After a week of torrential rain, the sun was shining in Huskisson, NSW for the seventeenth year of the Shimano Husky Triathlon Festival. On Sunday the coastal town three hours drive south of Sydney, Huskisson played host to just under 6,000 athletes in a weekend of triathlon, ocean swims and fun runs.
This year a 15,000 strong crowd of participants and spectators were in for a treat with the professional athletes race set across a handicap and regular gender race format. A handicap of 29mins and 3 secs was established by taking the average finish gap between the male and female pro athletes over the last 3 years. This time gap would then be deducted from each of the female pro times after the race.
2022 saw the Shimano Husky Triathlon Festival double once again as the Australian Triathlon Championship in the Ultimates Distance (1.9km swim / 90km bike /21.1km run) and the Aquabike (1.9km swim / 90km bike) race.
A strong field of five professional female athletes took to the start where a hotly contested race ensued. First out of the water was Grace Thek, closely followed by Tracy Clinch and Chloe Hartnett.
Onto the bike Penny Slater took control moving through the places with a 2hrs and 20min bike split, taking the lead into the run, followed by Thek and Tracey Clinch.
On the flat and scenic run course it was Thek that came into her element, with great determination, recapturing the lead and pulling away from Slater on the second run lap. Thek finishing 30min and 20secs outside the male winner missing out on the handicap victory by a nail-biting 1min and 17 secs.
After the race race Thek said “it was a great race, I gave it everything I had at the end there to chase the handicap down, I was sprinting”. Thek finished in a time of 4hrs and 19mins with a 27min 3 secs swim, 2hr 26mins bike and a1hr 22mins and 28 secs run. The minor placings in the female professional race were taken by Penny Slater and followed by Tracy Clinch in third.
In the men’s race it was a roll call of Australia’s best male middle distance triathletes. Fourteen male professional triathletes took up the opportunity in a bid to share in the $20,000 prize purse, each hoping to etch their name on the winner board that features five time world champion Craig ‘Crowie’ Alexander six times and three time world champion Pete Jacobs twice.
Coming off the back of Geelong 70.3 last weekend all eyes were on South Australian, Steven Mckenna who had placed second in the Victorian race. Mckenna was not going to be treated to an easy race exiting the water alongside Caleb Noble and Tim Van Berkel. On the bike Van Berkel was able to pull away from Mckenna who had an early crash and Noble. Van Berkel had a monster of a ride taking the ride of the day with a bike split of 2hrs and 7mins.
Coming into transition it was apparent that 2021 Husky third place professional Noble was on a mission. In hot pursuit of Berkel, Noble took the lead approaching the halfway point of the run leg. There was no looking back from that point with Noble taking the 2022 Shimano Husky Triathlon Festival victory as well as the handicap win in a time of 3hrs 49minutes and 12seconds. (23min 47 sec swim, 2hrs 10min 53 sec bike and 1hr 11min 49 sec run) followed by Berkel in 3hr 52min 30secs and Cunningham in 3hr 54mins and 04secs
Prize money was paid down to fifth place in Male and female races as well as in the handicap. See below for top 3 male and female professional athletes.
Elite Female Elite Male
1. Grace Thek 1. Caleb Noble
2. Penny Slater 2. Tim Van Berkel
3. Tracy Clinch 3. Mitchell Cunningham
Congratulations to all Australian Long Distance and Aquabike Champions and competitors.