James Saunders in the top five of the Gloucester Mountain Man Tri Challenge

On a mission: James Saunders comes to the end of the bike leg with fellow competitor, Bryn Williams hot on his heels. Photo Scott Calvin
On a mission: James Saunders comes to the end of the bike leg with fellow competitor, Bryn Williams hot on his heels. Photo Scott Calvin

Gloucester’s James Saunders has smashed another one of his tri-challenge goals.

Before the 28th annual Gloucester Mountain Man Tri Challenge, James set a goal to make the top 10 in the open men’s division and to finish in under three hours.

On Sunday September 9, he was the fifth competitor to cross the finish line with a time of 2 hours, 54 minutes and 39 seconds. 

James is the first local to break the top five in the history of the event.

“I’m very happy,“ he said. “It was a good result.”

He said he had spent the past 11 months training, a decision that paid off. Needless to say, James finished as the first local and took out the second spot in his age division of 35 to 39 years.

Long time competitor, Brett Radford was the second local to cross the finish line in 3.15.47.

The third local was Andrew Hughes, who returned to the race after a disastrous bike leg last year which saw him carrying his bike for a good portion of the race. This year, he was competing in the open men’s division, finishing in 3.53.21.

The individual women’s competition attracted a few new faces with Michelle Gunn being the first local over the line in 4.13.18, Kim Haschek (who competed in a team last year) followed as the second local in 4.19.23 and Deb Walker in third place at 4.40.47.

Three local teams competed with Peter Beard, Rob Seale and Dave Keen finishing first in 3.40.08, followed by Margo Cameron, Naomi Kilby and newcomer, Deborah Sheely finishing not far behind in 3.59.44 (which gained them second place in the women’s team division) and new team, Chloe McSwan, Sam Walker and Josh Walker finished third in 4.05.37.

Brett Radford at the end of the kayak leg. Photo Scott Calvin

Brett Radford at the end of the kayak leg. Photo Scott Calvin

Competing in the event for the first time was local, Kyra Edstein as junior individual, as well as a range competitors in the new “event within the event” Gloucester run section, including Debbie Wilson (open female), Kayden Schumann (junior male), Tahnee Yates (junior female) and Indira Baker (junior female).

Debbie said it was something she had always wanted to do and she crossed the finish line with a smile on her face. She finished the run portion of the challenge in third place in 57 minutes 46 seconds. 

Despite being the only junior male, Kayden shot over the line in fourth position overall against the 11 other runners in all the divisions in the Gloucester Run, finishing in 43.51.

The race day boasted excellent weather with blue skies and warm temperatures. Around 200 competitors joined in the event which attracted many spectators along different sections of the course. Recent rain assisted with water levels in the river, which cause much grief during last year’s event. Many competitors enjoyed their time on the water.

For the overall standings, full results and times, visit http://tempustiming.com.au/results/