:37.
Jonathan Grady's team was first All-Male team in 4:44:28; "2K & S" (Sue Bowden, Kerrie Muir & Keri Vaughan) was first All-Female team in 5:09:57; while "Rossco" (Andrew Robertson & Catherine Ross) took out the Mixed Team category in 5:25:21.
Full results are available for all races of the Festival, both overall and by age category, while a photo album from the weekend is also published. The 29th Sri Chinmoy Triathlon Festival will be held at Yarralumla Bay on Saturday 29 & Sunday 30 October in 2011.