THE SOLO ATHLETES
Adam Rudgley entered this year’s Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon with the goal to lower the Solo Male course record. Notwithstanding that he had to bike an extra 3km after the last-minute course change to the 1st swim leg; putting aside the horrendous conditions that 25-year veterans of the Triple-Tri described as the worst ever encountered in this race and almost caused the cancellation of several legs if not the whole event; oblivious to his almost-4 hour lead on his nearest rival in the field…
… at the start of the final run leg, Adam would have known that he would need to run a full 6 minutes faster over that challenging 13 km than any solo athlete has ever managed – surely an impossible task – and still he went for it. As the kms clicked by and the goal dissolved in the rain and flew away in the wind, with a body and mind aching from over 10 hours of utter exertion and legs screaming to ease the pace, he pressed on harder, all the way to the line. That he missed his goal by a mere 3 minutes, yet shattered the record for the final run leg (now 1:06:51) in his dauntless quest are mere facts, footnotes to a truly heroic performance of jaw-dropping athletic prowess, unwavering mental strength and fire-pure courage. 10:24:19!
Enjoying a 30-minute head start on the relay teams, solo athletes usually start being passed by teams towards the end of the 1st bike and during the Mt Majura – Mt Ainslie run leg. Unbelievably, Adam was not passed by the fastest team until midway through the Mt Stromlo bike leg, and no-one else caught him until the final run over Red Hill!
We sincerely hope Adam will return to race again when the course is not unduly extended and the weather less hostile. In a lovely coincidence, the holder of the legendary Solo Male record, Rowan Beggs-French (10:21:10 from 2017), was running two of the run legs for the T9 Mixed-winning “Fireflies” team and got to run with Adam for a while during the race. At the finish, Rowan stated his belief that Adam’s effort today would have earned him a sub-10 hour time under ‘normal’ conditions.
Each of the other solo finishers deserves a song in his honour, praising the unique attributes and qualities that enabled him to reach that fabled finish line on what was outwardly a wretched day, yet inwardly a stage of utmost glory. Paul Amidy (14:17:55) and Joseph Walshe (14:54:05) filled out the Solo Male Under 50 podium placings – both utterly exhausted yet rightly supremely satisfied with their efforts.
Trevor Fairhurst has won this race solo more times than any other – 5 times – and now adds the Solo Male 50 and Over title to his peerless Triple-Tri resumé. On paper, Trevor’s time of 14:26:45 doesn’t tell any part of the true story of this monumental achievement. Ross Beatty (15:09:43) – a 5-time finisher of the race – was thrilled to beat his own time from his first Triple-Tri finish, 21 years earlier; while Craig Johnston (15:19:37) finished strongly to notch another superb achievement. Notably, as many over 50 finished, as under 50.
In the battlefield which was today, it was inevitable some would be forced to withdraw from the fray in the course of the day. Each did the right and wise thing when confronted with such an irrevocable STOP sign – and each knows, that the field will be re-set, and the bugle will sound once more in the pre-dawn glow, 12 months hence…
THE TEAMS OF 3
The teams of 3 traditionally see the fastest and fiercest racing of the Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon, with several teams etching legends spanning decades of high-octane competition. Callum McClusky, Conor Sproule and Nuru Somi banded together to bring a new combination and fire a new name into the Triple-Tri firmament – their “T3C Dream Team” living up to their moniker with an outstanding, lead-from-the-front showing of 9:13:48, taking line honours and 1st place in the T3 Open division. Dave Osmond – who famously completed all 60 bike legs of the first 20 Triple-Triathlons – showed his versatility and completed 3 legs without getting on a bike today (2 runs and one swim), leading his revamped “Stuff the Puffs” (with Ben Buchler and Adrian Sheppard) to 2nd in the T3 Open with 10:06:57; ahead of 3rd placed “3 Amigos” (Mark Mallinson, Anthony Butt and Tom Allen) with 11:36:15. “The Margaritas” (Damien McDonald, Martyn Dawson and Piera Kohout) competed in the T3 Open All-Over 50 – though they could have entered the Mixed category with Piera completing all 3 running legs – and took out the main prize with an impressive 13:47:03.
The only All-Female team of 3 happened to be all over 50, and duly won that category: “Too old for new tricks” saw Bron Adams melding with Kerrie Muir and Beth Bowen, displaying a fantastic attitude and example to all throughout the day. Although they were the only team in their category it’s hard to imagine any other ensemble challenging their outstanding finish of 13:14:18.
The Mixed Teams of 3 were led home by “ARA” (Ashleigh Webb, Raymond McAleer and Alexander Carrick) in 11:18:27. 2nd place went to “16s” (Molly Lilley, Josh Kluth and Jacob Miller), in 12:16:55; while 3rd was taken by “S.A.M.” (Stuart Godley, Andy Bodsworth and Marnie Shaw) with 12:22:20.
THE TEAMS OF 4-9
The most competitive racing of today came in the Mixed Teams of 4-9. Losing their runner the day before the race, and switching from T3 to T9 proved no setback for “Fireflies” (Felicity Roantree, Steve Fitchett linking up with newly conscripted runners Paul Cuthbert and Rowan Begs-French), taking the main T9 Mixed prize and 2nd-across-the-line overall in 9:49:52. Next home were the impressive “JTM Team 1” (Jordynne Rauter, Oscar Starmer, Tom Driscoll, Josephine Pepper, Grave Hoitink, Myles Wood, Matthew Millikin, Jarrod Osborne and Andrew Walton) in 10:05:49; ahead of a fine showing from “The 5 appendages” (Perry Blackmore, Claire Aubrey, Travis Ey, Richard Smyth and Emily Stacey) in 10:26:10. A few years ahead on the dial, “GO GOs get some guys” saw our favourite all-female ensemble, the “Go-Go Girls” finally allowed 2 male members into their exclusive club – Elspeth Nichols, David Baussman, Pam Muston, George Kubitzky, Clare Wall, Belinda Robinson and Sue Archer winning the T9 Mixed All Over 60s, and breaking the 14-hour barrier in the process, with a superb 13:59:59!
“Devils” were too hot in the All-Female Teams of 4-9, the collection of Meredith Bone, Olivia Martin, Allie Corripio, Elizabeth Mutton, Emma De Kiefte, Ally Durr and Lauren Yee winning in 12:17:56. The 2nd place award was presented to “30 percent less pay 130 percent more ability” (Becky Rogers, Chantelle Bertoldo, Ainsley Pahljina, Liv Toomey, Ebony Tanzen, Mirella Carr, Hannah Maree, Emma Ferguson and Ellie Barr) – even though the team shows up as “DNC” (did not complete) in the published results, this was because their rider on MTB3, Emma Ferguson stopped to render assistance to another rider who had crashed on the course, actions which the organisers felt did not warrant an official DNQ and deserved the recognition of the 2nd placing the team would certainly otherwise have claimed; while 3rd was claimed by “No Nuts Just Guts” (Virginia Lindenmayer, Sophie Clement, Caitlin Flux, Prudence Guest, Taisa Vieira, Samantha Shields, Catherine Spratley, Carol Hartley and Bridget Quayle) in 14:30:14. The All-Female T4-9 All Over 50 was taken out by “Purple Jelly” (Polly Templeton, Simone Annis, Judy Gebhart, Rosemary Robinson, Elizabeth Lowe, Cat Riley, Geraldine Cusack and Sue Duckett) with 15:48:11.
The Open Teams of 4-9 saw another superb all-round effort from one of the most consistently high performing teams in Triple-Tri history, the Goulburn gang of “Giant 400 Woodys 4Pete” (Rod Smith, Michael Beard, Nathan Frazer, Andrew Dawes, Andrew Oberg, Jaemin Frazer, Lori McWhirter, Rod McWhirter and Stefan Hese) taking out the main prize in 10:31:59. 2nd place went to “Team Keeping It Real” (Janelle Ahern, Josh Wilkinson, Alexander Bowyer, Pete Quinn, Michael Olsen, Steve Roberton, Anthony Ansen and Ben Roberton) in 10:57:19; just edging out 3rd placed “”JTM Team 2” (Alexandra Apse, Jason Flanagan, Jarrod Osbourne, Joseph Pascali, Douglas Wynne, Rob Moore, Steve Croft and Olivia Sutton) with a fine 10:58:26.
In the T4-9 Open All Over 50s, “Cruis’n” (Scott McClymont, Marty McGready, Geoff Hawke, Peter Thorley, John Cartwright, Terry Dixon, Frank Zeller and Jeff Grey) lived up to their name to take the title with an impressive 11:36:40; from their contenders, “Buzz Lightyears O’50s” (Mark Stutchbury, Kerry Baxter, Brett Storrier, Rod Smith, Ted Goad, Andrew Dawes, Geoffrey McMahon and Melinda Goad) clocking in at 12:05:27. “The Ancient Mariners” (Alex Gosman, Peter Igoe-Taylor, Trevor Jacobs, David Clarke and Kim Houghton) showed many a younger team a clean pair of heels in waltzing away with the T4-9 All Over 60s title in 12:55:43.
As an indication of how tough the conditions were: in 25 years, this is the first edition of the race in which no overall record was broken in any team category or division. Special mention though, to Zoe Clarke who ignored the wind and rain to break the record for a female in a team for the final run leg, setting a new best time of 54:25 for “Astral by 3TC”.
We’ve saved particular mention of the weather till last – for while the wind, rain and unrelenting cold (even some sleet) set a dismal stage, it was not allowed to write the script or dictate the plot. While the weather made this an event none of us will forget in a hurry, it could not have the final say on the day. The final say came from within; the final say came from the overwhelming determination, courage and fortitude of all participants, volunteers and supporters to proceed with cheerful willpower in the face of whatever obstacles and setbacks appeared along the way.
Our congratulations to all participants, and gratitude to all the many helpers, volunteers, supporters and well-wishers. Special thanks to Peter Simpfendorfer and Petra Lean from Triathlon ACT; to Rebekah Stamatis and her assistants for medical support; to staff and officers from the ACT Government and NCA; to paddlers from Canberra Canoe Club and on-water support from YMCA Sailing Club; and to members of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team from the UK, Mongolia, New Zealand and Australia.