Above: Competitors head off on the Emerald Duathlon.
Above: Competitors head off on the Emerald Duathlon.

Top fields lift duathlon to new highs

SUNDAY morning couldn't come quick enough for Emerald runner Matt Jewell and close to 50 others competing in the Emerald Duathlon.

Ahead of him was a 2km run, followed by a 20km bike ride and a further 5km run along Emerald's Opal St.

The weekend run took on a whole new meaning for Matt as it was also his first attempt at such an event.

With plenty of experience already under his belt in less competitive settings, Matt said he felt the distance suited just right.

But still, the long-distance slog didn't come without its heartache.

"I was pretty exhausted," Matt said.

"I've never really competed in a road, triathlon-type run before.

"There was a great atmosphere and it wasn't overly competitive."

The strong competitor turnout was good news for the duathlon competitors and good news for the newly formed Central Highlands Triathlon Club which hosted the run.

"It was probably one of our biggest ones yet... we would have had at least 40 to 50 people there," club spokesman Craig Johnston said.

The weekend's event also offered a junior category for the first time, across three age divisions and three distances.

Johnston said one of the most promising aspects was the number of new competitors, who like Matt, gave the duathlon a go for the first time on Sunday.

"We had bucket loads of first timers," he said.

With local events gathering momentum with every run, Johnston said the club was now trying to look more regionally and take their sport on the road to neighbouring Central Highlands towns.

He said all that was needed now was sponsorship and enough funds to purchase a trailer to transport the club's equipment to and from regional events.

The club also plans to stage even larger triathlon events - swim, ride, run - at the Fairbairn Dam in the future.

"Hopefully we'll be able to negotiate with SunWater to hold a few events out there," Johnston said.

"Logistically it's going to be a lot more difficult but it would be great if we could."

The Central Highlands club is also on the hunt for more membership with different packages offered for individuals and families.

For more information see Craig Johnston at Pushy Bikes in Emerald.

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