WHEN Danielle Patterson clipped a tow line for an inflatable raft carrying her son around her waist and set off as the first swimmer in Sunday's women's only triathlon, it was obvious it was a special event.
By the time the last of the 100 competitors crossed the finish line at Bathurst there were countless more special moments to add to it.
Hollee Simons, who was the first to finish the 200 metres swim, 16 kilometre cycle, 2.5 kilometre run course, paused only momentarily to catch her breath after crossing the line in 39 minutes, 46 seconds.
Simons then joined a group of less experienced triathletes as they completed the final leg of the race. She was not the only one to do that either.
Mothers and daughters supported each other along the way, siblings urged each other on and a host of competitors crossed the finish line hand-in-hand.
There were high-fives and hugs, some tutus made an appearance thanks to Barb Hill and Megan Goodwin, and everywhere there were smiles.
Bathurst Wallabies Triathlon women's co-ordinator Anna Blackie was thrilled.
"We always knew it was going to be lots of fun and we've been very blessed with a beautiful day today which I'm sure got lots of people out. It's an awesome atmosphere and lovely to see," she said.
"There's just something special about this women's event that brings people out and that supportive atmosphere really comes to the fore."
The number of debutantes who took part in Sunday's event was a big positive for the club as it continues its push to attract more women to the sport. Those first-timers got to experience first-hand the supportive environment that regulars so often speak of.
"We know there are lots of barriers for women that can be a little bit different, so it's lovely for us to see people overcome those," Blackie said.
"We are so lucky at our club, we certainly have people who are at the top of their game as far as triathlon goes, they are representing at the highest level. But they just love the sport and they support everybody, everybody is included at this club.
"As club we are really proud of this event and everybody should be so proud of themselves."
Jen Arnold (45.31), who joined Kirsten Howard (42.36), Jille Harris (44.52), Kate Tallentire (42.36), Lucy Hobson (45.49) and Kinisha Roweth (48.34) as a sub-50 minute performer, was another who was thrilled to see the strong numbers and supportive atmosphere.
She is still a relative newcomer to the sport, taking up triathlon 12 months ago, but has already represented Australia in the sport and has become an official Women for Tri ambassador.
"I only started triathlon last year, to see this is exciting because it started with the women for tri grant which the club got last year and that's what inspired me to try for the Women for Tri ambassador," Arnold said.
"Essentially the role is to support women in triathlon right from the grass roots level like what this is, there are a lot of women here participating for the very first time, all the way up to the Ironman level.
Todays Wallabies Womens Triathlon another big success- Here is @TriathlonNSW CEO AdamWicks getting involved in the day (including helping packup) – Adam was very impressed with the event-especially the support given to all participants by officials spectators&fellow competitors pic.twitter.com/BNmLhIbWkr— BathurstBikeNews (@BathurstBikes) December 1, 2019
"It helps women see they can overcome all the barriers. I was talking with someone last night who was thinking about coming today and said 'Oh I don't have a tri suit'. I said that was okay because there are change rooms here set up, you can put shorts and a t-shirt on over your swimmers, whatever you want.
"The Women for Tri role really encompasses all of that. It's about really encouraging women to step outside of their comfort zone and give things a go and prove to the little eyes watching - there are a lot of children around today - that women can really be more powerful than what they really believe.
"It doesn't feel like a race today, it's all about participation - there was really just an element of seeing all those first-timers and the big grins across all the faces."