The Sri Chinmoy Googong Challange Report 2007
The Sri Chinmoy Googong Challenge is a rare race: an unusual combination of disciplines - running, paddling and mountain biking - in an unusual setting - starting in a car park, paddling in a water supply reservoir, biking through terrain at once spectacular and torturous, running over a geological oddity and finishing beside an unused woolshed...
It is an event perhaps never destined for mass appeal but savoured nonetheless by a select band of appreciative aficionados.
The long course race is quickly becoming the property of Julie Quinn. Her record now stands at 3 starts, 3 wins, one course record and the fastest split times for both runs and the bike leg. Her time for the paddle portion was only bested by Danielle Winslow by one second. Julie again expressed her delight with the course, particularly the hills on the southern loop of the bike course where grown men have been known to cry, and certainly crawl.
The men's long course race saw the consistently excellent Mark McDonald (pictured, right) finish full of running to score a convincing win from Jacob Schol of Nowra. Defending champ David Baldwin overcame a 25-minute break with severe cramps in the first run which would have forced the withdrawal of many a pretender. He then paddled well before turning up the heat with the day's fastest mountain bike split and stormed home only seconds adrift of partner Julie Quinn and the much relieved Steven Hanley.
Racing in the over 50's division, Paul Bruce from Berrima had set the race alight with an all-comers' record in the first run before being stymied by gearing problems on the mountain bike, but still managed to hew nearly 90 minutes off the previous over 50's course record.
The only team to finish before Mark McDonald was "Team Knuckles" of Cameron O'Neill and Wilf Finn who took out the all-male team's division.
The short course race hosted the first solo female entrants in its 3 year history, with Petra Crowe cruising to victory and a new course record on the back of her day's-fastest bike and run splits. Despite Liz Eaton setting the fastest paddle time, Heather Stoll's allround consistency earned her 2nd with Liz claiming the remaining podium spot.
Last year's men's short-course winner Al Boyle (pictured, left) drove from Wollongong on the morning. After giving up over a minute in the first run and a further minute in the paddle leg to the classy Tim Calver, Al then dug deep to pull out a new course record bike split to set up a gutsy come-from-behind victory.
Father-and-son team Rod and Jason Harrod completed the whole race together, including paddling tandem, while the "Soup-a-Stars" took out the mixed team division uncontested.