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Q & A with Ian Ross and Sam Douglas on Sydney Sprints – Kurnell 2

The Sydney Sprints return to Kurnell on Sunday the 8th of April for the last time this season and will feature both Sprint and Super Sprint (Enticer) events. Doubling as the NSW State Championships, this event gives you the chance to take the State Champion title home along with bragging rights for the rest of the year. This is also the ideal event for juniors and newcomers to the sport, with the achievable Super Sprint distance making a return.

The team from Sydney Sprints sat down with two core members of the triathlon scene in NSW to discuss all things triathlon. Sam Douglas, head coach at Sydney Triathlon Group and elite athlete for over a decade, and Ian Ross, President of the Cronulla Triathlon Club, both donated their time to chat about their experiences at the prestigious Kurnell Triathlons over the years.

You can sign up online here and receive a free event T-shirt with your entry by registering before March 24th.

IR = Ian Ross

SD = Sam Douglas


How did you first get into triathlon, what year was it?

SD: I first got in to the sport of Triathlon in 2003 when I was about 11 years old, I went and watched my father race at Forster Ironman and spent the whole day chasing him around and was hooked ever since. 

IR: A mate and I entered the Royal National Park Triathlon in 1987 as a new challenge - we loved trying any and every sport. I did it again the following year and have been hooked since.

How many Kurnell Triathlons have you competed in?

SD: Quite a few, I have lost count, but it would be between 20 and 30 races with the plan to do many more in the future.

IR: Too many to count. I am proud to say I have finished every tri I have entered.

What has been the standout Kurnell event for you?

SD: I really liked the years when there was a draft legal wave at Kurnell. I think it was back in 2007 and it was called the NSW Pro Tour series. Out of the multiple times I have raced Kurnell I have only won it a couple of times, it's always a competitive race nice and close to home.

IR: A few years ago, I did the team event with my 2 sons. The youngest lad swam us into third place, I cycled and we were in first place, and then my oldest son ran us into second place. We have never forgiven him (jokes)

Sam, You are involved with the Sydney Triathlon Group, tell us a bit about how that is going and what's on the horizon.

SD: Yes, I have been coaching Sydney Triathlon Group (STG) coming up to 1 year now. It's been really good for me to cut me teeth in the coaching scene and the club is growing nicely. I find coaching helps me train smarter as I am consistently thinking about how to explain things to athletes to help them improve, which in turn keeps me thinking about technique during my sessions. I plan to continue to coach in Sydney and continue to race when I can with a few races coming up in the near future. 

And what does your current training program consist of?

SD: At the moment I am currently swimming 3 to 4 times a week approx 15 to 20ks, cycling just under 300ks on a big week and running around 50 to 60ks. It's a squeeze with coaching and working part time with Triathlon NSW but I like to stay busy and find it easier to train when I have structured time slots for sessions. I don't have much time to increase these numbers, so I find myself upping the intensity in a lot of sessions which helps me sleep well. 

Ian, how have you seen the Cronulla Triathlon Club grow over the years?

IR: From its earliest days when it was comprised of local surf club members the club has evolved to a real mix of athletes - from World Champions, to our up and coming juniors through to dedicated veterans like myself. Cronulla unofficially boasts the largest number of triathlon world champions world-wide. It is a sport that so relates to the Shire lifestyle.

And how do you balance your work life with training/racing?

IR: I try to get quality sessions in so that I am getting benefits while giving me as much time at home and at work as I need. Like all dedicated triathletes my lawn is 2 feet high - who has time to mow??? But seriously, I get in a ride or two to work each week which saves petrol, potential road rage and is sometimes as fast as getting there by car!

How does the Kurnell Triathlon rank on your list of triathlons in NSW?

SD: Growing up in Cronulla Kurnell was always my training ground, being able to race on your training ground was always fun. I rank it in my top 3 races within NSW. Convenient, safe fast course, and always competitive.

IR: It is a stand out event with a consistent course (except if the tide catches the swim buoys and sends them to La Perouse). For each upcoming race I encourage our members to either be out there supporting a race they only have to travel minutes to - or (if they are not racing) to volunteer and give back to the community and the sport they love.

Head to the Sydney Sprints website for further information on the NSW State Championship Sprint Triathlon or register online here now.

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