It was age group ladies day at Lake Crackenback today for the historic opening day’s competition of the ITU Cross Tri World Championships in the Snowy Mountains.
And the 80-strong Australian contingent, aged between 20 and 68 all conquered the wilds of Lake Crackenback’s “trails and tribulations”, rocky creek beds and the technical off-road bike course.
In a tick over three hours, 49-year-old Sunshine Coaster Kim Beckinsale charged up the hill to claim her age group world title – the first woman across the line.
The super-fit multisport specialist from Noosa covered the 1.5km swim, 30km mountain bike and 10km trail run in stunning fashion.
It is the first time the World Cross Tri Championships have been conducted in Australia, attracting competitors from 28 nations with an Australian team of over 250.
But it was the impressive Beckinsale who showed just what amazing athlete she is to beat her younger rivals to win the world title.
“The course out there today was lightning fast – perfect conditions, everything went really well,” said Beckinsale.
“There was so much support on the course, thanks everyone for cheering me on, it’s just so great to have that Aussie support.
“It feels really special, we’ve had a big week at Noosa coaching and training for this week. I probably started doing off-road about 11 to 12 years ago and it’s probably taken a long time for people to get into it.
“It’s just so exciting to see so many people here having a go and so many Australian’s stepping up and getting into the off-road.
“The overwhelming support was for the course – everyone was full of praise for the effort and passion for the race organizers have invested,” she added
“It’s the environment, we’re out in the bush seeing the best, beautiful landscape in the world and go to the most beautiful spots in the world to race, and I think you just get to be amongst nature and breath fresh air, that’s what makes it really special.”
Second home overall and the winner of the 25-29 years age group was Victorian triathlon star and Australian champion Kate Bramley while amongst the other winners were former champion swimmer and ironwoman, fellow Victorian Naantali Marshall (40-45) and Gold Coaster Jenny Alcorn, who added world title number two after taking out her age group in the Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon at Kona earlier in the year.
For 41-year-old Anglesea “Super mum” Marshall it was another title to add to her long list of sporting achievements winning the Cross Tri world championship gold .
One of Victoria’s most decorated surf lifesavers and mother of two, ran through the pain barriers.
The Surf Lifesaving Ironwoman champion, Lorne Adventure Race winner, Australasian Multi-Sport Champion and swim star who was third in the Coolangatta Gold two years ago, showed all of her swimming prowess to emerge from the 1.5km Lake swim with a commanding lead.
So much so that she had officials and spectators alike were left scratching their heads, asking “how did she get here that fast” until they discovered who she was.
Marshall gave the younger age groups two minutes head start and swam through the field to come out well ahead.
The multi-sport specialist was quickly onto her mountain bike for the rugged 30km off-road course and at one stage had opened up a four minute lead.
She looked fresh as she moved smoothly through the transition from bike to start the 10km bush trail run around the wilds of the Crackenback hills and creeks.
“It was one of the most painful things I have ever done,” said Marshall.
“My back, my quads and hamstrings were ceasing up, which happens every time I do a land race – which shows (as a swimmer) I’m just not made for the land, but I was happy with my ride.
“I have not been able to run since May with Plantar Fasciitis but I was able to ride more and I produced one of the fastest rides of the day.
“But because of my run I only just managed to win, the girls were mowing me down with my very slow run…
“But while coming from a swimming and surf lifesaving background is good for m my ticker I just don’t get time to do enough cycling, especially with the two kids.”
The Championships will continue today (Saturday)
with the Age Group Men’s World Championship (8:30am); Elite/Under 23 Men and Women’s World Championship (2:30pm) and will culminate tomorrow (Sunday) with the Teams Relay World Championship (9:15am) and Under 19 Junior Elite and Para Triathlon World Championships (Noon).