By Tim Reed
It’s quite a simple recipe. Good prize money, an exciting, spectator friendly format and some of Australia’s best professional athletes. The Nepean Triathlon has once again established itself as one of the most exciting and competitive triathlons on the Australian racing calendar. The refreshing format involves the top 30 athletes from the main event going through to a â€˜super sprint’ round providing a potential pay packet just shy of $3000. Needless to say the professional starting list filled up as fast as the total number of permitted competitors.
The headline act is undoubtedly Pete Jacobs who pulled off an incredible performance at the Hawaiian Ironman world Championships. After copping the wrath of a very harsh passing penalty, Pete still managed the 3rd fastest marathon in the Hawaiian Ironman’s history, with a mind blowing 2 hour 41 minute run! Combine this recent form with Pete being one of the few guys in Australia who can swim in the same league as Clayton Fettel and regularly punch out 32 minute runs in non-drafting Olympic Distance triathlons and you may be labelled a fool to bet against him. Pete, ever the training minimilist, is not completely confident however. â€œ I’ve got to get in some riding this week, I’ve only ridden about 5 times in total over the last 5 weeks, and nothing longer than 40kms. Nepean could stretch me a bit.â€ Pete recently won the Olympic distance race at the Forster round of the triseries ahead of Mitch Robins who came second.
Winner of the recent Miami Equalizer Olympic distance triathlon in 1:51 Brendon Sexton and Jamie Hugget who placed 4th at the U23 World Championships will also be competing. While it’s hard to predict their form with this time of year normally involving some down time for ITU racers, it’s hard to see them not putting together a cracking 10km split and being prime candidates for the win should they got off the bike with the leaders.
Another strong contender to be taking the plunge into the pristine Penrith waters is Aaron Farlow. With two Canberra Half Ironman wins, many international short course victories and a close second in this event last year, Aaron will certainly be in the mix. However, there is little doubt the race shaper will be Clayton Fettel. Pete may get an ally to work with in Clayton’s killer swim/bike combinationshould they get a gap from the field in the swim. Pete sums up Clayton’s capability well. â€œHe is super fast in the water and on the bike, and I woudn’t want to give him any more than a 2 minute head start onto the run.â€
Triathlon legend Trent Chapmen has discounted previous winners Leigh Chapman and Adrian Cominotto, claiming â€œthey have spent too much of the offseason on the couch watching the Penrith Panthersâ€. Trent has picked Pete for the win and foresees a titanic battle for second between Mitch Robins and Brendon Sexton. Trent will not be competing due to injury and the risk of exceeding his annual training limit of 12 weeks prior to the Australian Ironman.
Mitch Robins, after only two years in the sport, has really stamped his authority as being the future of Australia’s triathlon prospects with wins over short and long course racing. Mitch spoke to Trizone earlier this week. â€œI think have pulled up ok from Port Half IM the other weekend. I’m a little concerned with how much racing and how little training I’ve been doing however I hope I can really tear up the 10km run. However the morning goes, the format will make it very exciting and fun.â€
Mitch’s final few words couldn’t ring more true and once again full credit has to be given to the race organisers. The Australian triathlon community has sadly witnessed the decline of world class triathlon racing on our home soil due to events refraining from offering decent prize money and exciting crowd/media pleasing race formats. Thankfully Australia’s oldest triathlon hasn’t forgotten what works.
Also the start of the race could see triathlon legends Mick Maroney and Spot Anderson mixing it up with the fast guys in the swim. Spot Anderson won this race in 1988 and has been seen training harder than ever recently. He is telling everyone it is for Ironman WA but we think he secretly wants to win at Nepean again.