On a sunny Sunday 2nd of September (a Happy Father’s Day also) a group of very keen athletes got up early in the morning and took a road trip to compete in Race 2 of the Victorian Duathlon Series at Altona.
The thing I liked the most about Altona was how close to the course the beach was, it took my breath away. The course was doable for all athletes and there were coffee shops nearby for people to go and celebrate. At 8am the athletes were ready to go but there was a twist. If you were doing the dash you would be heading south, if you were doing the sprint you would be heading north. Before the moment of truth, the starting official gave all the athletes a briefing of the course and explained where to go. After that the official said “5, 4, 3, 2, 1, GO!” and 235 people were off and racing, trying to run like the flash.
The first leg for the sprint was a 5km run, 2km for the dash. Then a run through transition, remembering to put your helmet on and walk your bike to the mount line. You had to do three or two legs of the course while riding - stay to the left and overtake on the right only and do so carefully because there were some very fast riders that I think were ‘cheating’ because they had a jet pack engine, (that’s what I thought anyway!)
After the bike leg, you had to get off your bike and run into transition, get bike shoes off, get back into your running shoes then run like the wind. If you did the sprint, you had three more kilometres of running, or one kilometre for the dash. Then after all the hard work, you were done and running through the finish line a winner.
A couple of minutes later was the kids race that found my coach Liz Gosper leading the warm up. She made the kids do star jumps and run up and back a couple of times. After all of that, the kids did their run, went through transition and put their helmet on and went for a cruise on the bike. After they got off their bike, they went for another run to the finish line and gave their parents the biggest hugs and high-fives.
After all the presentations, everyone went home to celebrate Father’s Day or went to the football. It was a great day and Grant and his team have done it again. Well done.
The fastest man on the day was Kurt Mcdonald who smashed it with a time of 56:27. The fastest female was Rebecca Henderson who had the goods with a time of 1:06:20.
In the Dash, Tristan Price was fastest with a time of 33.38. Smashing work. The female winner with the fastest time was Lucida Rourke. She did her very best with a time of 36:27. Outstanding work to all the people who were the fastest in their races.
What I thought about the day:
I thought the day worked really well and the support that the spectators were giving was outstanding. As a venue I believe it gives the locals a sense of achievement and shows over local clubs and communities that that if you can get a big event like this one people will keep coming back and spending money and telling their family and friends “let’s go to Altona and go shopping, or go to the beach, or explore”.
Going back to the race, I felt the course was safe and the marshals were very helpful. One thing I can say is for transition running in cleats - it was very hard because the surface was concrete …. next time put mats down, so people can move quicker and not risk hurting their feet. Other than that, the day and event was great the course was marked very well with cones.
It was cool that the athletes got given free cups to use over and over, great marketing. I found it great and clever how registration and picking up race bibs was inside the local triathlon club rooms because it was next to a coffee shop. I could see people get their race bibs and grab a coffee or something. The race presentation was very well done - the mic system was great but in the middle, it stopped working and that made it hard to hear Grant talking but that did not matter. I helped Rob with giving the medals out and that was fun.
At the end of the day, all that matters is that all competitors had a cracker of a fun day. I would run it here again in the future. 10/10.
And a very special thanks to our friends at Western Suburbs Triathlon Club for putting on a great race. See you all at Race 3 September 23 in Ballarat. Remember, the start time is later (10am start) to give you time to drive up.
Harry Mezger is a Certificate 1 in Work Education (Sport) student at Victoria University and is currently completing work placement at Triathlon Victoria. Harry is also a keen triathlete, participating in triathlons with affiliated club, Inclusive Sports Training.