True, the Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon is a race. True, it is an athletic event. True, it is a competition. True, it is superb highlights package of Canberra vistas. True, it is a saga, an ever-unfolding, dawn-to-dusk, city-wide, north-to-south-and-back-to-the-middle, generation-spanning, multi-threaded, infinitely nuanced epic drama-journey-adventure-discovery-tour …
At the awards presentations at the close of proceedings on The Night (of The Day), many athletes narrated and appreciated various facets of their experiences. The soloists all heaped thanks upon their helpers – which we wholeheartedly endorse! Team athletes praised the weather on the day, the course markings, Canberra's unique beauty, the variety and scope of the route, the planning and logistics of the whole event, the food at the finish line buffet (especially the food) … but EVERYONE who took the microphone all spoke from the heart about one universal impression – the incredible support, love and waves of energy and goodwill they felt and received from the volunteers across the whole 150 km route and throughout the entire day from dawn to dusk and beyond.
Their appreciation, admiration and gratitude start with those who manned drinks stations, transition points and road crossings, and beyond to the medical attendants, technical officials, photographers and behind-the-scenes servers from Canberra Canoe Club, YMCA Yacht Club, Lake Ginninderra Sea Scouts, Triathlon ACT, Access Canberra, NCA Events team, City Services, Canberra Events team, the great and good athletes themselves, team mates, rivals and arch competitors – and countless others who together are integral in bringing such a uniquely inspiring and fulfilling event together – a true expression and celebration of the heart of Canberra :-)
Bravo everyone and bravo Canberra!
THE SOLO PERFORMERS
Having raced this event, along with the Sri Chinmoy Multi-Sport Classic in Jindabyne now for several years, Michael Brennan’s curve of progress has been consistently upward and impressive. Having already ascended to the status of winner-champion, Michael rested not on his laurels but sought to ascend to the ever-rarer stratosphere of the conqueror of the self. This year, crewed for by none other than solo course record holder Rowan Beggs-French, Michael’s 10:53:13 bettered his timing from last year by a mere one minute, but with the longer course and running the final leg stricken with stomach issues, his overall performance raised his personal bar even higher. En route to his victory, Michael established new leg records for the both the 1st (Lake Ginninderra – 16:56, a record held since the inaugural Triple-Tri of 1996!) and 3rd (Lake Tuggeranong – 17:15) swims. Everyone who saw or encountered Michael anywhere on the course was inspired and uplifted by his attitude: his cheerful, steadfast determination and tireless self-giving energy and sheer joy of involvement in the entirety and community of the event made us all feel better and happier for being involved.
The winner of the Solo Male 50 and Over category, and 2nd solo outright was the indefatigable Jon Schol in 14:15:05. Jon’s personal journey has been truly remarkable. For one who has faced and stared down an army of setbacks in recent times including injuries, illness and injustice – including most recently being struck by a car while training for this event – which would have sent many into permanent retirement if not a hospital bed or traction – and endured several “non-finishes” at this very race which may have led some lesser souls to question their own suitability for such a punishing endeavour – Jon’s return to the winner’s podium in his over 50s category was a glorious personal and universal triumph. We stand in awe of the sheer dauntless spirit and gigantic sweep of his gutsy effort and achievement.
Next in the Solo Males was a newcomer to this race, Damien Munday, approaching the course and challenges of the day step by step with humility and a quiet, fearless commitment. Any finish in a first-time sortie on this course is an astounding result, and his time of 14:45:50 tells only the surface detail of an ocean of sacrifice and willpower. Respect and admiration from us all, Damien – we look forward to seeing and cheering your return!
Each who came as a soloist to the 5.30AM starting line of the Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon has followed an incredible journey. For some, the lessons of this day were not gift-wrapped amidst exultation at the finish line. Sometimes, the wisest and most difficult choice is knowing when to remove oneself from the fray, to stage a tactical withdrawal in oder to rest, recover, learn from the experience and summon one’s resources for a future foray to the summit. Luke Healy and Peter Ward both came to this moment on their respective journeys and took that courageous step. We eagerly anticipate welcoming them both again and to supporting their next ascent.
THE TEAM PLAYERS – TEAMS OF 3
The gun combo of specialists, swimmer Kevin Chan, biker Jack Brand and runner Matthew Berrington – “Almost Functional” – was superbly functional on the day to command the field in the Open teams of 3, winning by half an hour in an eyebrow-raising 8:49:50. Ever-green Triple-Tri favourites, “Stuff the Puffs” (Ben Buchler, Dave Osmond and Matt Crane) returned for their umpteenth podium finish (why do we take such champions for granted? do they really make it look that easy?) to take second place in 9:18:35; with “What the” (Cory Dimmer, Gary James and Sam Moffitt) easing into 3rd in 9:46:05. “Shoklo’s Nifty Fifty M50” (Dick Haines, Marty McGready and Jeff Grey) were right up there with the leading men’s teams in taking out the Open T3 All Over 50s with their impressive 10:48:20.
Among the T3 All-Females, it was again 3 specialists – swimmer Alexandra Grant, biker Alice Patterson-Robert and runner Sasha Lee (aptly dubbed “Speedy AAS”)– who blazed the trail to win in 10:40:14 from 2nd placed “Triple Treat” (Emily Stacey, Katrina Cousins and Leanne Wilkinson) in 11:32:57; with “Is there wine” (Sam Reinhardt, Kaori Ikeda and Alina McMaster) mixing the disciplines to complete the podium placings with a wholehearted all-round 11:49:37.
“Team PTC” (Corey Bacon, Tristan Fuge and Monique De Abreu) mixed up the disciplines, with Corey completing no fewer than 5 legs, en route to winning the T3 Mixed Teams with a quality 10:11:43; from 2nd placed “McAleer’s Muskateers” (Josie Pepper, Ray McAleer and Dave Hardwicke) just a few minutes in their slipstream in 10:16:17; and “Go Contact Team 2” (Jared Tilley, Rodney Forrest and Andrea Forrest) earning 3rd with their 10:44:55.
THE ENSEMBLE CHARACTERS – TEAMS OF 4-9
New boys on the block “Seventy plus” (Lachlan Lewis, Paul Archer, Hugh Moore, Geoff Llewellyn, Hugh Crawley, Kevin O’Keeffe, Geoff Barker, Des Brown and Robbie Costmeyer – a few of whom are over 80), established a new category of Open T9 All Over 70 and duly created its record time of 15:13:50, arriving during the Awards Presentations to steal the show and plaudits from all comers. Their limelight was short-lived however, for they were followed closely across the line – and up the stairs to the awaiting, adoring throng – by another newbie team establishing another new category – the “Super 70s” (Lindy Dunn, Ann Ingwersen, Sue Archer, Brenda Day, Rae Palmer, Diana Schneider, Carol Taylor and Carol Baird) blazed a trail for T9 Female All Over 70 – and for all women, all athletes of any age and ALL humans susceptible to inspiration and sheer joy – emblazoning 15:25:09 as the high-water mark for future aspirants in this division. If these ladies ever decide to pursue other careers (and why not?), may I recommend music hall or show biz? A fantastic coterie of exuberance and prowess, the team were joined at the hip at every transition, everywhere lifting the spirits of everyone, seemingly lighting up all of Canberra in the process. Congratulations and deep respect to both over 70s teams!
In the younger All-Female Teams categories, veteran stalwarts of many Triple-Tris and Jindabyne Multi-Sport Classics, shyly-named “Go Go Girls - the (B)old and the Beautiful” (Margaret Hadfield, Annie Broadbent, Clare Wall, Helen Douglass, Peggy Douglass, Cathy Montalto, Elspeth Nicholls, Jeannie Douglass and Robyn McClelland) set a new T9 All-Female All Over 60 category record in the most impressive time of 12:38:54; while the 1st-placed T9 All-Female All Over 50s “Fab Fit Fems” (Andrea Teunissen, Sue Duckett, Sarah Rainbow, Leeanne Tennant, Elizabeth Lowe, Rosemary Robinson and Cat Riley) cruised home in 14:29:44. Among the T9 Under 50 All-Female teams, “Tri like a girl” (Emma Willett, Elise Palethorpe, Jessica Watson, Cate Dyer, Nikita Crabb Lauren Yee, Charlie Carroll, Sophie Lhuede and Thea Reinhardt) combined beautifully to win convincingly in 11:46:30; from 2nd placed “Triple Tri Brunettes” (Niki Hale, Clare Aubrey, Leah Hovenden and Kate Pennington) with a fine 12:08:21; not far ahead of 3rd-placed “Togs, Dunlop Volleys and a 10 Speed” (Anne Napier, Lucy Hannah, Cheryl Hutchins, Susie Kluth and Annette Braagaard) with 12:14:24.
For several years now, “Under the Radar” have set a high bar for themselves – and established an Himalayan bleep all over the event radar – as the pre-eminent team to beat at the Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon, invariably assembling a star-studded ensemble oozing speed, experience and class. This year was no different, with the addition of stellar teenage swimmer, Eskandir Gavel contributing all 3 swim legs. Joining “Skinny” and taking the blue-ribbon Open T9 championship as well as line honours yet again in a sizzling 8:24:05, were Matthew McAuliffe, James Minto, Robin Mules, Jasen Higuchi, Craig Benson, and stalwart David Medlock who proved he is not just there as nominal team captain and chief steward, but shaved a few seconds off the old course record for the 3rd bike leg with an astonishing 59:33 along the way – one of the toughest leg records to crack!
Nearly an hour later, “Inward Bound Withdrawal Syndrome” (Jim Trihey, Anthony Newman, Mikey Dimuantes, Julius Feldman, Tim Barnett and Ainslie Pahljina) were outstanding among the remainder of the field with 9:22:11; followed for 3rd by Goulburn’s pride and glory, “Giant 440 Woody’s 4 Pete” (Rod McWhirter, Michael Beard, Nathan Frazer, Andrew Dawes, Andrew Oberg, Jacqui Oberg, Rod Smith and Stefan Hese) in 9:34:23, one of their best returns ever!
“Gary’s Crisis Support Group” (Stewart Wood, Gary Polkingholme, Graeme Lyons and Tracey Josling) were fastest among the Open T9 All Over 50 with an impressive 12:31:42; while “Old Hack Remnants mark III” – Alex Gosman, Peter Igoe-Taylor, Trevor Jacobs and Peter Clarke – renewed their mortgage on the Open T9 All Over 60 category in fine style with 11:51:12 (eclipsing the Over 50s in the process).
“Resultz Racing” have established a formidable presence on the Canberra multi-sport scene in recent times, with another impressive formation of Michelle Welch, James Allen, John McPherson, Anna McPherson, Robert Joford, Matt Shadwell, Paula Curran, Matthew Jackman and David Sitsky taking out the T9 Mixed category in a quality 9:51:52. The blossoming family-inspired, ever-enthusiastic and wholehearted “KAOS”, this year comprising Cassia Cunningham, Rob Allen, Paul Cuthbert, Melissa Clarke, Tom Allen, Elwin Erme, Tara Sutherland and Ella Cuthbert claimed 2nd with 10:14:49; from “The Athlete’s Foot” (Hymne Truter, Kael Hulin, Thien Vuong, Amber Collins and Daniel Carson), impressive with 3rd in 11:00:05 (next year under 11 hours!)
T9 Mixed All Over 60 belonged this year to “Thorns n Roses” – Sue Bowden, David Baussman, David Webster, Petrina Quinn, George Kubitzky, Caroline Campbell, John Kennedy, Graeme Patrick and Rich Baussman – whose 13:49:57 set a new best time for this category which only themselves look likely to challenge in the foreseeable future...