One day. The span from dawn to dusk can pass and merge into a morass of meaningless monochrome – or present a panorama redolent with rainbow-rich experience, opportunity and delight. One day can simply pass us by – or reveal new and thrilling worlds to us at each moment.
The Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon is a day for living to the full. Especially for the solo competitors, it is a day for exploring – outwardly, the length and breadth of Canberra; inwardly, the very scope of our being.
Klayten Smith (left) came to Canberra in search of such a day. Starting conservatively – 6th out of a field of 13 after the first triathlon – he then recorded the fastest time for each of the next 5 legs to ease through the field and onto the winner's podium in his first Triple-Tri.
Every solo competitor has a story. For many just to make the starting line was a significant life-achievement. Andrew Renwick feared he would not make it when injury interrupted much of his training this year. Steven Barry was fine at the start, then toppled from his bike on Mt Stromlo and had to receive attention from the medics at every transition thereafter, yet willed his way to the finish undaunted.
Peter Marshman, Nathan A'Bell and John Power excelled in their first Triple-Tri attempts, while Gary Rolfe staged a remarkable comeback after 9 years for 4th place.
Julie Quinn reigns supreme. While her 12:35:31 might have been 20 minutes shy of her stunning course record of 2005, she still broke 2 leg records en route to her victory – the second (Mt Taylor) run in 1:05:20 and the third (Isaacs Ridge) bike in 1:30:03. After the second (Lake Burley Griffin) swim, Julie was 20 minutes behind her fiance David Baldwin, who she then started to reel in, catching him towards the end of the third bike leg. The pair, to be married the following weekend, then ran the whole last leg together to fittingly cross the finish line – symbolic of a new starting line – hand-in-hand.
While the battles in the team divisions are often intense for the main prize in each category, there is also an unofficial battle for 'fastest team on the day', often fought between the leading team of 3 and the leading team of 4-9. "The Bike Shed" had assembled a gun team comprising solo course record holder from 2002, Jason Chalker on the bike, star triathlete Aaron Farlow swimming and top local runner Steve Isbell. They managed to hold off Luke Grattan's "I can't remember the name" team of 6 until the last transition, whereupon rising star runner Matt Riches blitzed the final run, his 52:10 a phenomenal 10 minutes faster than anyone else on the day.
The evergreen "Stuff the Puffs" – John Fleming, Trevor Jacobs and the only athlete to participate in every single Triple-Triathlon, Dave Osmond – overcame injuries to two of their members with Dave remembering his former national mountain running status to complete the final run and further glorify his team's status in Triple-Tri folklore.
"Last minute" – Nathan Versey completing all the rides, with Sally Parker and Nuru Somi sharing the swims and runs – took out the Mixed Team of 3 in 9:42:04; ahead of the first Mixed Team of 4-9, "Swimming on ONE" in 10:30:23.
As in the Open Teams, the battle between the first All-Female Team of 3 and Team of 4-9 was also thrilling, and also decided on the final run. The "Tri-fittits" of specialists Jennifer Davis, Claire Aubrey and Louise Sharp swapped the lead several times with Karen Burton's team of 4-9 "Who Let the Dogs Out", right up to the last run when Mace Neeve saw the larger team home in 11:27:37, "Tri-fittits'" a mere 83 seconds adrift at the line in 11:29:00. "Velocity Vixens" showed why they are the most consistent All-Female team in Triple-Tri history, taking 2nd place in 12:11:14.
The Douglass clan have injected a whole new meaning into "Life after 50" with their bright, fun yet highly competitive brand of racing. These girls are able to look good, enjoy themselves immensely and go FAST! This time they entered not one, but two teams in the All-Female Over 50 Team of 4-9 category, with Peggy and Helen Douglass both participating in both teams! The "Go-Go Girls 50+ In the Pink" finished well in the top half of the field in 12:34:27, while the "Go Go Girls 50+ True Blue" were not far behind in 13:14:59.
The girls showed the all-male "Rad's Racers Over 50 Years" (first place Open Team Over 50, 13:11:05) a thing or two about racing – not that there was any competitiveness between the two divisions!
Triple-Tri stalwarts William Wilson, Guy Manera and Tony Gray from Sydney teamed up to take the Open Team of 3 All Over 50 category in 13:04:20.
A new category was created this year with the first All-Female Team Over 60, the phenomenal "Swinging Sixties" – swimmer Brenda Day, biker Rae Palmer and runner Sue Archer – establishing an inaugural course record of 15:02:15.
Full results are published, both by category and overall. An album of photos from the day (still in progress!) covers every leg of the event from pre-dawn start to post-sundown finish.
A note on the published results: a team listed as "DNC" either did not complete the course, or did not complete the course within the designated cut-off times. We appreciate that several athletes who came in after the cut-off times for their leg still completed their course, and acknowledge the effort this requires. A pink bar in the results does not indicate an athlete failed to complete the course, only that the next team member was requested to start at the designated cut-off time.
Our sincere thanks to the Gungahlin SES for their tireless support throughout a long, hot day; to the representatives of Sport Medicine Australia (ACT Branch); officials and staff from Environment ACT and the Chief Minister's Department; the volunteer helpers of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team from around Australia; and all the athletes, their families, helpers, friends and supporters who came together to create and celebrate another memorable Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon.