Inspired by Sri Chinmoy's philosophy of self-transcendence through sports and physical fitness, the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team staged the first triathlon ever held in the ACT in January 1984.
55 athletes turned up for this inaugural event, over a course recommended by Geoff Llewellyn, who has participated in every single Sri Chinmoy Triathlon Festival staged since. There were athletes' changing rooms set up in tents between the swim and cycle legs, and bikes with shopping baskets were spotted amongst the field (no mountain bikes though â they'd scarcely been invented!) It poured with rain the whole day, and everyone swore they'd be back for another crack the following year.
Now, 30 Sri Chinmoy Triathlon Festivals later (there was one year with two, when the event was switched from February to November), we're still returning each year to Yarralumla Bay, a venue so sublime one feels one's spirit nourished by a glimpse of the place.
SRI CHINMOY JUNIOR JOYATHON
The first event of the Festival always sets the scene with a burst of life and enthusiasm â the Sri Chinmoy Junior Joyathon (80 m / 3.5 km / 800 m) is a stage for all the exuberance, excitement, nervousness and sheer boundless energy of children, reminding us all of the reasons for participation in the first place.
William Burns took the outright win and first in the Boys 11-12 with a fine 12:34, from Lachlan Peadon and Robin Hodda. Oscar Chamberlain started a rewarding day out for his family by winning the Boys Under 9s in 14:50 from Rory Nicoll (who later backed up in the Open Joyathon) and Gabe Gerebtzoff. The Boys 9-10 was won by Angus Truman in 14:31 from Jordan Gibbons and Nayden Ilic.
Chelsea Chamberlain won the Girls 11-12 and the race outright in 15:37 from Sarah Haines and Robyn Merrett. Laura Burns took out the Girls Under 9s in 17:18 from Annabelle Lowrey and Erin Howie; Mia Champberlain led home the Girls 9-10 in 17:04 from Eliza James and Layla Rowntree.
First placed All-Male Team was the "Hawks", combining Aiden Dooley, Jordan Wilson and Jake Thorpe.
SRI CHINMOY JOYATHON (OPEN)
Just one hour after the kids' event, the Sri Chinmoy Joyathon (200 m / 7 km / 2 km)has become a traditional exhibition hit-out for ACT's best Juniors â and this year's race was no exception.
John Ashleigh (Boys Under 17 â 20:08) and Bridget Reilly (Girls Under 17 â 22:48) totally dominated their respective races. Corey Benham (22:04) and Kieran Reilly (22:45) made up the podium placings in both the overall and Boys Under 17s.
Ayla Rudgley just made it into the Women 17-49s, winning that category and taking second overall in 23:25, ahead of Ellie Hoitink (24:02) and Ashley Bleakley (24:07) who completed the Girls Under 17s top 3. Splitting these two girls was 1st placed Male 17-49, Tom Styman in 24:03. First Woman 50+ was Beverley Sims in 35:27; while Stuart Miller took out the Men 50+ category in 27:07.
The Mixed Team category was won by the "Magnum Classics" (Annika, Sue and Brendan) in 30:03.
SRI CHINMOY SPRINT TRIATHLON
Saturday afternoon's Sri Chinmoy Sprint Triathlon (500 m / 21 km / 5 km) was a stage for rising stars and returning beacons of a thriving local triathlon scene. Nicholls boy Jack Bigmore (Male Under 20) won the race outright in 57:32 â nearly 3 minutes ahead of his nearest rival â with a superb performance set up by a commanding swim/bike combination. Rowan Beggs-French, who started his triathlon career here before a move to Sydney this year and is coming back from a long injury lay-off, led home the Male 20-29s in 1:00:17, a mere 13 seconds ahead of Luke Schofield from Isaacs.
Ross Blake from Campbell, who first raced this event when he was 14, returned for the 30th Festival to take out the Men 30-39 with an excellent 1:02:41; while Tim Calver of London Circuit also made a triumphant return to win the Men 40-49 in 1:03:38. Special mention in this category to 3rd place Shane Rattenbury of Braddon who, despite severe lack of training due to the rigours of an election campaign and subsequent negotiations to form a new government for the ACT, still managed 11th outright with an outstanding 1:06:53.
1st place in the Men 50-59 came from Chapman with Geoff Hawke continuing his fine form with 1:07:13. Jim Williams from Balgownie was the only non-local to take out a category, winning the Men 60-69 in 1:09:28; though Geoff Llewellyn of Latham â the only participant to take part in every single Sri Chinmoy Triathlon Festival since the very first â took out the Men 70+ with 1:46:06 and of course the ever-green Rad Leovic of Phillip the Men 80+ in 2:13:19.
The women's race was also led by the rising stars with Hannah McClusky (Women Under 20) of Aranda taking the outright win in 1:09:00 after coming from behind and out-running fellow Under 20s Brooke James of Jerrabomberra who finished in 1:10:57 after dominating the swim and holding her own on the bike.
Alexandra Apse of Canberra took out the Women 20-29 in 1:16:39; and Celina Miller of Aranda the Women 30-39 in 1:17:54. One of the best performances of the day came from Women 40-49 winner, Beth Bowen from Kambah in at outstanding 1:13:05. Ceinwyn Whittaker of Macquarie won the Women 50-59 in 1:21:51; and Merilyn Bassett of Hughes the Women 60-69 in 1:41:57.
Among the Teams, first All-Female Team were "The Nana's" in 1:24:40; first All-Male Team "Plod" in 1:15:59 and first Mixed Team "Hamstrung" with 1:17:42.
After three shorter and intense races, it was time for all involved â competitors and helpers alike â to take a breather, enjoy a meal and a good night's sleep in preparation for the Festival's finaleâ¦
SRI CHINMOY 'CLASSIC' TRI
In the absence of the Sri Chinmoy Peace Triathlon this year, the Sri Chinmoy 'Classic' Tri (1.5 km / 42 km / 10 km) took centre stage on Sunday morning as the premiere race of the Festival. Major road works along Urriara Rd and Cotter Rd forced a reduction of the bike leg to two laps of the Sprint Triathlon's 21 km course, meaning the final distance was 42 km for the 'Classic' riders.
An overcast morning dawned with the prospect of a few showers which in the end never arrived, leaving pleasant conditions for racing and spectating alike.
The men's race was a battle of the Jones' â Harry Jones of Port Macquarie led the field from the water and also ran the fastest run split (by over a minute) over the challenging 10 km loop, and his 2:10:45 won him the Men 20-29 category â but a much faster bike split gave local Guy Jones the outright win (and Men 30-39) with an exceptional 2:05:13. Curiously, there were two more Jones' in the men's field, both Bretts â and though they came from different states and different age groups, they came out of the water within 2 seconds of each other and finished the race in 21st and 22nd respectivelyâ¦
Rowan Beggs-French took 3rd outright in 2:13:03 to complete a satisfying comeback to racing after his 2nd placing in the Sri Chinmoy Sprint Triathlon the evening before. Julian Siebrand was fastest in the Men 40-49 with 2:16:10, only 20 seconds ahead of Adrian Moy; while the Men 50-59s finish was event closer, with Greg Douglass from Pitt Town (2:33:22) just shading local Brian Weiss' 2:33:32. Bob Harlow was dominant in the Men 60-69 with 2:58:10; while Bernie Crowe (3:58:39) outdid eternal favourite Lachlan Lewis in the Men 70+, despite Lachlan's brave comeback in the run leg.
Anna Bewley from Boorowa, being the only entrant in the Women Under 20s, always had the win in that category sewn up. Yet not content with that, she finished 3 minutes clear of the field to claim the overall title in 2:28:14. Next home was Gwendoline Moussot of Potts Point, taking out the Women 30-39 in 2:31:11; from Alexandra Rudge in 2:34:18. Micarla Sexton with 2:35:52 took out the Women 20-29. Michelle Burns' cycling strength set up a victory in the Women 40-49 with 2:41:13; with Denise Crook showing wonderful determination and resilience to take out the Women 50-59 in 4:18:25.
First All-Male Team was the "Budgewoi Bandits" in 2:20:29; first All-Female Team "CHS" in 3:04:41; and winner of the Mixed Team category "2 Bilbys + 1" in 2:30:35.
Full results for all races â including all split times, both overall and by category â are now published, along with a photo album from around the transition and finish area.