It was billed as the triathlon where you could swim the Harbour, ride the Bridge and run the city and that’s just what almost 2,500 triathletes ticked off their bucket list today on a picture perfect morning for the Sydney Triathlon.
The general message amongst the athletes was: “If you get the chance to do this race then do it” and it was the Sydneysiders who dominated both the men’s and women’s categories when open, age group and Paralympic triathletes made the most of the city at its absolute best.
Men’s open winner, 22-year-old Michael Murphy from Cronulla made a stunning return to form and to the sport after taking two years out due to a broken collarbone and broken foot to beat fellow Cronulla competitor Michael Fox with Matt Palmer (Wahroonga) third.
In the women’s race it was Lisa Marangon from Vaucluse who made a stunning return to form from a broken elbow to beat Laura Siddall (Rose Bay) and Matilda Raynolds (Braidwood).
Murphy said: “I really wanted to come here and enjoy this race and prove what I could do after some disappointing performances earlier in the year.
“My coaches gave me a kick in the rear and I got back and did the work I needed to do, especially on the bike.
“I knew today that the bike was going to be a key element. So I planned to go well on the bike.”
Murphy was first across the line in 1 hour 57 mins.37 secs and was quick to sing the praises of organisers for the opportunity to ride across the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
“It was unbelievable (the Bridge) “I’ve walked over it and caught the train, but never ridden it. It was amazing experience but from there it was a tough race “tough climbs on the bike, and the run was fast.”
Murphy has been signed up by a German Team Hanover 96 and will race the European summer to try and build up his stamina and get as much racing as he can.
In a Cronulla quinella, 23-year-old Fox finished second saying: “This event is such a good opportunity for us to show off Sydney city to the rest of Australia and to the world.
“I have been using this summer to work on my base work before heading over to the US in a few weeks to train for four months. I will be based in Boulder and racing all over the place. I am really looking forward to it.
“I am doing a mixture; I will be doing some 51.50 races and some 70.3 races.”
Michael Palmer was also full of praise for the organisers saying: “Thanks to the organizers for today, it was a great day and a great race, so thank you.
“As far as my race was concerned, I was happy with today, it’s a lot quicker than an ironman race but it was a good hit out before Ironman Australia at Port Macquarie with my main aim to qualify for the Ironman World Championship.
“I would like to qualify for Hawaii but I have a wife and baby at home so they might think differently.”
The women’s race was a triumph for Manangon who crossed the line in 2 hours 10 minutes 02 secs, with Laura Siddall (Rose Bay) second in 2:10.49 and a brave performance from Matilda Raynolds (Braidwood) third in 2:14.27.
Manangon, who will race Harvey Bay next week; and the Busselton 70.3 before heading over to the to the US for the 5150 Series and the 70.3 Worlds, admitted she even surprised herself in the swim.
“I have only been back in the pool for three weeks so I was stoked. I knew there’d be some fast swimmers so from the word go, I had to hang in there. But when I was in front and I thought wow!” said Manangon
“I got on the bike but didn’t feel too good. Then on the run, I started to feel really good; I was surprised because I haven’t been doing much speed work lately.
“I’m stoked to be racing again and happy to have pulled it all together today.”
Silver medallist Siddall said: “It was pretty unbelievable I had a really good season. I really came here today to race against this great group of girls and see what I could do.
“I am not as strong as these other girls so I really had to push myself and get myself out there in the swim. I knew I was a bit behind getting on the bike. I could see Lisa (Marangon) ahead so I decided to just go for it.”
“It’s my last race for the season so I just decided to push myself and give it everything.”
Marangon said she would take a well deserved rest before picking up her winter training.
“I have the World Champs at the end of October in New Zealand so I will race that and start with Noosa.”
And what a brave effort for third place getter Raynolds just to get to the start line after her and coach John “Spot” Anderson were involved in a bike training accident in Centennial Park on Thursday.
One of the toughest triathletes on the circuit overcame her nasty cuts and abrasions to complete the course, collapsing across the line.
1. Michael Murphy 1:57:37
2. Michael Fox 1:59:26
3. Matt Palmer 2:01:34
4. Alexander Reithmeier 2:01:46
5. Ben Hammond 2:02:27
1. Lisa Marangon 2:10:02
2. Laura Siddall 2:10:49
3. Matilda Raynolds 2:14:27
4. Suzanne Chandler 2:16:47
5. Kylie Grady 2:21:01