Winners are grinners
GRANT Knight of Port Douglas headed up a list of locals who ran, swam or rode to glory in the Coral Coast triathlon at the weekend, ahead of the big one this coming Sunday, the Cairns Ironman.
Knight (47) was delighted to find himself in the lead bunch heading for the finish of the triathlon on Four Mile Beach, and claimed third spot on the podium with a time of 1hr 3min 8secs.
Among other locals to shine was Eleanor Jones, in the RRR mountain bike race. Eleanor came first in her age group in the 70 km enduro – not bad for first time out in that event. “I was shocked when they called my name out for first place,” she said.
She’s giving triathlon a rest this year, and returning to her MTB past. She had entered the RRR just once before.
In the triathlon, a team consisting of Lisa Russell, Jessica Houlahan and Chelsea Burke claimed first place in the female sprints.
Aside from the triumphant, there were plenty just satisfied to complete their events.
Steve Salleras notched his seventh RRR bike race. “It was a big day out. You don’t enter it with any illusions – it is a long hard race,” he said.
“I did it in 3 hrs 47. The winners did it in an hour less.”
Andy Gray, owner of Bel Cibo on Macrossan St, took part in the RRR for the first time. “I loved it,” he said. “I’m keen to do it again next year.”
In the Ocean Challenge for canoes, Ingrid Juchem and George Beeby paddled in the OC2 category.
“That was really good to surf,” said Ingrid of the sea whipped up by stiff south-easterly winds. “There were a lot of good little runners, we really surfed in the first 2½ hours.
“There were 16 km/h winds. The professionals loved it – they were gone in a flash!
“Yes, it was a really good run. Hard!”
It took Ingrid and George 4 hrs and 50 minutes to cover the 45 km course. “Our goal actually was just to make it.”
The Port Douglas Outriggers competed much more heavily in a Hekili in Cairns on Thursday and hadn’t had time to prepare for the Ocean Challenge on Sunday.
On the Thursday race to Yorkeys Knob, Port Douglas Outriggers women and men both won their race categories.
MORE than 30 Douglas Shire competitors will take part in the Ironman event this Sunday. Team Carling athletes Holly Hopkinson, Simon Mulligan, Liz O’Sullivan, Jo Van Ewyk and Amanda Fraser will all be taking part in the Ironman 70.3 Cairns which consists of a 1.9km swim off Palm Cove, a 90km Bike along the Captain Cook Highway and a 21.1km Run through Cairns Esplanade.
Jacky Cooke (left) congratulates Eleanor Jones on her wonderful ride to category winner in the 70kmj RRR on Sunday