Rarely if ever have conditions aligned as perfectly: recent rains had rendered Canberra's tracks and trails soft and fast, the surroundings an ever-refreshing green; the day dawned still and a little overcast, Nature herself a chorus of encouragement for all who bent their wills, minds and bodies into the formidable quest which is Canberra's Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon.
Though only two women completed the course solo this year, their two monumental performances combined to present a breathtaking race for the ages. Julie Quinn is the acknowledged "Queen of the Triple-Tri." This year she broke her own overall course record with her 12:15:59, and set no fewer than 4 new leg course records en route â for all 3 run courses as well as the 2nd bike. Yet somehow she did not win. Unheralded, a new face had appeared at the start, Shannon Proffit from Queensland. Emerging from Lake Ginninderra 2 and a half minutes ahead of the next (male) swimmer, we wondered whether exuberance had got the better of her and she had simply started too fast. Julie was 6 and a half minutes behind, after only one leg â¦ Julie duly regained 5 of those minutes on the 1st bike, and by the end of the 1st run had taken her customary lead position. The next swim though, would effectively decide the race. Shannon swam an incredible 51:11 â a full 17 minutes faster than Julie and a time bettered by only 2 female team swimmers. Indomitable, Julie pegged back time on each of the succeeding bike and run legs, but a further 8 minute deficit in the final swim proved too high a mountain for even Julie to climb, leaving Shannon Proffit the new Women's Champion and Course Record holder in an amazing 12:02:59, one of the most striking and dominant debut Triple-Tri performances ever. We salute and applaud these two shining athletes for staging a truly inspiring and uplifting race.
In the men's solo race, Travis Wayth from Porepunkah, Victoria returned from the disappointment of losing his way and valuable time on the first bike leg in 2012, to state his credentials in the most emphatic way by winning the race in a superb 11:26:49. Still only in 3rd place half way through the day, Travis paced his race perfectly, saving his best legs for the back half where the going is traditionally the toughest.
In second came Canberra's Seb Dunne in 11:46:44; a consistent and cheerful performer throughout the day who collected a new course record for solo riders in the (slightly shorter now that Dairy Farmers Hill has been removed from the course) 2nd bike leg, of 1:49:51. A slowing pace on the final run leg might have made Seb vulnerable to a famously fast-finishing David Baldwin, whose 11:48:16 ranks as his second best time ever in 8 Triple-Tri finishes (the most by any solo competitor).
In 4th place was first-time triathlete and birthday boy Steven Hanley, who seemingly cruised through the course without a worry in the world; his 13:21:16 a wonderful return for a first solo attempt (Steve has previously participated in highly-placed teams for many years).
The 50+ solo category saw 8-times Ironman Adam Mort from Mudgee post a wonderful finish of 14:31:52. Adam was a train all day, single-mindedly pushing to the goal which he reached with perhaps the broadest smile of all. Special mention also to Martin McGready whose time of 13:37:10 was a lion-hearted effort, the culmination of 3 years' focus. Unfortunately an inadvertent technical breach by some over-enthusiastic supporters meant Martin's time could not be formally recognised, though in the annals of the Triple-Tri, he stands an esteemed finisher. We hope Martin will honour the Triple-Tri by returning with his dauntless spirit to race again.
There is often a battle royal between the fastest Team of 3 and the fastest Team of 9 and this year provided one of the most fascinating such duels in years. In the red corner, representing the Teams of 3, "Stuff the Puffs" are proven performers â veteran Triple-Tri stalwarts John Fleming, Dave Osmond and Rob Walter who everyone knew would post fast individual splits and a very competitive overall time. In the blue corner, a surprise team had emerged when Peter Klein â who had been trying to assemble a crack Over 50s combo â and Luke Grattan â whose aim had been his usual flawless super-elite team of all-stars â both came up short. Peter and Luke then surprisingly combined their efforts and presented with a refreshing mix of younger guns (Oliver Bourne swam the fastest times of anyone for the 1st and 2nd swims, Brad Morton the fastest ride for the 1st bike and Craig Benson was just 2 seconds from the best time for the 1st run) and some older, wiser heads in Simon Claringbold, Peter Zygadlo, Luke Grattan and Peter Klein. The result was a riveting contest in which "Under the Radar" shot to a 14-minute lead after the 2nd swim, only to watch their lead slowly be whittled away â¦ yet in the end "Under the Radar" prevailed in 8:45:28, just 4 minutes ahead of "Stuff the Puffs" in 8:49:33.
Second T3 Open was "The Kudos Junkies" (Kane Orr, Trevor Jacobs and Nick Horspool) in 9:52:22; from "Hell Racing Team" (Guy Jones, Chris Helliwell and Gary Rolfe) in 10:15:54. All Over 50s T3 Open of "Pushing the Envelope" (William Wilson, Guy Manera and Wayne Twist) travelled from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane respectively to join forces in Canberra for their category win in 13:14:20. The irrepressible duo "Smart and even smarter" (Eugene Irvin and Michael Benson â who said of his team mate: "What Smart lacks in ability, he makes up for in incompetence") took out the 60+ T3 Opens with 14:30:42.
Alexandra Debeljako, Scott Chancellor and Murray Robertson formed a winning combination "Tri Friends Club" in the T3 Mixed category with 10:03:27; from "Joint xosize" (Andrea Coleman, Jeff Gough and Jeff Grey) in 10:24:00; and "Beezoid Tough Kids" (Marish Beesley, James Kidd and Jono Beasley) in 11:14:34. Not too far behind them were the "Bullfrogs" (Petrina Quinn, Phil Fogarty and Peter Fogarty), whose 11:42:56 took out the Mixed T3 All Over 50s and set a new course record in the process!
In the deepest and most competitive category of T9 Open, behind the stellar "Under the Radar" came popular Triple-Tri regulars from Goulburn and Wolongong, the "Giant 440 Woody's" (Rod Smith, Rodney McWhirter, Peter Oberg, Andrew Dawes, Andrew Oberg, Jaemin Frazer, Lori McWhirter, Michael Beard and Stefan Hesse) in 9:35:27; from another Triple-Tri evergreen, the "Aviators Beach Club" (Dave Hayes, Sean Davis, Andy Thomas, Richard Palmer, Shelby Friedman, Damon Bennett and Jason Hart) in 10:13:15. Though his team didn't place in this category, Dylan Cooper blitzed a long-standing record for the 2nd bike leg by 7 minutes, setting a new benchmark of 1:22:32 for this demanding course.
In the T9 All-Female Teams, first home were "Skywhale" (which was missing in action on the day) â Sally Parker, Danielle Winslow, Kristen Connell, Lisa Moore, Vicki Sweeney, Judi Barton, Stacey Rippon and Felicity Ryan) taking top spot in 11:53:50. Next were "Rad's Roses" (Krissa O'Neil, Bec Thorpe, Pam Muston, Alison Hale, Bianca Mauch, Diana Schneider, Samantha Bradley and Kate Forrester) in 12:09:07; and "The Hybrids" in 12:39:48 (Claire Howell, Janecke Wille, Sharon Marsden, Adrienne Nicotra, Michelle Inglis, Shoko Okada, Fiona Fraser, Tara Sutherland and Jose ten Have).
A stand-out performance came from "The Tearaways" â the only All Over 60 T9 Female team of Pam Munday, Rae Palmer, Carol Baird, Brenda Day, Toni Bolschelar, Maryann Busteed, Nerida Clarke, Ann Ingwersen and Cathy Montalto, who missed only one cut-off in the whole day, and that by barely one minute. Organisers will review the cut-off times for all legs in the light of "The Tearaways" wonderful contribution to the 2013 race.
"Powered by Powells" (Jennifer Bardsley, Simon Edwards, Simon Fairweather, Iain Addinell, Rod Higgins, Adam Leane, Fiona Mavris and Allison Campbell) powered their way to 1st place in the T9 Mixed in an impressive 9:30:35; from "Shaun is optimistic" (Caitlin McCluskey, Charlotte Peterson, Patrick Jackson, Jacqueline Sale, Mark Van Der Ploeg, Dario Mavec, Bronwyn Thomson, Shaun Archer and Natalie Archer), whose 10:56:23 featured a stellar final run leg from Natalie Archer â the 3rd fastest time for the leg on the day and a new female course record. 3rd in this category were "We Just Want to Finish As Well" (Charles Higgins, David Cooper, Gregory Miller, Jeremy Mickle, Will Witheridge, Anna Engwerda-Smith, Marie Taylor, Cathryn Geiger and Brendan Hatton) in 11:06:42. "Rad's Ravers" (Peter Dunn, John-Paul de Sousa, Carol Harding, Lindy Dunn, Caroline Campbell, John Kennedy, Hugh Crawley and Ray Bramwell) were the second of Rad Leovic's teams to grace the podium, this time taking out the T9 Mixed All Over 50s in 12:57:19 â a new course record for their category.
Sincere thanks to all volunteers who helped on the day, in particular members from the Gungahlin and other SES Units who manned all the road crossings; to Fiona Mcwhinnie from Triathlon Australia who served the demanding role of Technical Delegate; to Hammer Nutrition for supplying their excellent products to all aid stations; Canberra Canoe Club and YMCA Sailing Club for support on the swim legs; Sports Medicine AUstralia for medical support throughout the event; officers of the National Capital Authority, ACT Government's City Services, Canberra Nature Park without whose support and cooperation this massive event could not happen, year after year.