An Australian charity have pulled off a world first, staging an official London Triathlon event in Ballarat in below freezing conditions.
It was the first time a team outside the United Kingdom were accepted as official participants in the London Triathlon, to hit the starting blocks at the same time as the London participants.
Kicking off the Ballarat race at 9.30pm on Saturday 2 August, Ballarat trio Greg Solomon, Brad Fry and Geert Vrij took on Ballarat’s below freezing weather to ride, run and swim to help raise funds for local charity Mitrofanoff Support Australia.
The Poms may be a little regretful to have said yes to their Aussie competitors, who completed the race in 2hours and 33 minutes and 32 seconds, to finish 82nd out of 560 teams in the Olympic distance event.
The Ballarat team also finished before three other partner teams raising funds in London for bladder health.
“It was freezing, we must have picked the coldest night in Ballarat,” team captain and co-founder of Mitrofanoff Support Australia Greg Solomon said.
Supporters and race organisers braved the -2 temperatures to cheer on Geert Vrij who kicked off the triathlon at 9.30pm on Saturday with her 1,500 swim at Ballarat Grammar School’s indoor pool before Brad Fry cycled a 40km leg around Lake Wendouree. Greg Solomon completed is 10km run around the Steve Moneghetti track at Lake Wendouree to finish the event at midnight.
Race Co-ordinator, Janelle Solomon said we were really fortunate to have the support of Triathlon Australia to stage this event in freezing conditions and at night.
“Our thanks go to Brian Hinton for coming up to Ballarat to ensure our race was run to international triathlon standards.”
“We were overwhelmed with the amount of support generated for the event from Triathlon Australia and local businesses including H Studios who took all of the amazing photographs,” she said.
With such success from their first time entering the triathlon and simultaneously running the event, Greg Solomon said there was hope that this was the start of a much bigger annual event.
“We’re keen to make this even bigger next year and open it up to more teams.”
Solomon whose daughter was born with rare congenital condition, bladder exstrophy, said the cause far outweighed the cold conditions on the night.
“When our daughter was diagnosed, the surgeons and nurses in Australia were great, but there was no support system once the surgery was over so that’s why we started Mitrofanoff Support Australia,” he said.
“It’s an unglamorous thing to talk about, people suffer in silence because you never really hear much about bladder dysfunctions.”
“At the end of the day we just want people to know we’re here.”
According to Mitrofanoff Support Australia, 4.8 million Australians are believed to be living with some degree of incontinence.
To make a donation - http://run.gofundraise.com.au/page/mitrofanoffaustralia
Photo credit: H Images