Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon
The Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon is three off-road triathlons back-to-back, an icon event celebrating the natural side of Canberra
About the event
Swim 1.5km + Mountain bike 36km + Run 18km + Swim 3.5km + Mountain bike 36km + Run 11 km + Swim 1.2km + Mountain bike 23km + Run 13km = Triple-Triathlon
The 22nd Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon will be held in and around Canberra on Sunday 17 November 2019.
The Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon is the ultimate scenic tour of our national capital, a landmark event on the national multi-sport calendar.
The race can be enjoyed by teams or solo entrants. To attempt the entire course solo is one of the toughest single-day sporting challenges imaginable. Most race in teams, tripling the enjoyment in a celebration of camaraderie, application, speed, strategy and endurance.
Earlybird online entries close at 5pm on Thursday 17 October, after which higher entry fees apply. All online entries close at 5pm on Wednesday 13 November.
See who has already entered the 22nd Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon.
- 0530 Solo athletes
- 0600 Relay Teams
- Pre 5pm Thursday 17 October: $180 Solos; $210 T3; $240 T4-9
- Post 5pm Thursday 17 October: $210 Solos; $240 T3; $270 T4-9
- Online entries close 5pm Wednesday 13 November
- Trophies for all Solo finishers
- Trophies for 1st 3 teams in each category
- Registration and briefing
- Mixed teams
- Team replacements
- Role and duty of helpers
- Race start
- Number checkpoints
- Transition compounds
- Aid stations
- Care in Nature Parks
- Course markings
- Road crossings, paths & gates
- Race rules
- Participant waivers
- Contingency plans
- Safety & emegency procedures
- Swim safety
- Course cut-off times
- Race finish, awards & results
- Course changes
- Ten highest moments
- Course records – Solo Athletes
- Course records – Relay Teams
For all pre-entered Teams and Individuals, compulsory registration will be between 2 pm and 5 pm, Saturday 16 November at "My Rainbow-Dreams" cafe in Dickson Chambers, opposite the Dickson Post Office, Dickson.
If you have made changes to the composition or order of your team, you will need to have these recorded at Registration. You will also collect race numbers and helpers' passes, get numbers written on swimmers' arms, and collect information on any last-minute course alterations.
To qualify for a Mixed Team award, at least three of the nine legs of the race must be completed by a female team member (ie three females can complete one leg each, one female can complete two legs and another can do one, or one female can complete three legs to meet the minimum requirement.)
Mixed Teams are still welcome to participate if less than three legs are completed by females, in which case they will automatically be entered in the Open Category.
Replacement of team members is allowed, provided the replacement does not alter the category of the team (ie all-female to mixed, or 3-person to 9-person etc). Replacement members must sign the original team entry form at Registration. Also at Registration, names are to be confirmed for each member doing each leg. Changes to this schedule will be permitted on the day, provided transition marshals are informed of the change in advance of the leg concerned.
Individuals- Every individual competitor must provide his or her own helper, who will be issued with an official helper's ID number at Registration. Each helper may only be responsible for one athlete. Individual's helpers may provide assistance of any kind anywhere on the course, with the exception of pacing (ie swimming, riding or running with the athlete for more than 30 seconds), or physically assisting the athlete to move in a forward direction (ie pushing, holding or towing the athlete). Helpers may row or paddle ahead of the athlete during the second and third swim legs (not the first swim leg), provided they stay at least 5 metres clear of the athlete. Helpers may touch the athlete as long as he or she is stationary, and may assist with clothing, equipment (including mechanical assistance), food & drinks, as well as motivational, inspirational and directional advice. Helpers are fully and exclusively responsible for the condition and security of the athlete's equipment, and transport of that equipment from one transition compound to the next. Helpers may not interfere with or impede the progress of any other competitor. To do so will incur the disqualification of the helper's athlete, even if he or she has no part in such interference.
Teams - Teams must provide their own assistance and transport, which must be limited to a maximum of two (2) vehicles. Only members of a team can provide assistance to a team member in the course of the event. All other conditions are the same as apply to the individuals' helpers. Any team member impeding or interfering with the progress of any other competitor or team will incur the disqualification of his or her entire team.
The race will start in three waves, from Dulwa swimming beach at the eastern end of Diddams Close, Lake Ginninderra.
Individual competitors will enter the water at 5.30 am.
Teams will depart in 2 waves, commencing from 6 am. You will be advised of the precise starting time for your wave at Registration on Saturday 16 November. Please assemble at the beach for final check-in fifteen minutes prior to your start time. Final briefing will commence five minutes before start time.
Upon completion of each leg, it is the athlete's responsibility to ensure that his or her number has been recorded by the timekeepers, before tagging the next athlete or proceeding to the next leg. Swimmers must remove wetsuits where a number is obscured. Besides the transition compounds, there will be several number checkpoints on each mountain bike and run course. These will be marked with a sign, and attended by an official. It is the athlete's responsibility to ensure that his or her number is recorded by the official. Failure to be recorded at a number checkpoint will incur a minimum time penalty of 30 minutes. Locals will be aware of many potential short-cuts, but should remember that to take a short-cut may mean missing a crucial number checkpoint!
Race numbers are recorded at number checkpoints and transition compounds throughout the race. Anyone whose number is not recorded within a reasonable time will become the object of a search (and, if necessary, rescue) mission. For this reason, any individual or team member choosing to withdraw from the event must inform, or have their helper inform either an Emergency Services marshal or a race official at an aid station or a transition compound.
In the event of a team member being unable to complete his or her leg, another team member may complete that leg on his or her behalf, provided race officials are informed of the details and circumstances before the replacement team member proceeds. The resulting split time for that leg will not be credited to any team member, but the team will still be eligible for awards. Otherwise, the team may choose to leave that leg uncompleted and another team member may start the next leg, commencing from the advertised cut-off time of the previous leg. In this case, the team will be allowed to proceed, and other team members' split times will be recorded, but the team will be recorded as a DNF, ineligible for awards.
Each team athlete must check-in with officials at the transition 15 minutes prior to their anticipated start-time. The team-member completing the previous leg must complete his or her course and be recorded by officials before tagging the next member, who is then free to depart.
There will be full aid station supplies at each transition point. These will include water, sports drink, fruit, sweets, First Aid kit, vaseline, sunscreen (all of which are available to competitors only), and either public toilets or Port-a-loo. The transitions from the first and second swims to the first and second mountain bikes will also provide hot drinks.
Access to transition compounds is restricted to race officials, individual's helpers (wearing helper's ID), media and team members involved in the changeover.
Transition compounds will be at the following locations:
Swim 1 / MTB 1 - barbecue area, Bimbi Beach, eastern end of Diddams Close, Lake Ginninderra.
MTB 1 / Run 1 - bus stop on Antill St, at the end of Watson.
Run 1 / Swim 2 - beach near boathouse restaurant on Menindee Dr, Grevillea Park, Russell.
Swim 2 / MTB 2 - adjacent to Ferry Terminal on Kuttabul Pl, Acton.
MTB 2 / Run 2 - grassy area beside Badimara St, Waramanga, near the Tuggeranong Parkway cycle path underpass.
Run 2 / Swim 3 – Nguru Beach off Mortimer Lewis Dr, Lake Tuggeranong, Greenway.
Swim 3 / MTB 3 - grassy area between KFC and Tuggeranong Arts Centre on Reed St, Tuggeranong.
MTB 3 / Run 3 - grassy area beyond the end of Hartigan St, Garran.
Aside from the transition compounds, there will be one aid station on each mountain bike course offering fruit, sweets, sports bars, water and sports drink refills (but not bidon exchanges), as well as rudimentary bike repair equipment. Individuals are advised to carry two full drink bidons on their bikes, as well as a full repair kit and 2 spare tyres. Anyone completing the entire course without getting at least one flat will be lucky! There are frequent aid stations on the run courses, though the more inaccessible will supply water only. All aid stations will be equipped with a radio or mobile phone.
Following is a complete list of aid stations:
(FS = Full Service; W = Water only; WSD = Water and sports drink)
1) swim 1 / MTB 1 transition: Bimbi Beach, eastern end of Diddams Close (FS + hot drinks)
2) MTB 1: summit of Black Mountain, bus layby (FS + repair kit)
3) MTB 1 / run 1 transition: Antill St bus stop, Watson (FS)
4) run 1A: summit of Mt Majura (WSD)
5) run 1B: horse logs near reservoir before Hackett Hill (WSD)
6) run 1C: turn-off under power lines between Hackett Hill & Mt Ainslie (WSD)
7) run 1D: summit of Mt Ainslie (FS)
8) run 1E: in front of old AGSO, Constitution Ave & Wendouree Dr, Parkes (FS)
9) run 1 / swim 2 transition: beach at Grevillea Park (FS)
10) swim 2 / MTB 2 transition: Acton Ferry Terminal (FS + hot drinks)
11) MTB 2: Uriarra Rd crossing (FS + repair kit)
12) MTB 2 / run 2 transition: beside Badimara St, near Parkway tunnel (FS)
13) run 2A: summit of Mt Taylor (W)
14) run 2B: Colquhoun St crossing, Kambah (FS)
15) run 2C: Laidlaw Pl crossing, Kambah (FS)
16) run 2 / swim 3 transition: Nguru Beach, off Mortimer Lewis Dr, Greenway. (FS)
17) swim 3 / MTB 3 transition: adjacent to KFC, Reed St (FS)
18) MTB 3 / run 3 transition: end of Hartigan St, Garran (FS)
19) run 3A: summit of Red Hill, lookout (FS)
20) run 3B: end of Walsh Pl, Curtin (FS)
21) run 3C: Bike path crossing of Dunrossil Dr (FS)
22) finish line / recovery area: (FS + hot showers + hot pasta meal)
Most of the course of the Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon is within Canberra Nature Park, which includes Aranda Bushland, Black Mountain Reserve, Bruce and O'Connor Ridges, Mt Majura, Mt Ainslie, Cooleman Ridge, Mt Taylor, Wanniassa Ridge, Farrer and Isaacs Ridges and Red Hill. We are very fortunate to have been granted permission to stage this event through the CNP, especially the mountain bike legs. The authorities of Environment ACT have been extremely cooperative and helpful.
However, please be aware that this event takes place in a public domain. We do not have exclusive use of any of these areas, all of which are used by many people on weekends. Please treat other users with courtesy, especially walkers.
Swim courses will be marked with swim buoys. The markings used for mountain bike and run courses will be detailed at Registration.
Athletes are entirely responsible for their own safety and must give way to all traffic at all road crossings. While marshals will be stationed at major crossings, they will not be stopping traffic, but simply alerting and reminding you to make a safe crossing. Please be patient and cautious. In the context of an all-day event, a short delay at a road crossing may be used as an opportunity for a brief rest.
Athletes must show due courtesy and concern for all users of public cycle paths, including giving way to all pedestrians and recreational cyclists. Competitors are not to 'race' along the cycle paths, and are to proceed at a normal recreational pace.
All gates in Canberra Nature Park and the former Stromlo Forest which are normally locked will remain locked for this event. Where a gate is closed, you may open the gate to pass through, but must then close the gate behind you. Where a gate on the course is locked, it must be climbed.
This race is sanctioned by Triathlon ACT as a member of Triathlon Australia, and is conducted in accordance with Triathlon Australia race rules, with the exception of those rules covering drafting on the bike course. Drafting is permitted in this event.
Please note that all competitors who have entered or have been entered into this event online, whether as individuals or team members, must sign the participant waiver before commencing their respective leg or legs of the race. Copies of the waiver will be available at each transition area.
Any competitor who commences a leg without first signing the participant waiver is subject to immediate and automatic disqualification, and is no longer deemed a participant in the event.
From time to time Canberra’s lakes, like all inland water bodies, may be affected by various natural phenomena such as blue-green algae or bacteria. All of the lakes are tested regularly and rigorously, and are subject to closure if the levels of any potentially harmful organisms rise above certain standard measures.
In the event that any one, two or all three of Canberra’s lakes are closed at the time of the Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon, all effort will be made to ensure that the event proceeds as a Triple-Triathlon with 3 swims, though distances and courses for all legs may vary. Alternatively the event may be postponed to a later date, with all entries held over to that date, or still valid for any staging of the event within 3 years of the originally advertised date.
The event is being attended by members of Sports Medicine Australia. Trained personnel will be on hand to treat injuries, with 4-wheel drives on stand-by in case of emergencies. Most aid stations and many marshals will have mobile phones. 2 boats will also be patrolling Lake Burley Griffin, in addition to smaller craft.
The most important component of ensuring a safe event is common sense, particularly on the mountain bike courses. Carefully check your brakes and tyres the day before the race. Please exercise care while negotiating all descents, especially if you are unfamiliar with the course, as some sections are really steep and rocky. The time lost through sensible caution is nothing compared to the time lost through a trip to the hospital.
Beware of snakes. In Springtime, snakes are still quite sluggish, being not yet properly warmed up. This is when they can be most dangerous, as they cannot get hastily out of your way, and see no option but to strike. In case of snakebite, remain where you are and alert the next athlete to seek immediate help.
This is an endurance event, where a spirit of mutual assistance will benefit all. No amount of planning can adequately protect a 150 kilometre course through bushland, and many sections are without medical personnel or marshals for several kilometres. If you encounter another athlete in difficulty, please stop to ascertain their condition and lend assistance where possible, and be sure to report the situation to the next marshal you see. The reward of helping another in need will outlast that of reaching the finish line.
Swim caps are compulsory in all three swims, and wet suits are strongly recommended. Swim caps will be provided at Registration for individuals and all Team swimmers. Average water temperature in the lakes at this time of year is 17C - 20C degrees.
Particular care must be taken by individual athletes before and during the second and third swims, as leg muscles tend to cramp in the water after extended use. Take time at the transitions to replenish with electrolytes and fuel, and allow your heart rate to diminish. Thoroughly stretch all leg muscles before entering the water. Race officials have the responsibility to prevent you from entering the water if they feel you are distressed or overly fatigued. Once in the water, keep your legs moving as much as possible, to encourage blood flow. In case of cramping, signal to the nearest craft. You may rest on the craft as long as you need, or on dry land if close enough. It is advisable to practise your run/swim transitions in advance. Be sure to drink at the Commonwealth Place water station during the Lake Burley Griffin swim.
All times listed are in 24-hour clock time according to Eastern Daylight Savings Time, which assumes that the race commences with the start of the Solo competitors at 0530.
|Swim 1 - 0700||Swim 2 - 1325||Swim 3 - 1805|
|MTB 1 - 0950||MTB 2 - 1630||MTB 3 - 2015|
|Run 1 - 1150||Run 2 - 1745||Run 3 - 2200|
After these times, there will be no marshals, checkpoints or aid stations on the course, and split times will not be recorded.
Individuals: The only cut-off time which will be strictly enforced is the cut-off at the end of the third swim course. Any athlete who has not started the third mountain bike leg by 1805, will not be allowed to continue. Any athlete starting the final run leg after 1930 must be accompanied by his or her helper with a torch. A sweeper will follow the backmarker throughout the course in a canoe, on a mountain bike, and on foot.
Teams: In the event that a team member fails to complete his or her leg before the designated cut-off time, another team member will be allowed to start the next leg at that time. In this case, the team will be permitted to proceed, and all ensuing team members' split times will be recorded, but the team will be recorded as a DNF, ineligible for any awards.
The race finish and communications HQ is at the Elizabeth McKay Aquatic Centre at Yarralumla Bay. Updates on competitor positions will be posted here throughout the day, and hot food and drinks will be served to athletes only. Hot showers are available, so remember to bring a towel and soap with a fresh change of clothes.
Family members, helpers and supporters are welcome to purchase a meal ticket for the finish buffet, which is complimentaryfor all competitors with a race number. From 4.30pm the buffet will offer a meal and dessert for $10. Vouchers for the buffet can be prebooked, and collected at race registration on Saturday afternoon. To ensure all can be catered for, please book and purchase your buffet vouchers prior to the event.
The awards ceremony will be at the Elizabeth McKay Aquatic Centre at 8 pm. Awards will be presented to all individuals who complete the course; the first three all-male, all-female and mixed teams of 3; and the first three all-male, all-female and mixed teams of 4 - 9 members.
Full results, including split times, will be available on this website the following day after the race.
As Canberra's natural and urban landscape is continually evolving, each year there are usually some course changes. Continue to watch this space for updates, and see course descriptions for full details.
Short of going up in a balloon, the Triple-Tri course offers the best aerial views of Canberra available. Check any of the following vantage points for stunning vistas...
1. Mt Majura (1st run course) 888m
2. Mt Taylor (2nd run course) 855m
3. Mt Ainslie (1st run course) 843m
4. Mt Stanley (3rd MTB course) 841m
5. Black Mountain (1st MTB course) 812m
6. Mt Wanniassa (3rd MTB course) 809m
7. Sheaffe Trig (3rd MTB course) 793m
8. Mt Stromlo (2nd MTB course) 782m
9. Davidson Trig (3rd run course) 749m
10. Red Hill (3rd run course) 720m
Male Overall - 10:21:10, Rowan Beggs-French, 2017
Male Over 50 Overall - 11:56:04, David Baldwin, 2017
Female Overall - 12:00:09, Julie Quinn, 2017
|Leg||Record Holder-Male||Time||Year||Record Holder-Female||Time||Year|
|1st Swim||Matt Harris||20:53||1996||Deirdre Grace||20:55||1996|
|1st Bike||Jason Chalker||1:37:22||2002||Jody Purcell||1:54:36||1998|
|1st Run||Paul Smith||1:28:19||1998||Julie Quinn||1:51:22||2013|
|2nd Swim||Jason Chalker||47:49||2002||Shannon Proffit||51:11||2013|
|2nd Bike||Rowan Beggs-French||1:42:20||2017||Julie Quinn||2:01:56||2017|
|2nd Run||Paul Smith||53:01||1997||Julie Quinn||1:01:53||2013|
|3rd Swim||Stuart Bardsley||17:27||2004||Deirdre Grace||18:50||1996|
|3rd Bike||Rowan Beggs-French||1:15:31||2017||Julie Quinn||1:27:41||2017|
|3rd Run||David Baldwin||1:09:08||2005||Julie Quinn||1:12:24||2017|
|T3 Open||8:09:10||Aspire (Oliver Bourne, Dylan Cooper, Vajin Armstrong)||2012|
|T3 Open All Over 50||10:33:20||Vintage Vets||1999|
|T3 Open All Over 60||12:45:45||Rad's Rusties||2011|
|T3 Female||10:18:37||Powerpuff Girls (Brooke James, Michaela Watts, Sarah Richardson)||2012|
|T3 Female All Over 50||13:06:54||Nifty Fifty (Rose McGready, Amanda Nott, Elizabeth Bennett)||2015|
|T3 Female All Over 60||15:02:15||Swinging Sixties||2009|
|T3 Mixed||9:07:03||The Wrong Trousers||2002|
|T3 Mixed All Over 50||10:26:35||Shoklo's Nifty Fifty (Rose McGready, Martin McGready, Jeff Grey)||2017|
|T9 Open||8:14:34||The Team With No Name||2004|
|T9 Open All Over 50||9:47:56||Old Hacks (Alex Gosman, Trevor Jacobs, Peter James, Simon Claringbold, Peter Clarke, Rico Fitch, Peter Klein)||2012|
|T9 Open All Over 60||11:15:00||Old Hack Remnants Mark II (Alex Gosman, Peter Igoe-Taylor, Trevor Jacobs, Peter Clarke, Nathan Carroll)||2018|
|T9 Open All Over 70||15:02:35||Rad's Rusties||2010|
|T9 Female||10:16:16||Team Loser Shoes (Kylie Message, Kate Vandenberg, Elizabeth Humphries, Kym Somi, Alex Orme, Aimee Davenport, Elise Burriss, Alice Bates)||2016|
|T9 Female All Over 50||11:23:21||GoGo Girls - The SlipStream Team||2011|
|T9 Female All Over 60||13:47:58||The Tearaways (Lindy Dunn, Kay Pendlebury, Carol Baird, Brenda Day, Rae Palmer, Cathy Montalto, Ann Ingwersen, Liz Thompson)||2015|
|T9 Mixed||8:13:51||Under the Radar (Emma Gillingham, Matt McAuliffe, Craig Benson, Jay Vine, Martin Dent, David Medlock, Jasen Higuchi)||2016|
|T9 Mixed All Over 50||10:18:29||Not Over the Hill Yet (Jill Pettifer, Martin McGready, Terry Withers, Richard Haines, Jeff Grey)||2018|
|Leg||Record Holder-Male||Time||Year||Record Holder-Female||Time||Year|
|1st Swim||David O'Brien||18:11||1996||Jessica Traficante||19:58||2011|
|1st Bike||David Osmond||1:24:24||1998||Julia Graczyk||1:49:14||2002|
|1st Run||Martin Dent||1:11:11||2018||Emma Murray||1:22:15||2005|
|2nd Swim||Haydn Marsh||36:27||2003||Emma Gillingham||42:08||2018|
|2nd Bike||Dylan Cooper and Jay Vine||1:22:32||2013 and 2017||Michelle Cooper||1:36:30||2017|
|2nd Run||Martin Dent||37:43||2016||Emma Murray||45:43||2005|
|3rd Swim||Jarrod Lee||13:37||2018||Michelle Hunter||15:51||1999|
|3rd Bike||Rob Allen||59:53||2018||Melanie Simpson||1:11:58||2011|
|3rd Run||Martin Dent||44:45||2015||Natalie Archer||56:30||2013|
Swimming in three separate lakes, climbing and descending ten peaks, the 150-kilometre Triple-Tri course is an exhilarating exploration of Canberra from every conceivable angle.
Click on a leg to view a course description and map.
|Leg 1: Swim 1.5 km|
|Leg 2: Mountain Bike 36 km|
|Leg 3: Run 18 km|
|Leg 4: Swim 3.5 km|
|Leg 5: Mountain Bike 36 km|
|Leg 6: Run 11 km|
|Leg 7: Swim 1.2 km|
|Leg 8: Mountain Bike 23 km|
|Leg 9: Run 13 km|
Share your stories and photos! The Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon inspires thousands of personal stories. Part of the joy of the event is in sharing these stories. Please submit your experiences and photos to "Triple-Triathlon Stories," GPO Box 3127, Canberra City, ACT, 2601 or email to email@example.com
Select from the following stories to sample a few of the experiences and adventures to be had out and about in the National Capital, in one of the most challenging events to be found anywhere.
Triple-Triathlon Solo Male Finisher's Report 2018, by Kevin Miller
Triple-Triathlon Solo Male Finisher's report 2017, by Andrew Renwick
Triple-Triathlon Solo Male Winner's report 2017, by Rowan Beggs-French
Triple-Triathlon Winning Mixed 3 Team photo-report 2016, by Steve Hanley
Triple-Triathlon Solo Report 2015, by Rowan Beggs-French
Triple-Triathlon Solo 2015, by Warren Evans
Triple-Triathlon Team Report and Photos 2015 "Where's Our Swimmer", by Steve Hanley
Triple-Triathlon Team Report 2015 "HMAS Friendship", by Murray Robertson
Triple-Triathlon Race Report 2013, by Craig Benson
Triple-Triathlon Race Report 2013, by Shannon Proffit
Triple-Triathlon 2011 Report (pdf), by Andrew Renwick
Triple-Triathlon 2011, by Sukhajata Cranfield
Triple-Triathlon 2009 Report, by solo competitor Andrew Renwick
Triple-Triathlon 2009 Supporter's Photo-Report, by Steve Hanley (external link)
Triple-Triathlon 2007 Report, by Steve Hanley (external link)
Triple-Triathlon 2007 Report, by Andrew Renwick
Triple-Triathlon 2006 Report, by Steve Hanley (external link)
Triple-Triathlon 2005 Report, by James Sullivan
Triple-Triathlon 2005 Report, by Julie Quinn
Triple-Triathlon 2005 Report, by Trevor Fairhurst
Triple-Triathlon 2005 Report, by Steve Hanley (external link)
Sharky's Triple-Tri Report '04, by Mark "Sharky" Smoothy
Triple-Tri Report '04, by Geoffrey Pell
Triple-Triathlon 2004 Report, by Steve Hanley (external link)
Sharky's Triple-Tri Report '03, by Mark "Sharky" Smoothy
Through the Wind, the Rain and the Cold: Triple-Tri '03, by Steve Nightingale
Triple Tri Obsession! by Rob Marshall
Thanks to the Bilbys, by Martin Stiles
'02 Triple-Tri Report, by Michael Kerr
'98 Triple-Tri Report, by Paul Smith
The 1996 Triple-Triathlon, by Mark Hutchings
2018 Nov 18thTriple-Triathlon Solo Male Finisher's Report 2018, by Kevin Miller
I have looked at the Triple Tri many times over the years and thought I wonder if I could do that? In all honesty, I thought the answer was very much no, or at best, maybe I could do a chunk of it – turns out I was wrong.
About me - I generally carry a semi ok base level of fitness, but really nothing outside of normal. To clarify, I ride to work a few days a week (16k round trip), a couple of shortish runs, some team sports and a couple of sprint tris over the summer. I write this, as I found it a little daunting reading past race reports and making my own assumptions about how much these crazy fast people must train, probably my own assumption but perhaps useful for people considering giving solo a go. Really, I’m just the guy that will give anything a go to see if I can do it
The plan was simply to see how far I could get. From a ‘pass’ mark perspective, I was aiming for 2 of the 3 triathlons and finish with KFC for dinner in Tuggeranong. Seems a lot less scary to break it down into chunks and then see how the day unfolds. Of course, the optimist in me thought perhaps I could do the whole thing and really this is that story. I have a long version of this, which is largely for me and my memories of the race and a shorter version which is hopefully useful for other people considering doing the race solo.
The Short version;
- People keep asking me things like was it hard, how did you do it, what was the toughest leg etc, things like that – in a way, it kind of wasn’t hard which probably doesn’t make a lot of sense. Don’t get me wrong it was super tough, body parts ached, hills were horribly steep both up and down and it was a very long day, I guess for me it was about training for a planned pace and sticking with it. In my case it was a lot slower than the winners but it was the pace that got me to the finish in one piece – so figure out your pace, train to that pace and just keep chipping away at the distance
- No matter how many hills or elevation metres you cover in training, cover more. If you aren’t sure whether to go left or right in a training session, take the one that goes up the steepest hill. The triple tri hills are mean, even when at the top of a mountain, there are little course deviations to make sure you go to the top of the trig point (just to prove the point I guess).
- Your helper is the most important person in your race, really they are working their butt off all day getting everything where it needs to be, dealing with all the stress, worrying about where you are and that they have done everything expected of them etc. Help your support crew understand what you need from them and make it as easy as possible for them to do their thing. For me this was separate swim, bike, run and nutrition tubs with numbered bags for each leg and a heap of notes but no doubt this is different for everyone.
- Any transition that involves a swim leg takes longer than you think. Putting a wetsuit on and off of a sweaty tired body isn’t a whole heap of fun and is a lot easier with a couple of people. Looking at my race plan I was pretty much bang on schedule with the exception of the last mtb leg and my transitions into and out of swims. Factor that into your race plan.
- It’s a long day and it can be lonely in sections. As a slower soloist, the majority of the field had passed me by the 2nd ride leg. Once the passing dies down, it is largely you, the course and the volunteers (who are great). I was fortunate enough to ride and run with another soloist for the 1st tri but was then largely very much a solo competitor.
- Nutrition is obviously important, I have a reasonably good idea of what I can and can’t tolerate. Transitions were pretty much a smorgasbord of different foods, gu’s and sports drinks for me to take on the go. This helped as there were times were the thought of a banana for example was not going to work but there were several other suitable options to choose from.
- The bits I found the hardest in no particular order were
- Push bike hill; it just stinks no matter how many times you practice on it
- the running climb out of Majura to Mt Ainslie which seems to take forever (but you do get to run down Mt Ainslie and then ‘coast’ to transition after that)
- Standing up out of the water at Acton Ferry and also climbing up the ladder at Lake Tuggeranong; everything just wants to cramp
- The stupid over the fence steps / ladder thing at the back end of the 2nd bike leg. I am so glad no one was around to see my struggle over this
- Running down Mt Taylor, its steep to get up and steeper to come down especially on tired legs
- The second half of the last bike leg, I don’t even know the name of the hills down South but they felt the toughest on the bike legs.
- Going up Red Hill was also tough but you know that the finish line is very much in sight and once you are onto the path on the other side that’s the last of the mountains.
- The best bits
- People are so incredibly supportive of solo athletes. So many random people would offer encouragement throughout the day. The volunteers are constantly friendly, helpful and happy all day. I had a number of family and friends support and cheer me throughout the day. All of this was incredible. Despite finishing 4hours or so after the first finisher I received what felt like a hero’s welcome as I finished which was cool
- I had this weird feeling of just knowing I could do it pretty much all day. I didn’t expect this at all. Once I got going, I kind of just got on a roll and kept rolling all day. I’ve never really noticed this before in anything that I have done but it was definitely an ‘in the zone’ kind of feeling
- Coming into transition and seeing your support crew eager to see you, check you are alright and help you to the next one
- All of the little incidental moments that happen during the day, some are funny, some are weird, some are hard and in reality, the biggest majority of them you just forget but they are all a huge part of it.
So that’s the short version, now the longer version for anyone interested.
Training wise, I tend to get bored and lose focus on any training plans over 6 weeks. After deciding to enter, I pretty much had 12 weeks of focussed training with a 2 week overseas holiday in the middle. Training was set up with the simple goal of building volume and endurance initially with cycling and then adding in running volume and also making sure I could still swim. There were a couple of what I would call mega days which involved multiple legs and transitions, the longest being about 8hrs or so. No doubt I could have done a lot more training, longest training weeks looked like 35 – 40km run, 100 km ride, and 4kms of swimming. In reality, there were only a couple of these and the majority were a lot less. Really it was setting into a rhythm that worked with family life and squeezing in what I could around that.
Having not done a multi event like this before, I found it nuts how much gear I had to pack. I decided to change gear pretty much on every leg. Didn’t have to, but wanted to make sure I was comfortable. The intent was never to race for speed, was really just to see how far I could get and to do that I wanted to be as comfortable as possible.
I hadn’t seen the email advising the bike course change until late Saturday night, “3kms extra for free” or words to that affect – REALLY?. Lake section closures meant we were swimming on the other side of the lake and had to ride a bonus 3kms. Not something to stress over but was pretty sure I was ok without the extra 3km.
The swim was largely uneventful and settled into a good rhythm, had a little bit of trouble finding the last turning buoy but finished slightly quicker than planned time. Bike was set up pretty much on the beach so was out of the water and away nice and quickly.
The 3 bonus kilometres served as a good time to eat some pikelettes and get settled onto the bike. Being a north-sider, I was pretty familiar with this course and had a good idea of where it was hard and less hard. I had covered push bike hill a number of times in training; I have lots of non family friendly names for push bike hill, for me, its an 8 minute slog huffing and puffing, wondering if I will ever get to the top. But what goes up, has to come down and was at Bruce Ridge before I knew it. In my endeavours to maximise speed, I had pumped up my tyres way too much, which really was daft and made a lot of the off road sections harder than it should be. In reality, Im a pretty nervous nelly on a mountain bike and had gone over the handle bars the week before so probably was more self-preservation related rather than tyre pressure. After you get to the top of Lyneham Ridge it’s relatively cruisey into transition. I somehow managed to miss an arrow and rode a little extra picking up a puncture just as I got into T2 (which was magically fixed when I next rode).
A quick bit of food, a kiss for my wife and onto the run, and the profile looks tough (Mental note for next ride transition, if you are wearing knicks over tri shorts for the ride, take them off before you start running). The majority of the first 3kms are pretty steep up hill (Mt Majura) which involved a lot of walking. Legs were feeling ok, maybe a little bitey but still plenty in the tank. I was fortunate enough to have met up with another solo competitor and we ran this leg together. Goal was to average 7min km’s on this leg which pretty much went to plan. Walk up the big hills to save the legs and jog the rest. The summit to Mount Ainslie seemed to take forever and it was starting to warm up, but was good knowing that once we were there it was pretty much downhill to the swim. A ‘nice’ downhill run on the Mt Ainslie path and then the last 5kms or so to the Boathouse for completion of the first tri in 5h20.
Looking back, Im really happy with how this tri went. Tyre pressure and lack of mountain bike skills aside pretty much everything went to plan. Really it was about getting through Tri 1 with enough energy for Tri 2. I probably should have had a bit more electrolyte on the bike but was able to catch that up later in the race.
It is very difficult to put on a wetsuit after moving for 5+ hours. Fortunately my helper group had increased in size so had many hands helping. We somehow managed to get the wetsuit on without my legs locking up and after a quick chat, and drink it was time to swim. This was probably the leg I was least looking forward to, 3.5km of straight swimming – YUCK! My swimming training consisted of maybe 10 swims in total, one being 3kms straight. Theory being that if I could swim 3km without a wettie then 3.5kms would work. The time for this leg was about 10mins faster than I expected and I don’t really know how. Swimming out to the first buoy across the lake seemed to take an inordinate amount of time, and then the next one and the next. My brother was kayaking in front of me (he was the ‘incase I drowned’ guy) – really it was just good to have someone to look at and keep you company to help you finish the distance. I just tried to focus on ticking the arms over and not using my legs (cause they were ready to cramp). Was a good current behind and the wind was helping as well. Got out of the water and started to get changed and then got freezing, couldn’t stop shivering. My poor helpers took turns rubbing my back and arms to warm me up.
Once I was moving, I warmed up pretty quickly. The first 15kms or so are relatively fast across cycle path and fire trails with only the hill at the arboretum to contend with. Was met by my wife on Coppins Crossing Road to top up energy drinks and take some gear before I headed further towards Stromlo. This part is a little draining, it’s not super hard but it’s not easy either and it’s just hot. Once you cross the road into Stromlo it starts to get a bit hillier and then there’s the Stromlo climb itself. There were a number of times I found it made more sense to push the bike up the steep hills rather than burn the legs with so much more still to come. The last 10kms or so around the back of Weston Creek and Cooleman Ridge seemed to take forever but slowly the k’s ticked by and it was time to run again.
Mt Taylor – I honestly didn’t know it was so steep, seemed to go up forever. Coming down felt just as steep and could feel my knees starting to get a little unhappy. As the course levelled out, and it became path, my pace kept improving to pretty much the overall average I expected. Pretty quickly I was back in transition ready to start the last Tri – who would have thought!
Looking back on tri 2, I think I ‘raced’ this one quite conservatively ensuring that I had the energy to get through to the end. That was basically the race plan but suspect there was less time to be taken here (easy to say that now though). I think I felt better finishing the 2nd tri than I did the first which was a really good sign heading into the last tri
So it seems my flippers (arms), in particular my left elbow had had enough of swimming by now. Was doing my best to maintain an easy relaxed stroke but old leftie wasn’t quite pulling his weight leading to a bit of weaving across the lake. Fortunately I had my brother kayaking beside me to try and keep me on course. At the end of this leg you have to climb up a ladder to exit the lake – not fun, but made it out and was rewarded with some Chicken nuggets before the last ride.
Whilst it is the shortest, I think the 3rd bike leg is the hardest, the elevation gain isn’t that much less than the other two and it is ~13km shorter, plus you are knackered from everything else. It starts off pleasant enough with about 6km of bike path but then it’s pretty mean from there on in. A fair bit of hill walking on this one. There were even a couple of down hills I walked as they were pretty steep and didn’t think the extra speed outweighed the risk. This was the only leg outside of transitions that I missed my expected time range. The tunnels at the end under the parkway were super weird to ride / walk through – I’m 170cm and found it tight to go through (and that was walking) but it was cool in hindsight. So onto the last run
Being close to dark, I was allowed my helper / lovely wife to run with me. I probably talked her ear off as had been quiet for such long chunks of the day. Red Hill was steep but we chatted, walked and jogged our way over it. 9 or so km’s in she ditched me to be at the finish with the kids and I had my brother run the last bit with me. It was very much dark from the top of Lady Denman drive to the finish but that didn’t matter. Was able to pick up the pace a little over the last few km’s and was elated to get to the end in one piece
Tri 3 was definitely hard but at the same time you knew that it was the last swim, the last ride, the last 5km etc. I had more pace in my legs after Red Hill than expected and it was cool to know for sure that I would get to the end.
There are heaps of thanks to people when you do a race like this, really it is quite a selfish thing to do and you certainly can’t do it without the support and understanding of your family. I was very fortunate to have plenty of people giving up their time to help me and of course to have an amazing wife that put up with me in the lead up to and during the race. So to all those people, if you have read this far, thank you so so much – I could not have done this without the part you played in helping me (and woo-hoo I did it!).
2018 Nov 18th21st Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon, Sunday 18 November 2018
There is no more comprehensive tour of Canberra than the Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon. If you complete the whole course, you have seen and experienced a full panoply of views, angles, environs, aspects, perspectives and panoramas of this wonderful living space that is at once capital city and natural playground. If you are fortunate to be graced with a day such as shone for the 21st staging of this epic event, you will have the journey of a lifetime.
Michael Brennan loves the Triple-Tri and doesn’t mind letting people know: his infectious enthusiasm for this race has helped buoy participation and excitement in recent times. After two years where some superb athletes have covered the course even faster than he has, it was a thrill for all involved with the event to witness Michael win the race solo – and fittingly, in a world-class Personal Best of 10:54:24. Michael tackled the first swim as though his life depended on it, leading out of the water by 6 minutes, and never looked back. Physical excellence seems a secondary outcome for this athlete to whom the joy of complete self-offering to the course and the race transcends all personal ambition.
Aston Duncan had hardly ridden a mountain bike prior to this race, and to take second place in 12:34:17 was testimony to both extraordinary fitness and a deep and tremendous willpower. Due to the small field, most of the solo competitors hardly saw each other in the course of the day, relying on their own inner momentum as well as the company of the occasional team. Next home came Craig Johnstone, extremely happy to conquer the course in 13:48:14; followed by Kevin Miller in fading light but bright victory of 15:18:34. Jon Schol didn’t have everything his own way in this long day, and was both tenacious and humble in overcoming all obstacles to take out the Solo Male 50 and Over category in 15:36:02.
Melissa Clarke is another first-time Triple-Tri-er, learning the hard way just how challenging this journey can be. Over the years, many have toed the starting line yet not completed the course. Despite hitting numerous obstinate “walls” after 10 hours, Melissa battled her way to a wonderfully satisfying finish in 15:38:11, bringing tremendous inspiration to all who were fortunate to see her arrive home.
A last-minute change of venue for the first swim in Lake Ginninderra meant the course for this leg was a little shorter than advertised: while this was compensated by the ensuing bike leg being a few kilometres longer, it unfortunately meant that the “record” times swum for this leg could not be officially recognised.
The Triple-Tri is a coming together of spirit and community. During the second mountain bike leg, a group of competitors encountered a member of the public who had an unfortunate fall from the mountain bike. Surrendering the times and chances of their respective teams, four contestants spent 50 minutes helping the injured rider until an ambulance could reach the scene. Our gratitude, admiration and respect to those who put aside their own interests to help another in need: your spontaneous kindness, concern, sacrifice and generosity inspired a wave of goodwill and compassion across the entire field: your example shines as bright as any winner ever could.
Outstanding team performance of the day again went to the elite combination of “On The Radar” (Jarrod Lee, Matt McAuliffe, Martin Dent, Emma Gillingham, Warren Wood, Aaron Farlow, Rob Allen & Craig Benson), whose overall time of 8:17:22 was a full one hour ahead of the next fastest team on the day, and only 3 minutes shy of the record for an Open Team of 4-9 held by “The Team With No Name” from 2004 – though if the first swim had not had to be moved and hence the first bike course had been the “correct” distance, perhaps this long-held record might have been toppled today…
In the course of the day, “On The Radar” also amazingly claimed 4 leg course records. Paul Crake used to hold the records for all 3 run legs, and though Martin Dent has in recent years eclipsed Paul’s times for the 2nd and 3rd run legs, Paul’s incredible 1:12 for the run over Mts Majura and Ainslie had stood since 2000 … until today when Martin Dent blitzed this challenging 18km in a phenomenal 1:11:11. Martin then tagged Emma Gillingham who likewise put paid to a long standing record in the Lake Burley Griffin swim with her new stratospheric mark of 42:08. Jarrod Lee was denied a record in the first swim due to the short course; however his awesome performance of 13:37 in Lake Tuggeranong left spectators gasping. He then tagged his rider, Rob Allen, who took off with such fire and inspiration that the One-Hour barrier for the 3rd bike leg was finally shattered; Rob’s sensational ride of 59:53 has taken this leg into another dimension.
Two overall course records were claimed among the older teams divisions by the “Old Hack Remnants Mark II” (Alex Gosman, Peter Igor-Taylor, Peter Clarke, Trevor Jacobs and Nathan Carroll) whose 11:15:00 beat their own record from last year for the Open Team of 4-9 (All Over 60). The other record to fall was in the Mixed Team of 4-9 (All Over 50), with “Not Over The Hill Yet” (Jill Pettifer, Martin McGready, Terry Withers, Richard Haines and Jeff Grey) who turned in a wonderful display to set a superb new best time of 10:18:29.
Custom-made Triple-Tri ensemble “Stuff The Puffs” (Ben Buchler, Dave Osmond & Matthew Crane) took major honours in the competitive Open Teams of 3 in 9:18:43; with the classy “One of Each, Thanks” (Mark Hareb, Richard Smyth & Peter Wilson) coming next in 9:43:05; and “Krusty’s Crew” (Russell Crockford, Andrew Bryant & Jason Martin) rounding out the podium placings with 10:04:49.
In the All-Female Teams of 3, “Chai Tea Girls” (Niki Hale, Claire Aubrey & Sherston Sheridan) took line honours with an impressive 11:47:22. Special mention to 2nd place “Triple Treat” (Sally Parker, Leanne Wilkinson and Katrina Cousins), whose rider was one of those who rendered assistance to the injured rider in MTB2. 3rd place was taken by “Los Tres Chivitos” (Simone Howland, Alina McMaster & Rachel Venn) who raced with great enthusiasm to record 13:28:21.
The Mixed Teams of 3 was won convincingly in a most impressive 9:38:51 by “Svendborg” (Jacqui & Ben Allen, with Murray Smith), a combination in which each member completed one swim, one ride and one run – a staggered triathlon each. “Wild Chaos” (Carla & Simon Wolnizer, with Lachlan Oakes) came in 2nd in 10:43:02; from “Both Ends” (Paura Birks, Troy Reddick & Jason McCrae) with 10:44:55.
In the wake of “On The Radar”, the race in the Open Teams of 4-9 was for second place, the prize taken at the end of the day in 9:39:27 by the venerable “Aviator’s Beach Club” (Dave Hayes, James Meadley, Daniel Redman, Pete Hansen, Andy Thomas, Sean Davis & Jordan Kelly) [editor’s note: the term “venerable” is used in this context in reference not to age, but to nobility]; followed by the evergreen Goulburn gathering of “Giant 440 Woody’s 4 Pete” (Rod Smith, Rodney McWhirter, Jaemin Fazer, Andrew Dawes, Andrew & Jacueline Oberg, Lori McWhirter, Michael Beard & Stefan Hese) in a spirited 9:48:27. Not content to just race with their younger compatriots (how are the residents of Goulburn called – Goulburnians??), some of the more venerable [editor’s note: here the term is used to refer to age] members doubled up to form an All-Over 50s Open Team, “The Buzz Lightyears” (Angus Taylor, Kerry Baxter, Mark Stutchbury, Rodney McWhirter, Andrew Dawes & Rodney Smith) which impressively took out their category in 11:02:29.
The All-Female Teams of 4-9 was won by “Triple Distilled” (Gabrielle Ho, Jessica Bolton, Isabella Comfort, Michelle Welch, Hayley Achurch, Rosa Bishop, Aine Buckley, Emma Johnson & Keira Doherty) in a sold showing of 12:30:02; just ahead of the 4-person 2nd placed “3 Souths and a North” (Sue Bowden, Sam Rampant, Keri Vaughan & Keri Muir) with 12:41:20; and “Ladies Who Tri 2.0” (Aoife Farmer, Lisa Counsell, Mal Karunaarachchi, Lauren Hendricks & Stephanie Way) rounding out the podium placings in 12:59:33. The All-Female Teams of 4-9 (All Over 50) went to “Fabulous Fifty-something Female FIT Team” (Narelle Patrick, Miche Hodgetts, Sarah Rainbow, Petrina Quinn, Rosemary Robinson, Geraldine Cusack, Nerida Clarke, Belinda Robinson & Robyn McClelland) in 14:42:17; though they crossed the line only after the fabulous finish of the first of the All-Female Teams of 4-9 (All Over 60) of “Tri again W60s” (Margaret Hadfield, Jean Douglass, Sue Archer, Clare Wall, Peggy Douglass, Kathy Sims, Judith Norris, Connie Clement and Carol Baird) who blazed to glory in 14:01:58.
“JT Multisport” (Grace & Ellie Hoitink, Chris Mutton, Wayne Corlis, Joseph Pascall, James Thorpe, Myles Wood, Angela Ballerini & Yoann Colin) took out the Mixed Teams of 4-9 in a slick 9:31:02; after a close day of racing with the lead swapping numerous times with eventual 2nd placed “Magpie Magnets” (Luke Kay, Michelle Cooper, Jen Davis, Matt Georgeson & Natalie Wood) in 9:38:26. 3rd placing was taken by “Team Driscoll” (Rachael McAllister, Blake Nielson, Tom Driscoll, Georgia Holtsbaum & Lauryn Brown) in 10:33:18.
Heartfelt thank yous to all involved in staging this epic adventure: to Sports Medicine Australia for providing medical assistance throughout the long day; to Gai Webster and Triathlon ACT for technical support and advice; to Richard Smyth and Andrew Oberg for helping re-design the 1st and 3rd MTB courses; to the YMCA Sailing Club, Canberra Canoe Club and Nic Bendeli for on-water assistance; to Paul Mahoney and his friend Gavin for sweeping all 3 run legs; and to volunteer helpers from the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team from Auckland, Taupo, Perth, Brisbane, Torquay, Melbourne and Canberra as well as guests from Russia, Mongolia and Korea.
2017 Nov 19th20th Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon, Sunday 19 November 2017
The Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon is its own universe.
In this universe, all the planets aligned and the gods saw fit to party for the 20th staging of its grand Cosmic Play.
All the inner and outer conditions were auspicious, the numbers and omens propitious: the training and expectation had peaked; a week of rain cleared the lakes of bacteria, greened the views, gladdened the cheering bird-chorus and softened the ground to the perfect tackiness for fast racing; the pre-race hail storm had exhausted its fury, leaving a stage of calm and readiness; the highest-ever quality field gathered; the sun shone with the optimum degree of brilliance; the wind blew always towards the finish line.
The 20-strong field of soloists included 8 previous winners of either the outright or over-50 categories, male and female, along with another 8 highly-credentialed endurance athletes making their Triple-Tri debuts. This field wasn’t just star-studded, it was a supernova soup! At the dawn start, anticipation was high, nerves alive, senses alert, hearts thumping, minds and bodies fully focused on the momentous adventure ahead.
The early legs – first swim, Black Mountain ride and the long run over Mts Majura and Ainslie – are about settling into a rhythm, finding a groove and embracing the racing state. The middle legs – the long Burley Griffin swim, grinding Stromlo ride and hot slog over Mt Taylor – are the heart of the contest, to be endured as best as possible to set the stage for the final legs – a dip in Lake Tuggeranong, Wanniassa and Isaacs Ridges ride and final run over Red Hill – which can be a painful battle for survival or supercharged surge for glory … or both.
This is the first time in its history that the entire solo field – and it was the largest field ever – has finished this gruelling race; testimony to the superb preparation, depth of courage, determination, character and commitment of this elite band of champions. The top 12 solo finishers came in under 13 hours, and 17 under 14 hours, which far surpasses anything previously achieved on this stage.
Julie Quinn and husband David Baldwin have a long and intimate association with Triple-Tri Universe. Both have participated in teams since the early years and David has the highest number of solo finishes – 9 in all. They have missed the last few editions with a busy schedule of international rogaining, yet both felt drawn to the starting line for the 20th, with expectations high that David might give the course record a decent shake in the Solo Male Over 50 category.
The standard of the Solo Male Over 50 category has risen dramatically with the course record falling by large chunks 3 times in the last 4 years. David Baldwin, racing in this category for the first time, grasped the challenge wholeheartedly, not only lowering the record once again but taking it under the formidable 12 hour barrier to cross the line in 11:56:04. In an inspired run home, he just missed his own record for the final run course for solo athletes set back in 2005 (of 1:09:08), by a mere 12 seconds.
Julie’s own overall course record had been broken in 2013 by an amazing race from Queenslander Shannon Proffit in a breathtaking 12:02:59. That year, despite attaining her best time ever, was the only one of her 7 Triple-Tri starts Julie didn’t win. This year was Julie’s first time back at the Triple-Tri since that day. Poised, calm and graceful as ever, she was focused, composed and clearly enjoying her work as the day progressed and the legs folded one into the next. The record was not within sight: her only goal, to offer her all. Nevertheless, a new record time for the 2nd bike leg of 2:01:56 was setting up her race nicely. By the end of the Lake Tuggeranong swim, Julie was only 2 minutes behind husband David; after the last bike she was only one minute behind. Was this what stirred David into such a spirited final run? Whatever the case, emerging from the tunnel at the Hartigan St transition, Julie was one minute behind course record schedule. She would have to blow away her own daunting course record for the final run leg just to be in the picture – and then some. When the going gets tough, champions stand up. Throwing caution to the wind, she went for it. The small gathering at the finish line, still exuberant from David’s finish minutes earlier, were elated as Julie sprinted home to reclaim her crown as Queen of the Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon, taking 3 minutes off her own best leg time (new leg record of 1:27:41) to achieve the incomprehensible. The new record glows at 12:00:09.
There has been a 13 year gap since Alina McMaster’s back-to-back victories in her only previous solo appearances at the Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon in 2003 and 2004. With an event of this magnitude, there will always be uncertainty leading into the race no matter what one has achieved previously or how much training one has done. Alina aimed to finish, yet like several others on the day, found herself carried by the spirit of an extraordinary occasion which swept her to an astonishing 13:28:21, just 7 minutes outside her 2004 winning time, flooding with joy and inspiration not only her immediate family but her huge extended family of friends and supporters. Kudos and immense respect to a class athlete of immense heart!
In 2002, Canberra legend Jason Chalker was at the height of his athletic prowess and an international career of professional off-road triathlon racing. A giant of the local off-road scene, Jason’s crowning achievement (in our eyes) was his monumental solo effort at the 2002 Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon, a seismic event of such magnitude that when the dust settled an unscalable mountain remained, bearing the numbers 10:25:03. While some have perhaps dared to dream of reaching that pinnacle, most have just admired this massive peak in silent awe.
Rowan Beggs-French first tackled the Triple-Tri solo in 2011 – and won in 11:56. After a stint living in Darwin, he next attempted the race in 2015 – and won, taking half an hour off his PB in an astonishing 11:26. This year would be his 3rd expedition into that unknown world of personal challenge and discovery which is the vast hinterland of Triple-Tri Territory, and he would be facing his strongest competition by far. Rowan started well: despite giving minutes away in the water, ideal conditions favoured his strong suit, the mountain bike legs. Jason Chalker’s record was a distant peak obscured for the moment by much closer mountains in the form of a host of elite athletes all vying for today’s title.
By the second swim, Rowan knew he was going too fast. He wasn’t following his race-plan script. Was it was adrenalin, fear of the looming competition or inspiration? His mind was telling him: you are going to blow up. He couldn’t obey. He was going too fast – and loving it. He blew away the course records for the next two bike legs – 1:42:20 his new time for MTB2 and 1:15:31 for MTB3. Amazing. This brought him into the final transition with victory assured. All the surrounding mountains had been transcended. Only one remained, now clear and looming. He was still going too fast. He was still feeling fantastic. He would soon feel even better … The impossible summit was visible. Just one solid run of 13 km was all that was needed. Crossing the line with arms upraised in sheer ecstatic relief and unbelieving triumph, Rowan had achieved the impossible. He had blissfully stared down Time. It stood for 15 years: now the unmovable mountain had moved. Another has risen higher in its place, inscribed thus – 10:21:10.
The closest anyone had ever come to the great Jason Chalker’s record was Klayten Smith’s victory last year in 10:39. Klayten is a 2-time Triple-Tri champion drawn inexorably to the start line this year, despite an injury-afflicted year. The powers of persuasion backed by overwhelming enthusiasm of his friend and Canberra resident Michael Brennan, proved irresistible. Klayten and Michael would be close to each other throughout the morning, running together on Mt Majura and Mt Ainslie, until Klayten drew gradually ahead. Their placings would swap again in the final run however, with Michael – who only does these events to “keep fit” in skiing’s off-season – claiming his 2nd consecutive 2nd placing in 11:26:42 ahead of Klayten’s 3rd in 11:28:23. Both performances would have won this race most other years.
Tom Brazier made his mark as a quality runner, winning the inaugural Sri Chinmoy Canberra Trail Ultra (100km) in 2013. Adding mountain biking and some swimming to his training palette, he’s now proven he is capable of anything. Tom’s 4th placing of 11:32:00 is one of the most impressive Triple-Tri debuts ever, powered by his top class running and supported with excellent mountain biking. If he starts taking swimming seriously, Tom will be very much in the frame for a future Triple-Tri win.
Hopefully many of the soloists will offer their own stories, so we will limit ourselves here to listing, and applauding each of their times:
Coming in 5th place in a superb 11:39:47, came 3-times Ironman Dale McCormack. Rounding out the sub-12 hour finishers was multiple-winner Trevor Fairhurst, thrilled to achieve his best result for some years. Paul Ledbrook completed his first ever Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon in the top 7 placings, clocking an excellent 12:09:45.
Adrian Sheppard has participated for years in numerous Triple-Tris, mostly as a competitive mountain biker. Completing the race solo has been his dream all along and this year he has done it in style: another fine debut finish in 12:14:57. Sydneysider and Ironman Blake Nielsen had participated once in a Triple-Tri team and that was enough to persuade him also to go solo: another impressive first-up effort of 12:21:32. Brian Black is another Sydneysider and Ironman and another Triple-Tri debutant: his finish in 12:51:31 a huge achievement.
In 11th place, Craig Johnston’s 13:15:54 almost exactly replicated his first finishing time from last year – we hope Craig will become a Triple-Tri regular. Over 50s 2nd place, Ross Beatty, just keeps getting better and finished emphatically in 13:16:58. Local Canberran Andrew Dankers finished his first attempt in an impressive 13:23:34. Kel Rankin from Picton was another to complete on his first attempt, finishing strongly before the sun went down in 13:36:18. Andrew Renwick, a crowd favourite, returned for his 4th Triple-Tri and 4th finish in 14:54:12; closely followed by former 50 and Over winner from Wagga, Geoff Breese in 14:57:51; while Joshua Smith was the final of 8 first-timers all of whom finished, in 15:18:27.
TEAMS OF 3
“Teams of 3” is for the purists and the elite. Despite all efforts to assemble “Gun” teams of 4 to 9 members over the years, the overall course record for teams has almost always been held by a team of 3 – and so it remains.
The fastest out of all the Mixed Teams of 3 was “Shoklo’s Nifty Fifty”, racing in the T3 Mixed All Over 50s. Former solo finisher Martin McGready partnered with super-swimmer Rose McGready and super-runner Jeff Grey to obliterate the course record for the category by over one hour, setting an amazing new record of 10:26:35 – this one is likely to stand for many years to come.
The T3 Open category was again won (in 9:15:03) by the Triple-Tri’s most famous team, “Stuff the Puffs”. Despite their irreverent name, this is a serious combination which has changed over the years but has always included Dave Osmond riding all the bike legs. Indeed, Dave was presented with a special award this year for the extraordinary achievement of having ridden all 60 mountain bike legs in all 20 editions of the Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon – and all at a highly competitive level (Dave still holds the course record for MTB1). His companions this time around were James Johnston in the water and Matthew Crane in running shoes.
“One of Each, Thanks” brought together a slick combo of Duncan Adams, Richard Smyth and Andy Isbister to take 2nd in 10:05:28; while Russell Rockford, Andrew Bryant and Jason Martin combined for 3rd place under the banner of “Crusty’s Crew”.
The only All-Female team of 3 this year were “Triple Treat” – Rosie Williams, Katrina Cousins and Leanne Wilkinson teaming up for an admirable showing of 11:52:05.
“Jo Joe Tom Time” was actually sans Tom but they kept the name (“Jo Joe Steve Time” doesn’t have the same ring to it), and just as well – Joe Howland, Steve Hanley and Jo Brischetto took out the Mixed Teams of 3 in 10:37:13. 2nd place in 10:44:59 was “32 Flavours sans Steve” (because Steve had defected to the winning team), of Katie Binstock, Seb Dunne and Peter Preston; while 3rd was taken by “CIA” (Anna Gurnhill, Christo Norman and Iain Johnstone) in 11:29:38.
TEAMS OF 4-9
Standout performance in the Teams of 4-9 came from “Hack Remnants” who smashed the course record for the Open Teams of 4-9 All Over 60. Comprising Alex Gosman, Trevor Jacobs, Peter Clarke, Steven Meredith and Nathan Carroll, the vastly experienced quintet turned back the clock in more ways than one to stage an exhibition of Triple-Tri team brilliance with their consummate 11:18:25.
The tightest competition is often in the Open Teams of 4-9. The all-conquering “Under The Radar” of previous years evolved from a Mixed ensemble to a formidable Open Team of 4-9, this year acknowledging their status as very much “On The Radar”. Fielding Jarrod Lee, Matt McAuliffe, Reuben Caley, David Allen, Jay Vine – who equalled Dylan Cooper’s record of 1:22:32 for the 2nd mountain bike leg – Jasen Higuchi, Emma Gillingham, Dave Medlock and Craig Benson, the team was unstoppable. Their only real competition was with the organising crew who scrambled to get transitions set up in advance of their lightning advance – in the case of the transition from swim to bike at the end of the Lake Tuggeranong swim, “On The Radar” were victorious! Their winning time of 8:21:08 was one of the fastest ever recorded and over half an hour ahead of another superb combination of “Massage One ACT” in 2nd place with 8:52:58, comprising Conor Sproule, Dylan Cooper, Trent Dawson, Corey Bacon, Michelle Cooper, Scott Imhoff, Wayne Corlis, Ed Hall and Nuru Somi (who blitzed the final run leg in 49:05). 3rd place in this category was taken by the stalwart Goulburn set-up of “Giant 440 Woodies #4 Pete”, featuring Rodney Smith, Rodney McWhirter, Jaemin Frazer, Andrew Dawes, Andrew Oberg, Kerry Baxter, Lori McWhirter, Michael Beard and Stefan Hese.
“The Buzz Lightyears” also hailed from Goulburn, recruiting Terry Withers, Kerry Baxter, Craig Johnson, Mark Stutchbury, Rodney Smith and Andrew Dawes to take out the Open Teams of 4-9 All Over 50. People have been members of two different teams in the past. Yet Kerry Baxter, Andrew Dawes and Rodney Smith created history today by all three of them representing two teams, where both their teams won podium positions in two different categories.
“Ladies Who Tri” brought together Lauren Hendricks, Elizabeth Mutton, Aoife Connors, Aoife Farmer (that’s right – two Aoifes in the same team!), Justine Kennedy, Lee Steel, Rosie Staude, Nicole Bruce and Thea Chesterfield to take out the All-Female Teams of 4-9 in 12:11:58.
Yet they were not the only All-Female team – just the only one under 50! “Three Squared FIT” came to the starting line with Rosemary and Belinda Robinson, Robyn McLelland, Andrea Teunissen, Elizabeth Lowe, Geraldine Cusack, Leanne Tennant, Maryann Simpson and Julie Delandro – all over 50 and out to conquer the course which they duly did, in 14:21:46. “One Foot Out of the Grave” took this age thing even further, boasting an All-Female Team of 4-9 All Over 60 (with two of them over 70!), to win their unique category in 14:54:53. A mighty congratulations and deep bow to Nerida Clarke, Rae Palmer, Carol Baird, Brenda Day, Connie Clement, Cathie Sims, Margaret Hadfield, Ann Ingwersen and Cathy Montalto!!
One of the youngest teams in the field, yet already Triple-Tri veterans, “KAOS” shone in taking out the main prize in the Mixed Teams of 4-9 in a superlative time of 10:15:36. Cassia and Saul Cunningham, Corey and Ryan Smith, Ella, Zoe and Paul Cuthbert, along with Adrienne Nicotra were awesome. a perilously close 2nd place was claimed by “Herding Cats” in 10:17:41, a team with probably more combined Triple-Tri finishes than any other with Iain Addinell, Rod Higgins, Vanessa Haverd, Rachel Meyer, Simon Tilley, Allison Campbell, Mark French, Julia Graczyk and John Fleming. The podium was completed by “Resultz Racing” – Anna Reynhout, James Allen, John McPherson, Siobhan Palmer, Kieran Denny, Matt Shadwell, Eva Ellmer, Andrew Reed and Rob Mulfird breasting the tape in 11:08:21.
The unofficial “Best Team Name” award this year goes to “Triple Tripass”. Honourable mention to “Wacky Waving Inflatable Flailing Arm Tube People” – for no succinct reason.
Heartfelt congratulations and thanks to all who participated either solo, in a team or as a helper, friend or supporter on this thrilling day.
Our sincere gratitude for your tireless service to Gai Webster, Technical Official from Triathlon ACT; Craig Johns also from Triathlon ACT; to John Birch and his team from Canberra Canoe Club; to Chris Ablett and Jonathan Muller of YMCA Sailing Club; to Emma of Lake Ginninderra Sea Scouts; to Connie Chan of Hammer Nutrition; to Mike Corrigan, Pat Siciliano and Cathy Pine of Sports Medicine ACT; to volunteer course marshals Nic Bendeli, Geoff Barker, Beverley Jende, Paul Mahoney, Kent Forster, Carinna Tong, Sue and Norm Brennan; to the course sweepers Jean Douglass, Tim Burns, Paul Cuthbert, Peter Lockey and Richelle Turner; to the staff of My Rainbow-Dreams vegetarian cafe; and to members of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team of Mongolia, Auckland, Brisbane, Melbourne, Torquay and Canberra.
See you next year for the 21st!
2017 Nov 19thTriple-Triathlon Solo Male Winner's report, 2017 by Rowan Beggs-French
I love living in Canberra. There are not many places in Australia that I have been that offer more to people who enjoy the outdoors and endurance sport. The facilities, surrounding green space and calibre of athletic community here means you are never short of opportunities or motivation to explore somewhere new and train hard.
The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team in 1995 created a multisport event showing off the spectacular landscape of Canberra, and pushing the limits of endurance in a single day event. Each year since then (with the exception of 2 years due to weather) the Triple-Triathlon has tested athletes either solo or in teams to swim 6.2 km, ride 100 km and run 45 km in an enduro triathlon format taking in the lakes, mountains, and meadows that envelop our bush capital.
It is not your typical triathlon! It is not a race where you can sit on your pre-determined power output on the bike and then sit back into your marathon pace running. On the bike you will be doing gate vaults in the bush, and pushing your bike up crazy steep loose fire roads, then soaking in a view before an awesome descent. On the runs you will be running along trails mainly used by kangaroos and wombats, scrambling up Canberra’s biggest peaks, and dropping through beautiful single track. It is a race that forces you to go off feel and immerse yourself in the amazing trails. Which is why I love it so much.
I first raced this event as part of a team in 2008 with my now wife Amy and friend Scott. I was racing standard distance triathlon but was mainly training on trails and the event really appealed. We had a ball and the next year raced again. In 2011 I decided to push my limits and go solo for the first time. After a great day I finished first solo in just under twelve hours. After moving around Australia as an Air Force Pilot, I was itching to do it again in 2015 when as a family we moved back to Canberra. I had another great experience winning and setting a half hour PB.
My 2017 has been pretty up and down with injury but about September I started getting excited to aim for this event as it was the twentieth anniversary of the race and the field was looking bigger and deeper than it ever had been. My build for the race involved a lot of strength work in the gym along with hills riding and running. I am a full time dad and luckily my daughter loves going for adventures on the back of my bike or in the chariot!
Having done the race previously is a huge advantage – the stress of not knowing what to expect has passed and you have nutted out the logistics to make it run as smooth as possible. Over the last couple of weeks the training wound down but visualisation of the course and how I would feel throughout ramped up. The week of the race I was full of nerves, not knowing how the day would come together given my preparation, and nervous about the competition I would face with 8 previous winners of the event lining up with me.
Race morning was early! A 5:30 race start meant getting the family up at 4 to get ready for the day. Amy and my friend Marty were my support crew for the day along with my three and half year old daughter Imogen. Arriving at the shores of Lake Ginninderra to the west of Canberra the weather was beautifully mild, around 15 degrees, and there was this calm enthusiasm and anticipation from the 22 other solo competitors and their helpers (the 70 odd teams started half an hour later).
In the soft dawn light after a moment's silence we dove into the first 1.5 km swim of the event. My plan was to try and jump on the feet of Michael Brennan, but after about 50m he left me behind and I settled into my own rhythm. It pays not to blow up in the first swim of an 11-hour race!
The first transition went smoothly and I was happy to be on the mountain bike, where my plan was to push a solid pace and see if anyone went with me. I met up with Michael about 5 km into this leg and we rode together for the next 8 km, through some fast flowing fire roads, which were perfectly grippy from the rain of the past week. Then we reached the first of the big hills – affectionately known as ‘push bike hill’ on the side of Black Mountain. The 800m rocky Fire Trail sits between 25 and 35 per cent gradient for its length and is the first of many opportunities to get off your bike and push.
After a short stint walking at the steepest pinch I got riding again to put some distance between Michael and me. The rest of the first ride went well, some more punchy climbs and flowing descents and a great single track section through Bruce Ridge which led us towards the transition to the first run of the day starting at the base of Mt Majura. The atmosphere in transition was awesome, many of the teams were eagerly waiting for their riders to come in with the warm morning sun and barely any wind. I sat down for a moment to get my socks, runners, and hydration pack on before taking off for the 250m climb of Majura.
After setting a quick pace for the first ride I eased into a more relaxed rhythm running, following the rocky single track that weaved up the western side of Majura. It’s a special track especially in the early morning sun as you get glimpses of the city and Brindabella Mountains glowing in the distance. After reaching the summit the next section was a rollercoaster descent through the single track in the Majura Pines mountain bike park. Traversing the ridgeline between Majura and Ainslie I checked in with the body, which was feeling great. More importantly my mind was really calm, I was taking the chance to soak in the surroundings and not over thinking what I needed to do or concerning myself with pace.
The expansive view of Mt Ainslie is iconic, and against the blue sky and having 2 of the 3 biggest hills of the running course out of the way was an awesome moment! Coming off the mountain and onto the flat bike path leading to the next swim my calves were starting to tighten up, but luckily I had a 3.5 km swim ahead to get off my feet and let the legs recover.
Getting into a wetsuit mid race is an experience! I bought a sleeveless wetsuit in order to expedite this process. After having half a bottle of my Infinit electrolyte drink and the 3 of us working as a team I was in the wetsuit and off on the next swim. That feeling of being off my feet and just rolling the arms over was sublime. I had a gentle tail wind, which meant the chop was giving me a slight push. I pulled alongside a jetty mid swim to get some more calories in – the best part of an hour mid-race swimming means it’s really easy to hunger flat going into the next ride (a lesson learnt from previous years!).
After a quick bite of sushi and some beetroot juice in the next transition it was off for the longest ride of the day – around 38 km of flowing fire roads to the southwest of the city. It turns out I exited the swim at the perfect time as friend and veteran of the Triple-Tri, Dave Osmond came past me about a kilometre in as part of a team. I was feeling great at this point so jumped on his wheel and spent the next 10 km riding and chatting with him. This ride is where the day can start to get pretty warm – as it is predominantly open and it's late morning or early afternoon at this point of the race. Despite only having a top of 25, I was feeling the heat. The climb up Mt Stromlo went well, just slow and steady, before another fun descent along some weaving fire roads.
Another friend, Michelle Cooper, came flying past about 5 km from the end on her way to taking the bike course record. Again surging to stay with her was a great boost both to my speed and mind as things were starting to tire. Staying close to her for the rest of the ride I came into the crunch point of the race tired but feeling strong.
A quick reapplication of sunscreen, body glide and some no dose and I was off onto the 11 km run which has you summit Mt Taylor, a short and sharp peak in Canberra’s south. In the heat of the day it will definitely let you know if you have gone too hard early in the race. As soon as I hit the 25 per cent fire road climb I was down to a walk. But that was hurting my quads too much so I started walking backwards, and then discovered shuffling backwards felt great. The 1 km of climbing felt like an eternity but after reaching the top the view of the Brindabella Mountains and knowledge that the rest of the run is downhill was a huge boost to morale.
Nearing the end of the run my legs were shattered, but mentally I was still calm, happy and very much looking forward to the last 1.2 km swim. The swim was slow as I really focused on recovering, cooling down and preparing mentally to push through to the finish. Getting onto the bike for the final time with a solid dose of caffeine I tucked in for the coming 10km of flat bike path into a head wind. Klayten Smith the winner from 2016 was about 20 minutes behind in second place at this point so I focused on opening that gap so that we wouldn’t be running together at the end.
The short steep hills on this leg passed quickly and before I knew it I was approaching my last transition through the infamous storm water pipes of Hindmarsh Drive. Being 6’5” and having raced for over 9 hours already, riding a bike through a drainpipe for about 80 metres is somewhat of a challenge. I got into the tunnel just ahead of one of the team riders and completely messed it up! I tried to slide down and lie on my top tube as I had done in practice but instead just lay on top of my seat and had my back wedged against the tunnel roof, paying my blood sacrifice to the race.
After some frantic stuffing around I exited the tunnel, had some more water, caffeine and a bottle of Infinit and took off on my last run. I settled into a rhythm through the climb over Red Hill, enjoying the final view of the city. The legs were in pretty good shape compared to previous years, and I focused my mind on keeping my running form as light and smooth as possible. The smiles of the teams as they come past and words of encouragement from the helpers at aid stations are one of the things that make this event so special.
Coming onto the bike path and past the second last of these aid stations I glanced at my watch to see what the time was. I saw that it was 3:18 and I had 7 km to run, which meant that if I was able to hold my current pace of just over 5 min per km that I could surpass the solo course record set by off-road legend Jason Chalker in 2002.
The remaining distance was gently undulating and shaded along the south side of Lake Burley Griffin. There was plenty to lose myself in and appreciate as the final kilometres ticked down. Rounding the corner to the finish the joy of having completed this course quicker than anyone had in its 20 year history was overwhelmingly emotional. A week later it is still sinking in: I like many others thought that record would never be broken. Overall it was an awesome day.
Endurance sport is such an amazing experience – the emotional highs and lows, the hundreds of small decisions we make leading into and during a race, the weather, the mechanicals, the other unforeseen challenges we have to adapt to make it truly special when it does all come together in our favour.
If you are looking for a different challenge, atmosphere and experience this race will provide it. I love the diversity that exists within the sport of triathlon, and this race truly is one of those hidden gems. I am already getting excited to toe the line and see what the day brings next November!
About the Organisers
The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team
Serving the athletic community for over 40 years...
Team Founder Sri Chinmoy
A lifelong advocate of fitness and self-transcendence...