ALL SMILES: Luke Gottke, who placed second in the Open Male category, and winner James Leonard.
ALL SMILES: Luke Gottke, who placed second in the Open Male category, and winner James Leonard. Taylor Battersby

Giving it their best 'tri'

IT WAS a day of splashing, spinning and striding at the annual Australia Day triathlon in Moranbah.

Participants donned their best active wear and shed a few Christmas kilos during the impressive event, which has become a fixture of the Australia Day long weekend in the Central Highlands.

Adult competitors completed an 800m swim, 20km bicycle ride and 5km run, while juniors did a 400m swim, 5km bicycle leg and 1.5km run.

The winner of the Open Male category, New Zealand native James Leonard, has competed at the annual event for five years.

Mr Leonard said he had called Australia home for close to a decade.

"I love it here. This is home now,” he said.

Mr Leonard was no stranger to council's Australia Day triathlons, having competed in them for years.

"This is about the fifth one I've done,” he said.

"I've actually had a pretty good run. I've done well with it.”

Mr Leonard, a lifeguard at Moranbah Aquatic Centre, said he had also raced in triathlons all over north Queensland.

"(I've done) all the local ones. Mackay, Bowen, Townsville, (and) a few up in Cairns for the Iron Man,” he said.

"(I) had a couple of goes at a few Mackay triathlons and I just got the bug. I'm addicted now.”

The Moranbah father said training for triathlons "takes over your life”.

"(It's) mostly just long, long hours on the bike. Round and round and round the block for five, six hour bike rides,” he said.

"(I) just swim, bike, run, swim, bike, run, all day when the kids are at school.”

The winner of the Open Female category was also an honorary Australian.

Originally from South Africa, Kimberly Joscelyne said she was pretty new to Moranbah and had only moved to town in early October.

"I thought it would be a nice way to experience the town and the people,” she said.

"I really enjoy exercise and it was advertised as a fun event. It was just a good day out on a Saturday, on Australia Day.”

Ms Joscelyne said she had raced quite a few triathlons in South Africa, which involved "training hard”.

"I usually do the Olympic distance ones so I do a lot of swimming and then a combination of cycling, then getting straight off the bike and going for a run,” she said.

Ms Joscelyne, an environmentalist for Anglo American, said council's triathlon was "lots of fun” and the area had "nice facilities”.

"(It had a) bit of spinning, bit of running, a lot of swimming,” she said.


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