The open 2km beach run at the Australian Surf Lifesaving Championships at Coolangatta last night became the battle of the triathletes.
Cronulla’s Nathan Breen, Southport’s Shane Barrie and Northcliffe’s Ella Coates left road running behind for the day to make a successful switch to the beach.
Breen was a comfortable winner in the men’s race ahead of outstanding former Wollongong-based triathlete Barrie (Southport) – the son of 1972 Munich Olympic pentathlete Bob Barrie and Mitchell Palmer (Wanda), while Coates prevailed after a tough battle to take out her second consecutive title ahead of three-time winner Angela Leadbeatter (Swansea Belmont) and clubmate, former Manly competitor Mieke Kassulke.
It was a successful afternoon for the Breen family, with 19-year-old Nathan’s younger brother Christopher, also a budding triathlete winning gold for Cronulla in the Under-17 race.
“I’m very happy and it’s a relief to win,” Nathan said while covered by a sheen of sweat at the end of the race on a steamy afternoon.
The reigning Under-19 ITU triathlon world champion took charge of the race from the start and never looked likely to lose during the four laps of Coolangatta beach.
In the women’s race, Coates and Leadbeatter fought out the finish for the third year in a row, with the result the same as in 2016. In fact, the first three placegetters from last year finished in the same order.
Coates, who grew up in Tasmania but now calls the Gold Coast home, felt like an outsider on the occasions she ran past Leadbeatter’s enthusiastic support crew of her children and friends, but kept her focus to win by 15 metres.
“I was very nervous before the start because I hadn’t run on the sand for quite a while,” the 22-year-old said.
“But everything worked out OK and I’m stoked with the result – I didn’t want to lose the title.”
Coates’s time these days is mainly split between university study, part-time work and focusing on developing her triathlon skills.
She will take her Aussies 2017 winning formula into next week’s Gold Coast Triathlon.
Emily Wray (North Cottesloe) ran away from her rivals to win the women’s Under-19 race, with Courtney Young (Newport) and Sophie Hawkins (Seacliff) placed second and third.
In the Under-19 men’s race, New Zealander Hamish Miller (Mount Maunganui) was too good, finishing ahead of Joshua Stevens (North Bondi), who won the gold medal as the first Australian competitor, Jack Lund (Tallebudgera) and Callum Lowe-Griffiths (Kurrawa).
Another New Zealander, Claudia Kelly (East End) was first across the line in the Under-17 women’s race, followed by Wanda pair Chloe Gentle and Annika Durante, and Grace Kaihau (Noosa Heads).
Christopher Breen was followed home in the Under-17 men’s race by Charlie Verco (North Bondi) and Kyle Aimer (Alexandra Headland).
This article first appeared on www.sls.com.au