Given the potential for freezing cold conditions in July in Canberra, today was remarkably mild and much appreciated by all participants and helpers in the 15th annual Sri Chinmoy Off-Road Duathlons. Overnight rain also softened the parched ground, making for excellent riding while freshening the forest to present a soothing welcome for all who were out and about.
Star performance of the day came from Michelle Cooper, who set a new Female course record in the Long Course race of 1:57:24, only one year after the 2 hour barrier was broken for the first time. Michelle’s victory was established by her dominant new bike course record of 1:05:01. Husband Dylan Cooper also produced the second fastest time ever recorded for the Males – though his 1:40:00 didn’t quite match his own record from 2 years ago.
Following Michelle were Jennifer Davis with 2:06:46 and Alice Patterson-Robert in 2:13:50 to complete the minor placings. Dylan meanwhile was shadowed through the first two legs of the race by his friend Rowan Beggs-French, who clocked a fantastic 1:41:30 of his own. David Hardwicke came in 3rd with an impressive 1:47:37. Tony Williams took out the Males 50-59 with 2:06:37; and David Alder the Males 60 and Over in 2:30:40, including bettering his own age group record for the 1st run leg with a new time of 13:02.
Dave Osborne and Elizabeth Humphries are the most-trophied athletes in the history of this event, and this year they paired up to break their own 8-year old course record for Mixed Teams. Their new mark of 1:45:43 included Elizabeth recording new fastest times for both run legs, of 10:51 and 37:29 respectively. "Susie and Claire" took out the All-Female Teams in 2:09:39; while “Fat Boy and the Chump” were victorious in the All-Male Teams with a cool 1:57:18.
David Simpfendorfer was too fast in the first two legs of the Short Course race to be challenged, winning in 36:21 from Guy Jones returning from injury with 37:52 and Steven Sibraa in 39:32; while Geoff Ives took out the Male 50 and Over with 44:08. Narelle Desmet’s superior running strength enabled her to win the Female Short Course race in 44:18 from Jacqui Oberg’s excellent 45:09; while Razz Morgan won the Female 50 and Over in 59:22.
Thea and Sam of “Hard to See” set a new course record for All-Female Teams in the Short Course race with their time of 39:31, including a new bike course best time of 22:17. Verona and Simon of “Mittagong ninjas” sweet all before them in the Mixed Team category to win in 44:36.
One of the risks associated with an off-road event in an urban nature park, is that course signage is sometimes removed by pranksters or walkers who would rather not share the space with such organised events. Unfortunately this proved the case today, when a section of course-marking ribbon along the Black Mountain Summit Loop was removed in the hour before the race, resulting in some disorientation at a 4-way intersection leading to a few runners taking a short-cut home on the final run. While none of the major placings were effected, we applaud in particular Aaron Royall, who upon realising his error when he crossed the finish line, immediately retraced his steps up Black Mountain to complete the full and correct course, an addition of several kilometres and a whopping hill!