Jackie Fairweather sprint triathlon

After a couple of duathlons, last Sunday was supposed to be the first triathlon race of the ACT calendar, and a very special one. The whole weekend was filled with sporting activities in honour of the late Jackie Fairweather, a great name of the sport. What was not in the plans was the storm that hit Canberra on the days preceding the race. The result? Lake closed for swimming and the triathlon became a duathlon. The 750m swim turned into a 2km run, disappointing many of the competitors, including me.

In one hit I missed my chance to jump in the lake as a practice for the Sri Chinmoy Triple Tri this coming Sunday, and also lost the small advantage that the swim gives me over the excellent cyclists out there. Just to give an idea, in the last Olympic distance triathlon in March this year I was the 30th male competitor to leave the water, the 32nd in the run but only the 153rd on the bike. No, there was no flat tyre, nothing. These are real numbers.

After knowing that the race was going to be a duathlon I traced my race plan: would try to run in just under 4 min/km in the first run, go hard on the bike, and do the last 5km in under 22 min. I have been training for my marathons and long races and wasn’t expecting much from the Sprint race.


Running into transition after the first run. Mission accomplished: average pace of 3:57 min/km (as measured by my Garmin. See full activity here). Photo from Shelley Try and Elizabeth O’Keefe available on the Triathlon ACT Facebook page.

As always, the field started too fast for me but I instinctively followed the others. A few hundred meters later and I had corrected my pace to follow the race plan, finishing the first run in 8 minutes. The first transition was seamless: shoes off, helmet on, off you go.

I mounted the bike and head west on Parkes Way towards the point that everyone was talking about, the 100m climb over 1km at the Arboretum. On the way, I was surprised that I wasn’t losing positions, in fact in the ascent at Lady Denman Dr I started overtaking some people. Shortly after I reached the Arboretum climb, raised from the saddle, and rode most of the climb in that position. It was nice to overtake some pretty fancy TT bikes during the climb 😉 . On the way back I managed to keep a good speed all the way. Overall I was happy with the ride but unfortunately I don’t have the correct time for it. The official bike time includes both transitions and it took me some time on the bike to remember to press the the lap button on my watch.

Transition 2: rack the bike, helmets off, shoes on. All fairly simple if the inner sole of both my shoes hadn’t come partially out when I took my shoes off in T1. It took me some precious seconds to fix that and start the second run.

The second run started, as always, fast. I think my legs try to keep up with the cadence they got used to on the bike. I don’t have to tell that it only lasts about 200 m and it is all back to normal. The run went well and I didn’t feel too tired. Maybe I could have pushed a bit more but I was happy with the time of 21:00.

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I think it was the first time that I gained positions on the bike leg. Quite happy that I kept improving my position through the race. My last kilometer running was exactly at the same pace as my first one.


Left: After-race chat with Emily (top) and Elton (bottom). Right: at the Triple Edge tent, the organisers of the December endurance triathlon (4km/120km/30km) here in Canberra. For me it will be 4km/120km/42+km as I’ll be completing the seventh marathon on that event. A big thank you to Brad from Triple Edge for making that possible!


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