Young guns dominate at Hamilton Island triathlon
LOCKDOWNS proved to be no match for the 280 athletes who tackled the Hamilton Island Triathlon at the weekend in what was one of the first events since the pandemic.
The second biggest field on record descended on the island to complete the 750m swim in Catseye Bay, 20km bike ride along the southern part of the island and airport runway and a 5km run.
Hunter McGovern and Carmen Teiniker claimed their first Hamilton Island Triathlon crowns in breakout performances.
McGovern, who hails from Mackay, placed third in 2018 and this year used a strong bike leg to gain an advantage.
He beat Sunshine Coast star Michael Hooper who finished second after a close swim and finished fast in front of Brisbane’s Matthew Thompson.
Thompson had the fastest bike leg and run but lost time in the swim, falling eight seconds shy of Hooper.
In the women’s division, Gold Coaster Teiniker used her experience in long course racing to secure the top spot.
Windy conditions on the airport runway challenged the athletes, but Teiniker used them in her favour to hold the dominant position.
Brisbane’s Stephanie Albert also had a podium finish and was joined in third place by Townsville’s Bec Stedman.
Regional athletes dominated the team races with Mackay athletes securing a spot on the podium in all three divisions.
Teams recruiting wisely to put themselves against teams peppered with Olympians, current and former pro-cyclists and elite runners.
The Paget Welding and Engineering team took line honours for all teams and the all-male team crown.
Mackay Cycles, the defending champions, had the expertise of Olympian Linda Single, pro-cyclist Kyle Marwood and local run star Graham Harris on their side and finished second behind ‘Giant Rockvegas’ in the Mixed Division.
NSW Southern Highlands based team ‘Due West’ led home the ladies teams with Mackay’s ‘Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda’ finishing third.
Race director Steve Jackson said this was many athlete’s first event after coronavirus forced the cancellation of other races.
“It’s been such a unique year … but I think these medium-sized events are perfect because they still have that buzz of a larger event but with the intimacy of a boutique crowd,” he said.
“It was really exciting to be able to provide that opportunity not just for the competitors, but for the staff and the community on Hamilton Island.”
Mr Jackson had his fingers crossed the regular schedule of competition would return to normal next year with the Hilly Half Marathon pencilled in for the long weekend in May.