Athletes gear up for Emerald tri

Riders on the hunt during the bike leg of the Emerald Triathlon at the weekend.
Riders on the hunt during the bike leg of the Emerald Triathlon at the weekend. Sam Woods

TRIATHLON hit top gear in Emerald at the weekend with the sport’s first running in the Central Highlands town in a number of years.

Close to 60 competitors from right around Central Queensland pulled on the togs, strapped on the racing pedals and laced up the running shoes in the pure test of endurance.

Some chose to tackle the Rundle Park circuit as part of a team of three, with each competitor completing either the swim, ride or run leg of the short or long-distanced courses on offer. Others, feeling a little more adventurous, could opt to complete the entire circuit as an individual entry.

For many involved it was their first taste of triathlon and by all

accounts a thoroughly enjoyable, albeit physically exhausting, experience.

Alissa Herman ran the final 5km leg in the team entry, after a gruelling 16km ride by team-mate Scott Lanbourn and 600m swim in the pool by Troy Mattson.

“It was good... but tough, real tough,” Alissa said post-race while sucking down some much needed fluids.

“The last three laps were the worst, but we got there in the end.”

She added that after her first triathlon experience, the bug has already bitten and she wouldn’t hesitate about sticking her hand up for another event should the opportunity arise.

The short-course event may have seemed more like a gallop for Leah Cheal from the Frenchville Frogs Triathlon Club in Rockhampton. The triathlon veteran blistered ahead of the opposition to take out first place overall in the individual category with a final time of 1:02:52.

“It was great having the crowd in there nice and close, cheering you on every time you went around,” she said.

“We were supposed to be running in a competition in Mount Archer, but gave it up to come out here and give Emerald a run.”

She said after a promising beginning to Central Highlands triathlon, the emerging club has full support.

“I’ll be back for sure.”

Triathlon race co-ordinator Craig Johnston said the event achieved what they had originally set out to do.

“There were a lot of people new to the sport that hadn’t really had much experience with triathlon before,” he said.

The minor hiccup with the course route, Johnston said, actually turned out to be advantageous.

“We had to alter the course a little, but it turned out great. It was really easy to manage and we had some good feedback, especially from the spectators.”

Johnson said after a successful meet, the prospects look promising for the emergence of a strong and dynamic Central Highlands triathlon club early next season.

“Everyone was a little worried about the numbers, but it was fine – couldn’t have asked for more.”

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