Athletes from across Australia remembered Jackie Fairweather in style with some epic racing in the heart of the nation’s capital today. Local athletes Nuru Somi and Ellie Hoitink showed their class and patience early on in the Elite Junior Draft-Legal race and then stepped it up a gear on the final run to claim victory in the inaugural Jackie Fairweather Memorial Triathlon. Nuru’s brother Daudi claimed the ACT Men’s Sprint Triathlon Championship, with 14 year old rising star Emily Watts the female title.
“It was very special being able to race on a course that we don’t get to usually race on and having people from across Australia here to showcase the beauty of Canberra, was epic. Having hometown advantage on a course that is extremely challenging, makes a big difference and definitely helped to secure todays win.” Daudi Somi
The weekend kicked off with the Retro Run 5km event on Saturday afternoon with runners getting their groove on to honour Jackie with a beautiful run which included 88 year old running and triathlon legend, Rad Leovic competing in his first event since recovering from a brain tumour earlier this year. His grit and determination to complete the run was reminiscent of the tenacity and drive that Jackie showed as a World Champion Triathlete and Commonwealth Games Marathon Bronze medallist. Emma Carney, Jackie’s main rival, also joined the run as a tribute to one truly remarkable athlete and person, who she shared some amazing battles on course at World Championship events through the nineties.
On Saturday evening the Jackie Fairweather Dinner was held to both remember Jackie and launch the Jackie Fairweather Research Fund. A fitting tribute was held by Emma Carney, Rob De Castella and Gayelene Clews. ABC’s Tim Gavel, the MC for the evening led an engaging and emotional discussion on Mental Health and Elite Sport. The June Canavan Foundation kindly donated $20,000 as the first official donation to the Fund, which will support research into mental health in sport.
With large storms hitting Canberra this week, the lake wasn’t suitable for swimming and a Duathlon event was staged instead, with over 400 athletes competing across a number of categories. Age group athletes were treated to a new cycle course that included the challenging National Arboretum road circuit with a testing climb over Dairy Farmers Hill that brought a few athletes to a walk. Dairy Farmers Hill was the talking point of the race with former Professional athlete and Triathlon Australia Board member, Mick Maroney mentioning that it was possibly “the best triathlon cycle course in the Australia”.
In the Elite Junior men’s race a lead pack of 6 formed on the bike, which include a mixture of youth and experience. Callum McClusky, was enjoying racing in front of a home town crowd as he run shoulder to shoulder with Nuru on the first run. Not far behind was Liam Burton, who has recently been nominated for the Winter Youth Olympic Games in Cross-Country skiing, and Jack Bigmore who is fresh from guiding local athlete Jonathon Goerlach to a world PT ParaDuathlon title in Adelaide recently. Out of transition, McClusky and Somi surged ahead, with experience edging out one of ACT’s future stars. Third across the line was, NSW’s Brock Taylor who had the edge on Bigmore into the finish.
“It was fantastic to have some top competitors to race against in Canberra. It definitely brings the best out of you and in a draft-legal format, which we haven’t see in Canberra for a while, creates another dimension, bringing the faster runners into play. The whole weekend was a great way to honour and pay tribute to Jackie Fairweather. I am looking forward to seeing the event grow in the future and bringing more world class athletes to race in Canberra, one of the world’s leading endurance sport cities. It was awesome to see the young ACT’ athletes Callum McClusky, Liam Burton and Jack Bigmore really stepping up at the event and continuing to develop” Nuru Somi
Ellie Hoitink continues to impress with a gutsy display in her first year as a junior. Ranked number one in Australia, as a Youth last season, Ellie found herself in a group of athletes on the ride, with her sister Grace ensuring the group rode at a high intensity. As they left transition, Ellie and NSW athlete, Emily Jamgotchian cleared away and set up for a great battle over the last 2km of the second run. Local support gave Ellie the edge, as she claimed title honours with an eight second win. Lauren Kerwick ran a super race to complete the podium 16 seconds ahead of Grace.
“I really loved the course with the undulating and technical sections out by the National Arboretum. Grace did a lot of work on the front of the bike today and I am running really well after a few weeks off due to injury. What a great way to remember one of sports absolute legends.” Ellie Hoitink
For further information, raw video footage and event photos, please contact Craig Johns at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0415 675 939
Triathlon ACT is the peak body in the ACT for the sport of triathlon, duathlon and aquathlon events for its members and members of the public. Its vision is to provide a high profile sport in the ACT growing participation rates from all age groups and competitor levels supported by highly professional leadership and administration. TACT values an environment, which encourages healthy, enjoyment, belonging and achievement. Website www.triathlonact.com.au