FOUR Bathurst triathletes put themselves to the test not only against some of the best competitors from across the Oceania region, but one of Australia’s most renowned Ironman events last Sunday.
Luke Patterson, Kath Stutsel, Chris Walsh and Andrew Crowley all tackled the 3.8 kilometre swim, 180km cycle and 42.2km run that is the Port Macquarie Ironman.
The four Bathurst competitors were part of a 1,066 strong field and all of them managed to reach the finish line.
Luke Patterson, who competed in the male 45-49 years division, said while there was a slight breeze and the cycle leg presented a challenge, the course was enjoyable.
“It was a long day, but it was nice to see Bathurst guys out on the run when you’re circulating,” he said.
“The bike ride is a little bit tricky, it’s completely doable, but you start out with some hills before you hit the flatter stuff.
“Of course there’s the famed Matthew Flinders Drive which catches everyone off guard. That’s where they actually lay the carpet on the start of the course for those that need to walk it. But certainly it’s a beautiful course up and down the coast line.”
Patterson carried a hip injury into the race and while it meant he did not hit his time target of around 11½ hours, he still managed to push on to the finish.
“I started the run feeling reasonably strong and felt like I could still crack 12 hours. But the second half of the run I ended up in a lot of pain, but I’m still quite happy I finished the whole run,” he said.
“I knew that if I stopped, I wouldn’t keep going again. I had to keep moving ... it’s Ironman, if it’s not tough you’re not trying hard enough.”
Patterson heaped praise on his fellow Bathurst Wallabies Triathlon Club members Stutsel and Walsh for their efforts.
“Chris Walsh has done extraordinarily well, very, very solid. Breaking 12 hours, to come in after 11½ hours, that’s a very impressive effort,” he said.
“Kathleen, she’s only been doing it for 18 months and she’s fronted up for an Ironman. She got through it and did it with a smile on her face.
“She’s quite something and we’re all super proud of her. She put a nasty bit of rusty wire through her foot right before the swim start, but she just pulled it out and said ‘Ah well, I can’t do anything about that now.’ ”
Four more Bathurst Wallabies Triathlon Club members tackled the 70.3 Ironman race on the same day at Port Macquarie, which consisted of a 1.9km swim, 90km cycle and 21.1km run. All finished in the top 15 of their respective age groups.
Given it doubled as a qualifier for September’s World Championship in South Africa, it made their efforts all the more impressive.
Terry Roberts (third), Danielle Patterson (14th), Steve Jackson (sixth) and Tom Hanrahan (15th) all impressed, the latter doing so even though he was a late entrant in the tough male 30-34 division.
Hanrahan was also quick enough to place in the top 100 outright in a field consisting of 601 triathletes, his 29:08 swim split especially impressive.
“He towelled it up in the end, he had a very strong race. He finished up with a four hours, 40 – that is very fast,” Patterson said.