The heat was on at the ACT Sprint Triathlon Champs today at Acton Ferry Terminal. A clear and calm morning greeted 500 athletes as the battled for the regional title as well as spots on the Australian Team for the World Sprint Championships to be held in Chicago, USA in September.
The Open men’s field was loaded with very talented juniors mixing it with ACT’s best athletes and also world #3 Xterra triathlete, Ben Allen. The pace was frenetic off the start line with plenty of close contact as athlete’s hussled for positions leading into the first turn on the 750m swim. Experienced athletes Rob Skillman and Adam Rudgley along with super quick junior Max Stapley were able to put a small gap on the field going into the swim exit with ACT’s hottest triathlete, Nuru Somi and another talented junior Conor Sproule nipping at his heels.
Ben Allen and Jacqui Slack_Photo Jeffrey Chan
Onto the 20km cycle and the experienced trio of Somi, Skillman and Rudgley blew the field apart with the electric pace. Callum McClusky had a brilliant transition to join the juniors as they were taken to school by the experienced senior athletes. Somi used his experience to lead onto the 5km run along Lake Burley Griffen recording a slick 15min53sec 5km run to break the finishing tape in 55min12sec. Rudgley had a standout performance keeping within 37 seconds of Somi to claim second ahead of the ACT Duathlon Champion, Skillman. Stapley, McClusky and Sproule pushed each other to the limit in the Junior race with only 15 seconds separating them on the line. Stapley pipped MClusky on the line, with both going under the magic 1 hour barrier.
Somi used his racing knowledge to claim today’s title. “I got some confidence being able to gap Rob and Adam towards the end of the bike, and I knew if I could run well I should be able to get the win. The atmosphere was awesome, one of the best I have witnessed at a race in Canberra. The triathlon festival environment that was created by having a wide range of events for all ages, and the small village with massage and ice baths made it a fantastic experience for everyone.” With Huskisson Long Course and Challenge Batemans Bay coming up, Somi will now turn his attention to the long distance events.
Rudgley was delighted with his second place today. On his game plan to take next year’s title, “I'm just working on consistency, and making sure I'm staying injury free to hopefully slowly improve over the next 12 months. I enjoyed getting to race a local race in front of my family and friends as well as getting to race some of the best triathletes in Australia. There was a bit of trash talking before the race between mates which keep it interesting without too much pressure.”
Skillman was planning to use Allen as a pacesetter on the swim. “I was originally happy to grab Bens feet but I got them then realized I could just go for it and opened a small gap with which I tried to extend on the bike”.
UK super star triathlete Jacqui Slack, proved that the heavy training load while basing in Canberra during the summer wasn’t slowing her down. Leading out of the water, she was briefly passed by ACT athlete Jennifer Bardsley on the bike, before pulling away on the run with a fast finishing 18minute 5km. Moving into second and third places were super fish Alexandra Brown and quick cyclist, Kym Ireland.
Penny Slater had an outstanding race clearing out to a two and a half minute lead over young up and coming juniors Kobi Kiraly and Ayla Rudgley.
Slack congratulated the crowd for their tremendous support. “It was amazing atmosphere out there on the course today. It’s great to see so many young kids participating and some of them were really quick.” Slack has based herself in Canberra, with her partner, world number 3 Xterra triathlete, Ben Allen, for the summer. “Canberra is an endurance athlete’s heaven. The cycling and cycle paths are world class. We love the training environment herewith the dry weather and quiet roads. Its a perfect way to start the season as we build towards the ITU World Cross Championships and the Xterra World Championships in Maui, Hawaii.”
For further information on Triathlon in the ACT region please contact Craig Johns at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Triathlon ACT website. Please click here for full results.
Triathlon ACT inc. (TACT)
TACT 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.