Overall winner Shane Farrant. He is looking good for 2013 under Corey Bacon and the PTC squad. (Photo from the recent Canberra Sprint triathlon)
Shane Farrant and Melinda Vernon took out the overall titles at the RMB Lawyers trithegong in Wollongong on Sunday.Once again Elite Energy split the sprint triathlon in to male and female events. This was a huge hit at Huskisson recently and in particular the women enjoy not having to contend with fast male swimmers overtaking them in the water and also they love the extra space on the bike course. It does add an extra event to the day which creates more organisation but lets hope it stays.
With no open category it was not obvious who was leading the race until the results were posted. Farrant was racing his team mate Daudi Somi in the same age group. Always threatening however are two of the sports greats in Jason Metters and Mick Maroney. On Sunday Shane just managed to hold off these two former pros by 32 seconds in the overall timing. Metters and Maroney pushed each other throughout the entire race with nothing separating them. These guys are still racing almost as fast as they were twenty something years ago. They are a constant inspiration to all age groupers who wish they had large amount of what these guys have.
This is the sort of race Mick loves. “I thoroughly enjoyed this race. I thought it was a challenging course and a lot of fun.”
Also pushing the young guys was Andrew Cross and Matt Webster. Webster is loving being fully back in to triathlons after dabling around in other sports such as pure running and the odd adventure race. His run time of 19:16 was the third fastest of the day. (On the subject of times the swim was short and the run was long hence the times below).
Farrant did not have it all his own way. “I led out the swim leg from my squad mates Robbie Skillman and Daudi Somi (these guys all train under Corey Bacon’s Performance Triathlon Coaching in Canberra) but I knew they would be hot on my heels. Out onto the bike and my legs felt good. I was able to put a small amount of time in to Daudi and a bit more in to Robbie. I built a little bit more of a lead over the challenging bike course.”
Out on to the run course and event though Farrant had built a slight lead he knew that Somi was going to be attempting to run him down. “The run was flat but congested on the footpath which made it difficult and I knew that I had some good runners chasing me down and triathlon greats Jason Meters and Mick Moroney in contention for podiums as well. I maintained my lead and was able to hold on and take the win. Daudi clawed back 32 seconds on the run to be only 43 seconds behind me at the finish.”
Next up for Farrant is the ITU Oceania Cup in Mooloolaba this weekend.
In the women’s race 5th placed Natasha Horne completely smoked the men’s and women’s field in swim leg with a 6:00. However it was Melinda Vernon who put together three consistently fast legs to take the overall win by almost two minutes. Young Abby Tozer and Isabella Khoudair once again showed that with age they will develop in to very good triathletes.
Melinda’s run time of 20:51 on this course was very fast. Possibly equal to around the 18+minute mark for 5kms. A 4th overall at the last year’s Nepean Triathlon with a very quick swim/run combo Vernon has become a very handy triathlete.
In 2009 Vernon was the women’s winner for the City to Surf in a time of 47:46. She also went on to to win two gold medals at the Taipei Deaflympics. She ran the 10,000m and 5,000m in games and world record times.
This is Vernon’s first season back in triathlons after a 13 year break. “I’ve been doing distance running in between these years as a international level runner. I decided to come back to triathlons this season after having too many Achilles injuries. I am really enjoying the change.”
Wollongong sprint was a sharpening up for Mooloolaba for this weekend’s Oceania Cup and Vernon’s first pro race. “I found it difficult racing in the middle of the day especially on a an unusually hot autumn Sunday, but I enjoyed the race and course.”