The 14th annual Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon was staged in and around Canberra on Sunday 21 November 2010.
The "Triple-Tri" is an event like no other – a continuous 9-leg, 150-kilometre course winding its way through lakes and bushland, mostly within the urban confines of Australia's capital city.
12 intrepid solo athletes lined up for the start at Lake Ginninderra at 5.30 am on a clear, still morning, followed 30 minutes later by 96 relay teams. The first 1.5 km swim leg was followed in rapid succession by a 35 km mountain bike over Black Mountain, Bruce and O'Connor Ridges; 20 km mountain run over Mts Majura and Ainslie; 3.5 km swim in Lake Burley Griffin; 40 km mountain bike over Dairy Farmers Hill, Mt Stromlo and along Cooleman Ridge; 12 km run over Mt Taylor; 1.2 km swim in Lake Tuggeranong; 24 km mountain bike over Mt Wanniassa, Farrer and Isaacs Ridges; concluding with a 13 km run over Red Hill to the finish at Yarralumla Bay.
Weather-wise, Canberra provided one the best days ever in the history of the Triple-Tri - sunny and 25 degrees with no rain. Yet there were plenty of muddy and soggy patches on the mountain bike courses to offer some extra challenges. Views from the many summits along the course revealed the greenest Canberra has been seen in decades, with grass up to head-height in some places.
A tremendous spirit prevailed amongst all participants throughout a truly enjoyable and memorable day, finished off in the dark with a heart-warming awards ceremony as the final soloists closed in on the finish.
Champion of the day was 5th-time winner, Trevor Fairhurst, his 12:09:27 remarkably close to his predicted finishing time. Having missed the race in 2009, and with a young family naturally occupying more of his time, Trevor now plans to race the Triple-Tri every other year. Trevor paid special tribute to his eventual runner-up, Daryn James (12:16:10), who lead Trevor by up to 7 minutes at various stages. It was not until the long mountain bike haul over Mt Stromlo that Trevor really put his stamp on the race, while his split times for the 2nd and 3rd runs were the fastest out of all the soloists.
Gary Rolfe improved his best placing by one spot – from 4th to 3rd overall with his 12:37:27, while 4th-placed Sean King showed the way with his mountain biking prowess, finishing his second Triple-Tri in 12:46:39. John Power lead the race in the early legs and finished gamely in 12:55:50; while race veteran Peter Young came in just after the 13 hour mark in 13:01:46. Other finishers were Anthony Plater (14:30:30); Lee Rice (15:17:03); Luke Kay (15:22:39); and the final - yet one of the happiest finishers – Jeremy Reading, crossing the line in 16:14:32.
Paul McGlynn was racing the Triple-Tri for the first time. His goal: to break Peter Macartney's long-standing record for Solo Male 50+. Only in the final run was Paul finally assured of achieving his goal, coming in just under Peter's time in a new course record of 13:44:24. Congratulations, Paul!
Fastest team on the day was – unsurprisingly – Luke Grattan's all-star team comprising Ivar Nell, Gary Scheld, James Minto, Michael Gosman, Mark Tupalski, Nick Walshe, Luke Grattan and David Hutchinson – now with a sponsor's name attached. "The Runners Shop Team" crossed the line in a fantastic 8:39:38, with only a skeleton timing crew for company at the finish line.
In the Open Team of 9 (All Over 50), Peter Klein's team of "Old Hacks" (Steve Meredith, Nathan Caroll, Geoff Hawke, Stu Fitch, Simon Claringbold, Rico Fitch and Peter Klein) set a new course record for their category with their mightily impressive 10:25:01. Meanwhile, a new category was created (and of course a new best time established) for an Open Team of 9 (All Over 65) with "Rad's Rusties" (Geoff Llewellyn, Clive Glover, Ray Bramwell, Rad Leovic and Geoff Barker) finishing in 15:02:35. The irrepressible Rad Leovic (83-years young!) not only participated in his own winning team, he also managed 4 other teams on the day, keeping tabs on over 30 athletes in his charge throughout the long and arduous event.
This year's outstanding Female Team of 9 were "Team Ananke" (Hayley Gosman, Sam Reinhardt, Annette Braagaard, Jessica Baird, Julia Graczyk, Stephanie Pfohl, Rachel McGahey, Anne Napier and Jess O'Brien), finishing in a fine 11:41:21; though not far behind came the famous "GoGo Girls 50+". With a few regular members including her redoubtable sisters away on other duties, Peggy Douglass still managed to field a truly champion team comprising Jane McCullam, Adair Ferguson, Cathy Crompton, Brenda Day, Peggy Douglass, Robyn McLelland, Jose Stockman and Clare Wall, to stop the clock in 12:18:39 – inspirational!
The Mixed Team of 9 category saw the flamboyant 4-person "VO3Max" team of Morgan Skillman, Gerard Tiffen, Marty Moose and Jeremy Gillman-Wells almost shake the 10-hour barrier in 10:04:22. Look out for the team's video release of their race, coming soon!
The Open Teams of 3 is traditionally the most hotly contested competition within the pantheon of races-within-a-race which makes up the Triple-Tri. This year it was perennial favourites "Stuff the Puffs" – minus injured long-time team runner Trevor Jacobs who was replaced for the day by Stuart Doyle – taking the prized title in 8:44:47. As is his custom, Dave Osmond (the only athlete to have participated in every single Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon since the year dot) turned in the fastest leg time for 2 of the 3 bike legs, while John Fleming produced not only 2 of the fastest swims but also the fastest final run for his division, reaping the benefits of a renewed commitment to his running career. Great competitors, "Out of Puffs" (Anthony Millgate, Adrian Sheppard and Vince Craig) were not far behind the "Stuffs" in 8:58:48.
The All-Over 50 Open Team of William Wilson, Guy Manera and Peter Burn ("Pushing the Envelope") returned another fine performance to take the category they have made their own, in 12:43:45.
Full results – both overall and by division and category – are published, along with our largest ever photo album from the race.
The 15th Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon will be staged on Sunday 20 November in 2011.