Triple-Tri Race Report
The Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon is a portrait of life: a journey; an adventure; a story; a commitment; a passion; a quest. It is pursued alone and in concert with friends and colleagues. It demands discipline, faith, love, even devotion. It offers exquisite joy and abysmal despair; engages our body, vital energy, emotional, mental and spiritual powers in their full array. It doesn’t teach us about life – it is life.
The 18th Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon was staged in and around Canberra on Sunday the 15th of November 2015. Effectively, this was a postponement of the 2014 event, which had been cancelled by the ACT Government the day before it was due to be held, due to the high possibility of a Total Fire Ban forcing the closure of Canberra Nature Park to all events. That day it had been 39 degrees with strong scorching winds – today was 22 degrees with a light breeze and soothing cloud cover. For those who waited patiently a full year and more for this race, the day itself was sumptuous reward.
The day was just asking for records, and our athletes didn’t disappoint.
Due to the amended courses used for the 1st and 3rd swims, the times set for these courses have not been recognised as official records. However, the overall course records are recognised, as the 1st and 3rd mountain bike legs were both longer this year, due to the changes in the swim legs.
Among the solo athletes, the record for the Male Over 50s now belongs to the astonishingly cheerful Geoff Breese from Wagga Wagga, who is smiling broadly in every photo taken of him over the entire course. Geoff returned 13:06:53 for his first attempt at the distance, and only raced solo because he couldn’t persuade enough friends to join him to make up a team!
Rose McGready, Amanda Nott and Elizabeth Bennett teamed up as the “Nifty Fifties” and proved themselves nifty indeed, taking out the T3 All-Female All Over 50 record with an outstanding 13:06:54.
A decade ahead, “The Tearaways” proved the darlings of the Awards Ceremony by setting a high mark for the T9 All-Female All Over 60 with 13:47:58 – comprising Lindy Dunn, Kay Pendlebury, Carol Baird, Brenda Day, Rae Palmer, Cathy Montalto, Ann Ingwersen and Liz Thompson. These ladies set about the course with unbounded enthusiasm, indomitable determination and engaging grace – always a winning combination!
At the pointy end of the field, “Under the Radar” raced very much above the radar the whole day, almost becoming the first ever Mixed Team to take line honours, only missing that distinction by 51 seconds to the all-star “Onya / PTC” outfit (of whom more later). In any case, “Under the Radar” – under the tutelage of Triple-Tri aficionado Peter Klein – established a slick new time for T9 Mixed of 8:28:17, a fine effort for the ensemble of Emma Gillingham, Matt McAuliffe, Craig Benson, David Medlock, Jasen Higuchi, Isabella Marinelli, Jason Klein and Martin Dent.
Although Rad Leovic had previously fielded Open Teams all over 50 and even all over 70, this was the first time a team of All Over 60 had participated – “Rad’s Rattlers” duly set a new course record for this category of 14:15:47. Mighty congratulations to John Kennedy, Geoff Barker, Peter Clarke, Geoff Llewellyn, Hugh Crawley, Mick Saunders, David Baussmann, Chris Lang and Jim White, whose average age is 69!
Special mention and accolades for Emma Gillingham (19:17 in Swim 1) and Isabella Marinelli (15:18 in Swim 3) – both of whom would have had course records had the traditional courses for these legs been in use …
THE FINEST LEG
The stand-out single leg performance of the day was a master-class in speed and form presented by the phenomenal Martin Dent, whose 44:45 for the final 13km run leg over Red Hill, eclipsed the old best time over this leg by a full 4 minutes and 15 seconds! Had the leg been another 2 km, his team might just have pulled off the ultimate prize …
Rowan Beggs-French has won this event previously in 2011, when he was training heavily and supposedly in his prime. Now a father with less time on his hands, he nevertheless led from the literal word “Go!” and never looked back, powering home over the last triathlon to win in an outstanding 11:26:02, eclipsing his previous winning time by half an hour. Rowan is a true champion in every respect, showering his appreciation and gratitude on all his fellow competitors, officials and helpers and positively radiating at the finish line.
Every solo finisher deserves acclaim, for to even dream of completing this truly gruelling event is a significant life accomplishment. Warren Evans took 2nd in 12:07:49; Cameron Darragh not far behind and completing the podium placings with 12:13:15. Multiple-time team entrant, Tim Shillington finished his first solo attempt in fine style to come in under the 13 hour mark in 12:58:42. Wes Fraser cruised home in 13:16:05; and Paul Jeffery gutsed it out to finish bravely in the dark in 16:04:01.
Sharing the Male Over 50s with winner Geoff Breese, were return entrant Marty McGready, who obliterated painful memories of a technical DQ at this race a few years back, in the best way possible, scaling his personal Mt Everest of the Triple-Tri in a complete, controlled and compelling performance of 13:27:32. Ross Beatty came back from the disappointment of last year’s cancelled event, when he was trained, primed and ready to fire, to finish gloriously and with a smile, in 14:00:13.
A notable absence this year were the Solo Females – we look forward to ladies lining the shore of Lake Ginninderra in 2016 …
THE TEAMS OF 3
Competition in the Teams of 3 was slightly overshadowed this year by the ding-dong battle in the T9s at the front of the field, yet some truly top-class performances were returned by “HMAS Friendship” (Murray Robertson, Edmund Hall and Tom Brazier), winning the T3 Open in 9:08:51 from “Stuff the Puffs” (John Fleming, Dave Osmond and Matthew Crane) in 9:18:10. Salutations to the amazing Dave Osmond, who has now completed every single one of the 54 bike legs staged in the history of this race!
“Floored Logic” (Grant Prowse, Mathew Nott and Peter Haggar) took out the T3 Open All Over 50 in 11:40:55; while “Nifty Fifty” T3 All-Female All Over 50’s record is mentioned above.
“Tropical Tango” (Cid Mateo, Cristy Henderson and Steve Fitchett) were solid winners of the T3 Mixed in 10:21:04 from “Meat and 2 Veg” (Chaitanya Oehmigar, Michael Lyas and Daniel Oehm) in 10:43:28.
THE TEAMS OF 4-9
Although racing in different categories, the race between “Onya / PTC” (Callum McClusky, Brad Morton, Robbie Skillman, Nuru Somi, Bob Mathieson, Adam Ridgley and Griffin Layton-Scheld) and “Under the Radar” (listed above) proved edge-of-the-seat stuff throughout the day. It was a sight to behold their two runners flying up Mt Taylor as though they were running on flat ground, shoulder to shoulder. At the end of the 3rd swim in the pool at Tuggeranong, only 2 seconds separated them. ”Onya / PTC” took the glory of line honours – along with victory in the prestigious T9 Open category – in 8:27:26.
Second in this category saw a transcendent effort from one of our favourite teams, Goulburn outfit “Giant 440 Woody’s #4Pete” – racing this year for the first time since long-time team stalwart Peter Oberg passed away. Their finishing time of 9:47:33 would surely have made Pete mighty proud of his team …
The “Old Hacks” (Alex Gosman, Graeme Allbon, Simon Claringbold, Mike McGurgan, Peter James, Terry Dixon and Peter Klein) took away the T9 Open All Over 50 prize with 10:04:00; while “Rad’s Rattlers” are listed above among the course records section for this efforts in the T9 Open All Over 60.
“PTC Ladies” (sisters Eilliee, Suzie and Grace Hoitink, accompanied by Jennifer Davis, Angela Ballerini, Kym Ireland and Natalie Wood) were convincing winners of the T9 All-Female division with a fine 10:43:07. The now-famous “Tearaways” are mentioned above for their stellar return in the T9 All-Female All Over 60, and “Under the Radar” are also credited above for their win – and course record – in the T9 Mixed division.
A photo album from around the course is now published. The 2016 Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon is scheduled to be staged in and around Canberra on Sunday the 20th of November.