Whoa! We may have seen a smaller-than-usual field today due to various social restrictions presently in place, however the quality of the field – like thick, rich cream – was condensed and even elevated within the more intimate setting. The intensity of racing in the Long Course event in particular, was of the highest order, producing a record crop of outstanding course records on a day when Australia collected a record 4 gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics.
In a day of head-turning performances, the most phenomenal was surely Margaret Hemsley, who smashed a famous 12-year-old course record for the Female 50-59 category, her amazing time of 1:57:45 placing her 2nd fastest female ever, behind only the stellar Penny Slater. Margaret’s split times (1st run 12:13; bike 1:10:48; 2nd run 34:44) were of course each new best times as well.
In the men’s race, Ben Hill led from the front with an incredible new all-comers best time for this well-established event of 1:30:52, just 22 seconds ahead of the flying Trevor Spencer (whose final run split of 27:30 is a new course best) with 1:31:14. While it must be noted that the overall course is now faster following the shortening of the 2nd run leg last year, the quality of Ben’s win is exemplified in his lowering the long-standing bike course record set by the legendary Dylan Cooper, with a new time of 51:56 (the bike course has been unchanged through the years). Ayden Toovey in 3rd place with 1:32:58, was also inside the previous record time.
Adrian Sheppard followed suit to break his own M50-59 record with a sensational 1:43:29, also breaking his own best times for the bike course (now a sizzling 59:48) and final run (32:15) in the process; winning his category from Mark Duncanson (2:05:16) and 3rd placed Darren Blackhurst (2:08:09). Meanwhile the remarkably consistent Trevor Jacobs, who at one time held the record for the M50+ and still holds the M60+ standard, stepped up to a new category and established a debut record for the M70+ with 2:22:25.
The women’s race (under 50) was won by Matilda Stevenson in 2:16:10, with Mathilde Batailler following in 2nd place with 2:20:26 from 3rd placed Lucy Skeldon’s 2:26:37. Analise Arnold gets the award for most patient competitor of the day, for ‘enjoying’ the course for the longest time, in 3:42:16.
Outright winner in the Short Course race came from the Male 50 and Over category, with Bruce Jenkins showing his younger rivals a clean pair of heels to take out the race in a fine 40:32. Next home came Cameron Pensini, taking out the Male Under 50s, from Justin Hayden’s 41:59 and Robert Berrell with 42:51. 2nd M50+ was Kim Houghton in 43:04, from Geoff Ives’ 46:51.
Samantha Morley was fastest among the Female Under 50, her 46:41 just edging 2nd placed King Cayzer’s 46:45, with Anna De Vries taking 3rd in 55:35. Sally Thauvette was best among the F50+ with 54:58, from Razz Wilkins with 1:04:14.
Our gratitude to all who helped behind the scenes to bring this event into being – to the representatives from the Australian National Botanic Gardens, Environment ACT and Triathlon ACT; and specially to Iain Adinell and Petra Lean, technical officials, and Rebekah Stamatis, event medic.