Any club can organise a race, but it takes a special club to organise an all-inclusive event for mixed abilities - at no cost to the participants.
But this is exactly what Tomaree Tri Club did, with the help of our 'Her Sport Her Way' grant for women's triathlon events. The friendly Hunter Region club opened their arms to women of all abilities on Sunday for their 'Women's TriFest', which was not only free to enter, but also included a free (champagne!) breakfast from one of their sponsors, Cheeky Dog.
Event video from Cal Cotter
It was beautiful weather at Salamander Bay for Sunday's event, which welcomed almost 90 participants in both individual and teams events. With a focus on 'Finish Lines, Not Finish Times', participants could use any sort of swim aid and any sort of bike. Participants and club members alike commented on the positive atmosphere, and how 100% of the starters completed the event.
One such starter was Jean Hardacre, "who was 79 years and 11 months old and finished with a sprint across the line - and then checked her watch to see what her finish time was. She wasn’t last across of the line!" explains Club President, Dean Morison. "I still get goosebumps thinking about it."
Alongside the smiling faces and teams with tutus and fairy wings, there were also some nervous first-timers who were made to feel welcome and supported. "One of the girls was so nervous at the swim start but two experienced girls from another wave (Janelle Wolski and Amy Ryan) volunteered to swim next to her," Morison describes. "She finished the swim, and Janelle and Amy ran back and started in their wave."
The event was a first for Tomaree TC, who regularly host races at their picturesque club course and have also put their hand up to host Round 4 of the Billigence Pathway Championship Series in January.
"An awesome day, so many highlights," says Morison. "The girls were fantastic, the spectators were fantastic, the weather was fantastic. We had so many volunteers put their hands up to help. There is already interest [from the participants] in our club race this weekend.
We also had heaps of Sponsors who came on board including the Cheeky Dog which provided breakfast and champagne afterwards and the Hula Hut who provided $350 of vouchers at their shop as well of a heap of other local sponsors."
We thank Tomaree TC for going above and beyond to deliver a great event for women in the Hunter Region, it is greatly appreciated.
Check out the event photos from DRJ Photography here.