It was back to good old fashion country racing in Shepparton on Sunday with the sun out for a great days racing. This race is a staple for Victorian triathletes and on a great backdrop at Lake Victoria.
The sprint, standard and half iron distances on Sunday had a good portion of MEC athletes racing. It was fantastic to see the juniors racing on Saturday afternoon with a number of athletes watching on as their kids took on their own swim, bike and run with plenty of crowd support.
Sarah Hardy is on her way back from injury and made the trip up from Tasmania to do her first triathlon in over 12 months. Last months duathlon gave confidence that her body is doing well and Sarah chose to line up for the sprint distance to 'ease' back in. She made short work of the race with a great swim/ bike / run for where she is at, finishing first female overall. Great to see Sarah back and racing.
A shout out and congratulations to Bridie Meade who is a regular to the MEC group sessions and had a great race in the sprint finishing first in her 25/29 age group. Well done Bridie.
To the classic distance which gave those competing a little extra pinch with a 14k run rather than the usual 10k over this distance.
Talia Goddard showed she's getting her head around racing in triathlon with a good improvement in her race execution. Her ever strong swim had her first off the bike and managed a very respectable run only getting passed in the final stages of the run to finish second in her age group.
Shri Vasudeva opened her triathlon racing account for the season with her first tri since completing her first ironman in Cairns this year. The work Shri has done in the pool has her moving well in the water but like many she is learning to translate this to the open water. A good bike and fast finishing run had her run up into 4th place by the end. A good form finder as she builds into her season ahead.
Les Toth had his first test of the season and pieced together a well balanced race across swim, bike and run. Credit to the work Les has put in the water he is gradually getting out on the bike closer to those ahead making his strength on the bike more valuable.
The half iron distance had the biggest contingent with 6 MEC athletes racing, two of which was there first half distance.
Martin Sprong was one of those first timers and had a great showing in his first year of triathlon. What can only be described as a well paced race across the board, Martin finished crossing the line in 4hr 36min and a taste what middle/long distance racing is about. Some well earned down time for Martin before he takes aim at his 2nd year in the sport.
Naomi Wood had a fair race and is still looking to transfer her pool swimming improvements into the open water. A strong bike was the cornerstone of her day and she got off the bike to grind out a run that had her 5th home in her age group. Piecing the racing puzzle together takes time but Woody will take much away from this race.
Simon Miller lined up for his second appearance at the half distance and had a great day. Existing the water feeling comfortable he rode to plan and capped off the day with a good run making up several places in his age group and the 10th fastest run in his category.
Peter Howes is a hard worker both on and off the training track and pieced together a strong day on Sunday. As with many age group athletes getting the balance between work and training is important and Pete to his credit does this very well with a very labor intensive job. He finished well and stopped the clock in 5hr 12min for a good day at the office.
Sam Elliot is on the march to Busselton in a few weeks and on the rebound after a bike crash in September that left him with broken ribs. Much to his frustration being patient and allowing things to settle in his body has paid off and now being back training we sent Sam in untapered confident of a good day ahead of December. A good day he delivered getting home in 5hrs 10min and sending a shot across the bow to some mates Sam has a friendly rivalry with. Age group racing at its best with mate against mate!
Finally at Shepparton a story or two could be told by David Cunningham and his road to his first ever half ironman finish. David for those that don't know had heart issues a few years back that very nearly could have cost him his life. A reality check not only from the medical professional but also his coach that health is first before doing races and to hurry slowly towards his goals. Funny enough David has learnt that through smart training and 'slowing down' he has not only impressed his cardiologists with his improvements in his heart but he himself is improving in fitness. David lined up for a milestone achievement and got through well as his preparation indicated he would and crossed the line not only a half ironman finisher, but someone improving their lifestyle to live a healthy life. Well done David on a massive achievement.
Last but not least Sam Janssen took to the open water in the Western Australia open water swim series in Busselton. Going from strength to strength in her swimming Sam got through the 2.5k course finishing 4th in her category.