Joey Lampe and Emily Donker win Coral Coast Triathlon at Port Douglas

The Cairns Airport Adventure Festival kicked off on the warm, sunny shores of Port Douglas this morning, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Coral Coast Triathlon – a milestone no other race has achieved n Australia’s rich triathlon history.

The Olympic distance course (1.5km swim, 40km cycle, 10km run) was hot and fast and played well into the hands of Joseph Lampe (Lennox Heads, NSW), who took out his first Coral Coast title.

An aggressive swim leg put Lampe almost two and half minutes ahead of his nearest competitor leading into the 4-lap cycle where he continued to put time into the rest of the field and extend his lead.

“I definitely had a plan,” said Lampe.

“I wanted to be first out of the swim and get a lead early and just maintain it the whole day – I was hoping to run them scared. 

“It was good having a nice flat cycle course; we had a headwind out and a tailwind back so I could really push it home.

“It wasn’t easy but I wanted to go hard and stay that way,” he added.

With such an extensive lead, Lampe was able to ease off towards the end of the 4-lap beach run, in preparation for his bid on the Cairns Half title next weekend (1.9km swim, 90km cycle, 21.1km run).

“I eased off a little bit just towards the end there, and hopefully I’ll recover in time for the Cairns Half.

I’ll have a bit of a rest and fit in a couple more training sessions – I should be fine,” he added.

Age-group competitor Rob Creasy (Christchurch, NZ) clocked the second fastest time of the day, taking to the course as a warm-up to next weekend’s inaugural Cairns Airport Challenge Cairns iron-distance triathlon (3.8km swim, 180km cycle, 42.2km run).

“This has been a really great event.  I’m really happy with my result and it was good to race in the warm conditions ahead of next weekend.

“I’m going to take the next few days to recover, enjoy the sunshine and hopefully have a good race next weekend,” Creasy said.

Germany’s Markus Hein, who claimed third place, also used the event as a final hit out before the half iron distance event next Sunday.

Exiting the water 3 minutes behind the leader, Hein was unable to make up time on the fast, flat course.
“He (Lampe) was such a fast swimmer and was too fast on the bike and the run – congratulations to him.

Hein is looking forward to going toe-to-toe with Lampe in the Cairns Half next weekend.

“I’ll be doing the Half next week so I will have another go at him but I think he might just be a bit too strong. I’ll definitely be trying my best though,” said Hein.

In the women’s field, Brisbane’s 20-year old Emily Donker took line honours.

“It feels pretty awesome to win – this is my first triathlon away from Brisbane so I had a bit of a challenge packing up my bike into the bike box yesterday and then unpacking it again last night.  But the conditions are fantastic up here and the crowds are great so I really enjoyed racing up here today.

“The conditions were really nice out there, no chop in the swim and the bike course was beautiful, you could see everyone as you went along the course, and it was nice and flat which was good, and the run along the beach was something different, most of the other triathlons I’ve done have road runs but I really enjoyed the beach,” said Donker.

Enjoying the break from Brisbane, Donker is keen to return to Tropical North Queensland next year.

“A nice warm winter is always nice, I’d love to come back next year to defend my title,” she said.
Amongst the competitors taking to the Coral Coast course for the first time were the ‘Coral Coast Legends’, competitors who have raced the event at least 15 years out of the events 30 year history.

Neil Parker raced his 24th Coral Coast Tri race – a number unmatched by anyone in the events history.

“I had a really great day – I raced the same time as I did last year, actually it was pretty much the same time as I did in my first race in 1986 so I’m pretty happy with that,” said Parker.

“The course was really good, the swim was a bit challenging, we had a few currents going, the cycle was good but the run up the beach was the best – it’s a great way to finish the race.

“The organisers have done a great job and I’m looking forward to coming back for my 25th race next year,” he said.

Eighty-year-old Thelma Bryan from Cairns competed in the team’s category, tackling the 1.5km swim.

“It was getting a bit rough out there for me but it was very good.  I was first here for the swim in 1983 so I am very pleased to still be here for the 30th anniversary,” she said.

In addition to the Olympic distance race, competitors of all ages and abilities took to the Enticer course (300m swim / 10km cycle / 2.5km run) and Sprint distance course (750m swim / 20km cycle / 5km run).

Also kicking off the week-long Cairns Airport Adventure Festival was the RRR Mountain Bike Challenge and the Hekili Great Barrier Reef Ocean Challenge which saw 50 crews of OC6, OC2, OC1 and surf skiers.  In total over 1000 competitors participated in the weekend’s events.

The festival continues in Cairns next week with the Quicksilver Reef Swim – Green Island on Thursday 2nd June, The Cairns Post Run for Cairns on Friday 3rd June and Junior Challenge Cairns – a triathlon just for kids on Saturday 4th June.

Visit Challenge Cairns website for full festival details


Finish Swim Cycle Run
Joseph Lampe Lennox Head, NSW 1:54:41 19:43:00 0:57:06 37:51:00
Rob Creasy Christchurch, NZ 1:59:09 21:24:00 1:00:09 37:35:00
Markus Hein Germany 2:01:06 22:09:00 00:59.0 39:54:00
Finish Swim Cycle Run
Emily Donker Carindale, QLD 2:16:34 26:36:00 1:09:03 40:54:00
Julie Sager Edmonton, QLD 2:24:34 28:42:00 1:07:36 48:16:00
Joanna Carman Palm Cove, QLD 2:27:06 27:20:00 01:09.4 50:01:00







Karl Hayes

Karl is a keen age group triathlete who races more than he trains. Good life balance! Karl works in the media industry in Australia and is passionate about the sport of triathlon.