When you sit back and look at the history of the Triathlon NSW Club Champs, a few names come to mind.
Individual triathletes who embody what the event is all about, individuals who represent everything that has made the Club Champs such a success over the years and individuals who would do anything - leaving it all out on the course, just to earn one more point for their club. Today, we chat to one such individual.
Hailing from Dee Why, Ms Merri Mack will line up for her 28th Club Champs come May this year, as she enters the water at Forster Main beach, representing her pride and joy - the Balmoral Triathlon Club.
In all honesty, she isn’t really sure if this will be her 28th Club Champs...because she has lost count!
“I’ve competed at every single TNSW Club Champs, I think. Since the event started, I've missed one because I was overseas," Merri advised us.
For Merri, her love of club champs flows from her ability to represent Balmoral Tri Club, of which she is proudly an inaugural member. She was there when the club started and remains there today. Yes, other clubs have come knocking, encouraging her to shift her alliance but this idea never entered her thoughts. She bleeds purple and will remain a Balmoral Tri Club member as long as she is physically able!
Why Balmoral Tri Club you ask?
“Well, you can't ask for a more scenic environment to do triathlon than Balmoral. It offers safe roads for cycling, flat harbour swimming and running in the bush, on bush tracks,” Merri proudly advises.
Other than that, Merri’s fellow club members are friendly and welcoming and the club offers regular training events and triathlons as well as triathlon for kids and a female only triathlon, open to triathletes from all corners.
We asked Merri what her favourite Club Champs course is from over the years, and a wide smile appears as she thinks back on her 28 year history at the event.
“I’ve loved them all, but my favourite is probably Port Stephens closely followed by Forster. The current club champs course has some tough hills and you have to be on your game to finish it. I have seen both men and women walking up one particular hill. But not me! It’s my sense of pride and sheer determination that gets me up it each year. I hope I can this year!”
The best thing about Club Champs, according to Merri is the opportunity to see friends from far and wide that she might only see once a year - and with COVID lockdowns and limited travel Merri (like us all), has been starved of this. So it is friendship and the fabulous support from the whole triathlon community that keeps her coming back for more.
“It's pure gold. It is also a sense of accomplishment to compete and finish”.
For someone with such a long history in the sport, we asked for her career highlights.
Without hesitation, she replied "Winning my age group against fierce competition in Club Champs and scoring maximum points for Balmoral is pretty good. But I would say outside Club Champs, competing in the Ironman at Kona on the big Island of Hawaii was memorable especially in the year Greg Welch won!"
Merri has secured her position on the start line, will you be joining her?