NSW triathletes Jake Birtwhistle and Natalie van Coevorden have won the men and women’s races at the 2016 Hamilton Island Triathlon, the results putting an exclamation on their strong form at the back end of the season.
Contested over a sprint distance on the hot and windy hills of Hamilton Island, Birtwhistle successfully defended the title he won in 2015, while adding another win to his victory a handful of weeks ago at the Nepean Triathlon in Sydney, and a second place at the Noosa Triathlon a week later.
Rounding out a year that included narrowly missing Olympic selection, and a great end of season, Birtwhistle declared that this year’s race on Hamilton Island had been one of the toughest yet.
“It’s a bit of a relief to come back and do it again,” Birtwhistle told Triathlon Australia.
“It is a tough course. I think it is the hardest race course I’ve ever done.
“The hills, heat, it has every aspect to make you race hard. It’s a challenging but very rewarding race.”
Meanwhile van Coevorden made a lasting impression in her debut race at Hamilton Island, the win icing on the cake following a pair of second place finishes from the Nepean and Noosa triathlon events.
“I was pretty confident after Noosa two weeks ago. I’m pretty stoked now,” van Coevorden explained.
“It’s a great way to end the season.
“(The race) was tougher than I expected but it’s all part of the challenge. I loved the beach swim.”
Fellow NSW athlete Charlotte McShane claimed yet another third place in what has been a consistent run of form across the Nepean, Noosa and now Hamilton Island triathlons.