About 250 competitors took part in the 2013 Benalla Triathlon.HANNAH DRISCOLL January 3, 2014 8:57am
About 250 competitors took on the clock, and the heat, in the 2013 Benalla Triathlon on Saturday.
This was the first leg of the inaugural Rural Tri Series and Benalla Tri Club president Graeme Currie said that may have boosted numbers.
‘‘We budget for 200, we get around 200, 210 to 220, so it was more than we expected,’’ he said.
Currie said all events utilised the pool rather than the Benalla lake after the lake’s water quality was deemed unsuitable at the discretion of Benalla Rural City Council.
The formats of the sprint and short-course triathlons were subsequently reversed to stagger the starters as beginning in the pool was deemed too difficult.
The swim in the sprint course was shortened slightly from 750
The majority of Saturday’s entries were for the sprint distance, which was won by Kate Bramley and last year’s runner-up Lachlan Kerin.
Earlier in the day Geelong Endurance Team members Georg Fellner, 29, and Linda Solly, 40, took out the short course race in times of 35 minutes 36 seconds and 40:43 respectively.
It was Fellner’s first time at Benalla, but the event holds special significance for Solly.
‘‘I’ve been here six years and my first ever triathlon was six years ago after I had my third child, so we’re regulars, we love it down here,’’ she said.
Both are more used to longer forms of the race and both ran the Shepparton 70.3 Ironman in November.
Fellner said his next major competition was his home event, the Geelong 70.3 Ironman.
‘‘It was hot, but it was not that long, it was only a short course, so I was happy with that,’’ he said.
Currie was aware of two competitors who were unable to finish the sprint race; one of them was taken to hospital.
The heat also played havoc with the timing system at the end of the day, meaning some of the last results were done by hand and it took a long time for them to be tallied.
The Rural Tri Series will continue at Echuca-Moama on January 18, with the race at Shepparton on February 23, the final of the five-race series.
More coverage and photos in this week’s Ensign.
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