Positive start for Olympic Hopefuls Emma Jackson and Courtney Atkinson

Beijing Olympian Courtney Atkinson opened his London campaign with a strong performance in his first race of the season at the Seven Sunshine Coast Enduro Triathlon at Caloundra this morning, while Emma Jackson took a step closer to her Olympic dream with a convincing win over the unique ‘battle of the sexes’ format.

Emma Jackson
Emma Jackson

The tough Enduro race saw the elite competitors tackle a 400m swim, 7km cycle and 1.8km, followed by another 200m swim, 7km cycle and 1.8km run in warm, steamy conditions.

Emma Jackson took line honours and the $500 bonus up for grabs after the female field was given a 4 minute and 50 second head start on the men’s field.

However Atkinson clocked the fastest time, showing his class and experience at this type of racing.

He emerged from the first swim leg in a large pack of eight including Kenmore Hill’s Ryan Fisher and Kallangur’s Drew Box.  The tight pack stuck together early on in the first cycle leg, before Atkinson, Fisher and Box broke away from the group and headed into the first run leg where Atkinson really started to show his form.

Atkinson continued to extend his lead in the second swim leg, before making the tactical move to drop back to the chasing two, before amping back up for the final run leg.

“I used to love racing this format when I was younger, where I used to try and get away to race the whole second half of the race by myself, but I’m a bit of a different athlete to that now and the sprinting doesn’t come as easy,” said Atkinson.

Following a tough 2011, he is looking forward to showing his form ahead of Olympic selection races coming up.

“I just love racing, but last year, for the first time in 13 years, I had a really bad year and it was really hard but today has proved that it is the first step for me, in an Olympic year to show that my form is here and I’m looking forward towards London come August.

“Training over summer is back to normal, I hate making excuses, so put simply last year was a shocker, but I haven’t lost it, it’s still there and I’ve got a few big months coming up in regards to selection.

“It’s not just the Australian Team I’m looking at, the reality is, if you want to go to London and do something you’ve got to be ready to race the rest of the world, not just Australia.  So it’s baby steps at the moment, I’ve showed that I’m back in form, next step is to do Olympic Distance and show I’ve got form and then it’s heads down for London,” he added.

Ryan Fisher took second place ahead of third place getter, Drew Box..

“It was tough out there.  To be honest we don’t really do a lot of this type of racing and it’s very different to the Olympic distance which is what I am used to.  It might be shorter but it can definitely be harder, doing the format twice, especially doing the swim the second time, it never feels great.

“I didn’t expect to see Courtney (Atkinson) here today, but that’s who you want to be racing, someone who will push you so you can see where you are.  I’ll be racing Devenport Oceania Championships in early March then hopefully off to Mooloolaba ITU World Cup 3 weeks later,” said Fisher.

20-year-old Jackson established herself in the small but quality women’s field from the outset and set her win up in the second half of the race.

Jackson exited the first swim to cycle transition with Victorian, Erin Densham and Liz Blatchford from Great Britain.  The three remained tight during the first half of the race, before Jackson established a lead in the second swim.  It was the second cycle and run where Jackson broke away from Densham and Blatchford, establishing a strong lead that could not be matched.

“I was really happy with my second cycle and run, I was surprised I managed to get ahead of the other girls.  I’m very happy with my result,” said Jackson.

“This race is definitely different to the Olympic distance that I am used to, I did this event two years ago and loved it – it’s great fun out there.

“I’m very happy with how my preparations for Olympic selection are going.  I’ll do Devenport (Oceania Championship) next month and then Sydney to hopefully get selection into the Australian Olympic team,” she added.

Densham has worked hard over the past three years to restore her body to good health and fitness.

“I really just wanted to see how I was racing and to have a little bit of fun.  I love the idea of this format.  It’s always fun, it’s always fast, it’s always hard and basically it’s anyone’s game when it’s this short.

“It’s harder in the sense that you need to make quick decisions and little errors can make a big difference in the result, but you learn from them and capitalize on them next time,” said Densham

Densham will head to Geelong next weekend to contest the Australian Sprint Championships.

Earlier in the day, 16-year old Christian Wilson from Hervey Bay and 19-year-old Sarah Deuble took out the open category in the Gatorade Queensland Tri Series in hot, steamy conditions.

“This is my first Gatorade QLD Tri this season so it’s really good to come away with a win,” said Wilson.

Wilson handled the 400m swim, 15km cycle and 4km run skilfully, working with a tight group of eight that included Series Leader Michael Hooper, Sunshine Coast’s Matthew McCosker and Jake Freeman, in the swim and bike leg before taking the lead in the run.

“My coach told me to stay at the front in the swim and work the bike as hard as I could against all of the other open athletes.  Then work is even harder on the run, so it all paid off,” he said.

Wilson’s athletics background put him in good stead on the run leg, establishing a 38 second lead to claim line honours ahead of Albany Creek’s Matthew Roberts and Carina’s Dylan Holdsworth, who crossed the line in third place.

In the women’s event, Deuble finished ahead of Burpengary’s Emily Bevan and Kenmore Hill’s Anna Coldham.

“I didn’t really have a race plan. I just wanted to hit it hard in the swim as much as possible, but that didn’t really happen, so then I worked as hard as I could on the bike before heading out onto the run,” said Deuble.

Deuble broke away from the pack during the 4km run to finish 46 seconds ahead of Bevan and Coldham who claimed 2nd and 3rd places respectively.

“I had a bad transition before the run but I have a running background so I gave it everything I had, and it worked out really well for me. I’ll be at the next QTS race at Raby Bay so hopefully I’ll do well there too,” she added.

MotoGP and World Superbike Rider, Chris Vermeulen swapped his 1000cc World Superbike for pedal power as he hit the course with the age-groupers in his first triathlon.  While he’s used to clocking much faster lap times he was pleased with his result.

“It’s definitely a bit slower than I am used to but I had heaps of fun,” said Vermeulen.

“I beat all of the guys I train with so that’s the main thing,” he joked.

Caloundra once again proved to be a popular venue attracting record numbers at the event with just under 2000 competitors taking part across the three distances.

The day also included the Fire & Rescue Recruiting Queensland Enticer Triathlon which continues to be a popular choice those just keen on keeping fit and having some fun.

Just for the kids was the Kool Kids Triathlon, again recording numbers covering short distances that any child could manage making it a fun experience – 100m swim, 2km cycle and 400m run.

Seven Sunshine Coast Enduro – Elite Male
1. Courtney Atkinson Mermaid Waters 40:10:00
2. Ryan Fisher Kenmore Hills 40:14:00
3. Drew Box Kallangur 40:28:00
4. Cameron Good Fairlight 40:51:00
5. Joshua Amberger Everton Hills 41:04:00
Seven Sunshine Coast Enduro – Elite Female
1. Emma Jackson Joyner 44:52:00
2. Erin Densham VIC 45:29:00
3. Liz Blatchford Great Britain 45:38:00
4. Chloe Turner Buderim 46:55:00
5. Kirralee Seidel Buderim 48:23:00
Gatorade QTS – Open Male
1. Christian Wilson Hervey Bay 41:46:00
2. Matthew Roberts Albany Creek 42:22:00
3. Dylan Holdsworth Carina 42:36:00
Gatorade QTS – Open Female
1. Sarah Deuble Mt Ommaney 46:13:00
2. Emily Bevan Burpengary 47:01:00
3. Anna Coldham Kenmore Hills 47:42:00

 

 

Seven Sunshine Coast Enduro – Elite Male
1. Courtney Atkinson Mermaid Waters 40:10:00
2. Ryan Fisher Kenmore Hills 40:14:00
3. Drew Box Kallangur 40:28:00
4. Cameron Good Fairlight 40:51:00
5. Joshua Amberger Everton Hills 41:04:00
Seven Sunshine Coast Enduro – Elite Female
1. Emma Jackson Joyner 44:52:00
2. Erin Densham VIC 45:29:00
3. Liz Blatchford Great Britain 45:38:00
4. Chloe Turner Buderim 46:55:00
5. Kirralee Seidel Buderim 48:23:00
Gatorade QTS – Open Male
1. Christian Wilson Hervey Bay 41:46:00
2. Matthew Roberts Albany Creek 42:22:00
3. Dylan Holdsworth Carina 42:36:00
Gatorade QTS – Open Female
1. Sarah Deuble Mt Ommaney 46:13:00
2. Emily Bevan Burpengary 47:01:00
3. Anna Coldham Kenmore Hills 47:42:00
Karl Hayes

Head of Rest and Recovery

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.