Off-road elites secure tickets to Townsville at Australian Cross Triathlon Championships

29 Feb 2024

Photo Credit: Delly Carr

Renowned for its challenging terrain, fast-flowing mountain biking trails, and off-road running courses, the TreX Cross Triathlon Snowy Mountains, held on Sunday, February 25, proved to be an ideal host for the 2024 Australian Cross Triathlon Championships. 

Multi-champion couple Ben and Jacqui Allen lead the change in the elite categories, both taking the tape in fiercely competitive races. 

Ben secured the title of Australian Cross Triathlon Champion after finishing the 1500m swim, 28km mountain bike and 10km trail run in a time of 02:17:33, beating out second placed Tom Fisher (02:18:18) and Daniel Luke (02:35:42). 

Queenslander Ben Forbes looked strong in the chase before a mechanical on the bike leg took him out of the race while Fisher did his best to run down Allen finishing second, with Daniel Luke third – the trio securing their spots on the Australian team for the 2024 World Triathlon Multisport Championships in Townsville. 

Allen said he tried to lead the swim strong and hang onto the race for a long as possible, knowing Tom Fisher would be “hot on his heels”.  

“He’s [Tom Fisher] is a phenomenal, world-class athlete. If there were a couple more km’s, he would have had me!”.  

Allen now has his sights set on settling into some hard training in the lead up to Townsville and said he “can’t wait race for Australia”. 

The competition was equally as intense in the elite women’s race, with Jacqui Allen taking the tape and Hannah-Lee Young securing the Australian Cross Triathlon Championship. 

Allen’s stellar performance saw her crossing the finish line first in a time of 02:42:22, although she remained ineligible for the Australian Championship title due to her affiliation with British Triathlon. 

The honour, however, found a deserving recipient in Young, who secured the second-place position on the day in time of 02:43:32 ahead of Laura Gillard (02:48:05). 

Lucie van der Schalk delivered a strong fourth-place finish on the day, securing the bronze in the Australian Championship race with a notable time of 02:49:02.15. 

Gillard came out of the water with Allen, followed by Young who put in a strong bike-run to take out the Australian Championship title, with Gillard and van der Schalk taking silver and bronze. 

Allen was in disbelief when she crossed the line first in the elite women, saying it felt good to be back racing strong, after recently giving birth to her new baby, Kai.  

She was surprised she held Young off in the final leg of the race, given she was only a minute behind.  

“She’s an extremely good runner. I think I gave her way too many tips in the last couple of weeks – because I’m her coach!” Allen said. 

“It was my experience that prevailed today. I couldn’t ask for a better result.” 

She spoke highly of the course, pointing out “the beautiful, ridable trail and amazing location” at Lake Crackenback Resort and Spa.  

“For anyone starting out in triathlon, this is the perfect course.” 

Having secured Australian Championship podiums, Ben Allen, Tom Fisher, Daniel Luke, Hannah-Lee Young, Laura Gillard, and Lucie van der Schalk have secured their spots on the Australian team destined for the 2024 World Triathlon Multisport Championships in Townsville. 

The Championships not only celebrated the achievements of elite athletes but also provided age group participants the opportunity to showcase their passion for the sport. 

The stake were high for the 200+ age group athletes, who were not only contenting for the prestigious Australian Championships titles, but were also aiming to secure valuable points towards qualification for the Australian Age Group team destined for the 2025 World Triathlon Multisport World Championships in Pontevedra, Spain. 

Australian Cross Triathlon Champions:

Elite Men:  
1. Ben Allen  
2. Tom Fisher  
3. Daniel Luke 
Elite Women:  
1. Hannah-Lee Young  
2. Laura Gillard  
3. Lucie van der Schalk 

15-17 Women – Ash Watts  
18-19 Women – Mercede Cornelius-Feltus 
25-29 Men – Samuel McNaughton 
25-29 Women – Keira Germech 
30-34 Men – Patrick Suthern 
30-34 Women – Belinda Pitt 
35-39 Men – Matt Kolega 
35-39 Men – Alexandra Keith 
40-44 Men – Joshua Pain 
40-44 Women – Lee  Klep 
45-49 Men – Ross Dougall 
45-49 Women – Nerida Higgins 
50-54 Men – Simon Nendick 
50-54 Women – Julie Kael 
55-59 Men – Murray Smith 
55-59 Women – Kerrie Gentle 
60-64 Men – Stephen Hanlon 

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