James Saunders set a goal for this year’s Gloucester Mountain Man Tri Challenge and he smashed it.
He crossed the finish line as the first local male at the event held on Sunday, September 10. The challenge attracted 184 competitors from across the region and around the State to take part in the mountain bike, kayak and run legs of the annual race.
Event organiser, Sam de Witte said the numbers were down a little from last year.
“It was due in part to the river being low but also the lingering flu,” he said.
The upside, however, was the increase in local competitors.
Along with James Saunders, Brett Radford (second local male) and John (Tad) Parish (third local male) competed in open men’s individual section.
Andrew Hughes took on the race solo as the only local junior, and after a flat tyre on his mountain bike saw him run the bike the last two kilometres, he reached Rocky Crossing ahead of the other junior male, Benjamin Doran. Despite his slight lead, Andrew began to lose ground in the kayak leg and fell further behind in the run, but crossed the finish line with a big smile on his face.
There were several local teams this year, as well as a few locals competing as part of a team with non-locals.
Margo Cameron, Kim Haschek and Lauren Cowley competed and came first in the open women’s team as well as placing third local team.
There was a bit of competition amongst locals in the open men’s team with Peter Beard, Dave Keen and Rob Seale finishing first ahead of Andrew Blamires, Geoff Hawkins and Campbell Swilks by a small margin.
Other teams competing were Sam de Witte, Paul Hedditch and Mike King; mixed team Len Mitchell, Graham (Pod) Mulder and Anneeta Blanch; and Tony and Sue Kingston competed as part of a non-local team.
Cadel Beard, Hamish McClure and Jake Moulds competed as the only junior male team finishing the race in 4 hours and 40 minutes.
Overall the event was a success with the weather turning favourable after a frosty start. There were a few flat tyres and broken paddles due to the intensely dry conditions, but all the competitors made it over the line in the end.