WHEN the Bathurst Wallabies Triathlon Club set out to run a women’s event at the start of this season they were hoping they could encourage a couple of people to give the sport a go.
The response they received was overwhelming.
More than 100 competitors lined up for Sunday’s Women For Tri Triathlon, cheered on by a vocal collective of family and friends lined up along Stanley Street.
There had been weeks of build up towards the event as the club held information and training sessions for interested competitors, and it’s safe to say that many of them caught the triathlon bug over the weekend.
Recent Western Sydney Ironman 70.3 competitor Peta Cutler was the fastest on the day. She completed the 200m swim, 16km bike and 2.5km run in a time of 42 minutes and 22 seconds.
Cutler beat experienced cycling duo Hollee Simons (42:31) and Kirsten Howard (43:28) to the top step.
Kristy Powyer (47:27), Lucy Hobson (48:28), Shannon Short (49:37), Amanda Livingstone (49:42) were the other competitors to come home under the 50-minute mark.
While there was still a hotly contested battle for overall victory the day was more about participation and getting women from Bathurst and across the region involved in a special day.
Howard was one of those competitors instrumental in bringing the day together, conducting Saturday rides and giving talks on bike maintenance in the lead up to Sunday’s main event.
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To see participation numbers hit the triple figure mark was a dream result.
“It’s amazing to see. They’re so supportive of each other. It’s a humbling experience to be a part of it. When I was asked to help out I jumped at the opportunity because the women here just feed off the strength and motivation of each other,” she said.
“The was a hype for this event in a way that was encouraging, not a competitive one, letting everyone know that we would be here for each other and do the best we can do.
Dan Benton and other members of The Barnyard also put their time and knowledge towards getting competitors ready for the race.
Howard said the sense of community at the club played a big role in getting first-timers involved in the event.
“You see women that might have been tentative at first but over several weeks they’ve come leaps and bounds and they’re looking forward to the next challenge,” she said.
“The atmosphere here is a credit to everyone involved. They’re all genuine and kind people who give their time and that’s what’s made the day so great.”
One of the many first-time competitors at the event was Laura Hutton.
Hutton had built up fitness with her running but took on triathlon as a new personal challenge.
“I started doing parkrun and after the kids I set out to do something for myself again,” she said.
“I saw parkrun advertising about the Women For Tri and I thought ‘Let’s give it a go’ and I roped a few family and friends into it.
“Couldn't back out after that,” she laughed.
For a first attempt at the course it was a great day out for Hutton, coming home comfortably under the hour mark (57:51) on a windy day.
Hutton attended several of the training sessions leading up to Sunday’s race and took plenty away from the experience.
“I got to a few of the sessions with Dan Fenton which was great. I hadn’t done much swimming, just recreational things, so I was able to work on technique and a few small things,” she said.
“It was great out there. I think I’ll definitely be doing a few more.
“They got so many people here today. I was a bit nervous when I saw how many there were but it was a really great achievement for Bathurst to have something like this put on.
“It was very windy out there on that bike leg but it was great to have so many people cheering you on.”
Bathurst’s next round of triathlon is December 16.