Report by Tri Alliance Coach Sarah Grove
It was predicted to be one of the hottest days for racing in Melbourne for the Inaugural and much anticipated Challenge Melbourne, and Melbourne didn’t hold back.
The day started off with perfect conditions, a flat, fast and easy to navigate swim course meant we were looking for some lightning fast swim times, however a buoy had drifted before the race start which meant a slightly longer course was swum by all competitors. But not to despair, the conditions were perfect none the less.
On the bike and just watching from the side lines you could tell that it was going to be a fast day. Not very often on beach road do you have next to no wind, and the day hadn’t warmed up too much during the bike leg, so bikes were flying in the still conditions and slightly undulating course. The 3 lap course meant for a busy bike leg, which helped some but hindered others, but overall it was a great day on the bike for most.
Onto the run, and this is where the ‘fun’ started. Athletes started hitting the pavement from around 9.30am onwards, and those in early waves were keen to get the job done quickly to avoid the brunt of the heat.Conditions stayed didn’t quite get as hot as earlier predicted, but ask any athlete out there, and they will tell you it was damn hot! And the run course set out was not an easy one, with a couple of nice little hill climbs each lap to keep the legs honest.
Our athletes, friends and families who helped out on the run aid stations provided for a much needed boost (and cool down) on the run, and it was fantastic to be able to spectate while providing assistance to athletes. But can we just say, if you have never volunteered at one of these type of events before, you should! It is damn hard work, but the satisfaction is amazing, and it makes you appreciate the volunteers that much more when you do your next race. “It felt good to give back to the sport and experience how hard, intense (and fun!) an aid station can be..’ one of our athletes said when we finally finished the day around 2pm in the afternoon.
So well done to everyone who was out there on Sunday – whether that be racing, volunteering or supporting. Each one of you made for a great days racing!
A huge congratulations to our two podium finishers:
TRENT HARLOW 2ND Male 40-44 (second only to David Meade of all athletes!) in a time of 4:14:01, including a blistering run of 1:21:06. On speaking with Trent post race, we asked him how he found his first long distance triathlon and he looked me square in the eye and said “you are all mad – that was bloody hard!” With a wry smile, I thought to myself, you are now one of ‘them’ Trent. Well done, and we look forward to seeing you go around at Ironman Melbourne.
CATHERINE ALLISON 2ND F25-29 in a time of 4:35:05. Catherine had a solid swim, cracking bike and finished it off with a strong run. She was right up in the mix all day, and in the end was beaten by just a couple of minutes. This was Catherine’s second podium finish at the Half Distance since joining Tri Alliance last year, ‘Couldn’t have done it without your amazing program and support’ she said after the race. And with even bigger goals ahead, she is one to continue to watch.
The sub 5 hour mark for a Half distance is sought after by many athletes, and we had 15 athletes break that mark. Our Team of advanced Ironman athletes setting the bar, including Brett Archbold, Cameron McConville, Ollie Allan, Tim French and Jody Biddle. With Cam having the race of the day between these boys. Half Distance specialists Dan Brueckner, Tim Grant toughed it out, while Geoff Taylor came in 4th M55-59 and Blake Henry having a great overall race heading into Ironman Melbourne also.
With so many athletes its hard to mention everyone, but well done also goes to Chris Mutimer, Brad Campbell, Peter Hinrichsen, Margaret Mielczarek, Michelle Bond, David Plush on their overall races.
There were a number of athletes who chose not to or were unable to complete the run distance of the full course, however most were training through for Ironman Melbourne, so with bigger things to come you can look on the bright side for your training ahead.
We also had 9 athletes who chose to race the shortened distance (1.9km/60km/14km) for varying reasons, and it was fantastic to see them all out racing and hurting themselves (or do we mean having fun?) 😉 just as much as the rest of the team. So well done to Brianna Scarlett, Paul Venner, Robyn Bourke, Evalin Ling, Dale Beehre, Matt Head, David Inglis, Jeanette Linehan and Laura Swasbeck.
There was much discussion about Challenge allowing athletes to do this, but in a sport that needs athletes to continue to race year in year out, I believe this was a great initiative and meant more athletes could complete the course that potentially would not have. So well done to the Events team on making the decision.
Overall, from the sidelines, this Challenge race appeared to be a huge success, with the biggest talking point post race being the beer at the finishing line and the ice baths available for athletes! You don’t see that at every race. 🙂
We look forward to seeing more of the Challenge races in Australia over the coming years.
Click here to view Tri Alliance athlete results
Click here to view a selection of pictures from the race (thanks to Tim Salt for the awesome pictures!)
Click here and here for pictures from the event courtesy of SuperSprint Events