More than 5,000 of the best triathletes in the world travelled to Queensland last week to compete in the 2018 International Triathlon Union World Triathlon Grand Final on the Gold Coast, a very prestigious event. Athletes representing 46 nations attended.
I'm proud to say that six athletes representing Australia were also there from the Bathurst Wallabies Triathlon Club. So it was Bathurst taking on the world! Congratulations to Fran Grady, Josh Stapley, Terry Roberts, Mark Windsor, and Dennis and Jodie Martin. Each athlete needed to finish in the top 25 in their respective age groups to qualify. The news arrived in May that Bathurst Wallabies Triathlon Club members had earned their place in the grand final. What lay ahead was months of intensive training—no easy feat in Bathurst's wintry conditions.
Fran Grady competed in the 55-59 age division as part of Australia's standard distance team. This involved a 1.5-kilometre swim, a 40-kilometre ride and a 10-kilometre run. Fran placed 51st in her category, with a time of two hours, 59 minutes and 11 seconds. She was also the 20th Australian competitor over the line. Josh Stapley also took on the standard distance race in the 20-24 years men's division. Josh was 15th in his category and the sixth Australian to finish. It took Josh just two hours, four minutes and 53 seconds to complete this event.
Terry Roberts also impressed on the day. Terry is a keen competitor when it comes to ironman distance racing, and so tackling the triathlon was a new experience. This didn't set Terry back in any way, as he placed 16th in the 55-59 years men's division. He covered the distance in only two hours, 12 minutes and 13 seconds. This time also ranked Terry as the fourth Australian across the finish line in his category.
Mark Windsor is a true athlete, described to me as 'an absolute machine'. He competed in both the sprint distance event and standard distance event for the 55-59 years men's division. In the sprint distance, Mark placed eighth overall in his age group and was the fifth Australian home. He did all this in an incredible time of one hour, six minutes and three seconds. He then backed up again a few days later for the standard distance race. It was a truly outstanding performance: he completed the course in two hours, five minutes and 43 seconds. He was fifth in his category and the second Australian home.
Dennis and Jodie Martin contested the sprint distance event. This comprises a 750-metre swim, a 24-kilometre ride and a five-kilometre run. Dennis competed in the 55-59 men's age group and finished in a time of one hour, eight minutes and 43 seconds. He placed 19th in his age group and was the ninth Australian to cross the line. Jodie also came away with a fantastic result, competing in the 45-49 years division. She was 22nd in her age group and the 13th Australian home in a time of one hour, 13 minutes and 29 seconds. Congratulations to Bathurst's wonderful triathletes, who have done us all proud.