MoffattAustralias oldest triathlon, the Gulf Western Oil Nepean Triathlon, became one of Australias richest races thanks to new sponsors who offered over $70,000 in prize money, attracting some of Australias best triathletes to Penrith. Emma Moffat ran away with the race – and the cash – thanks to a dominating performance.

 

A heavy smoke-haze greeted competitors as they arrived at the 31st edition of the Nepean Triathlon – a grim reminder of the horrendous conditions in the Blue Mountains in recent weeks. The Blue Mountain fires also resulted in lower-than-normal numbers of competitors, and spectators, as many people based in the Blue Mountains or further west were unable to travel to the race.

 

Thankfully the weather didn’t dampen the racing as the lucrative prize pool – which totalled over $70,000 – brought together some

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of the best in the country to race including Olympic Bronze Medallist Emma Moffat, ITU athlete Ashleigh Gentle and Australia’s newest U-23 world champion, Charlotte McShane.

 

The Nepean Triathlon is unique. It is a “handicap” race consisting of a 1km swim, 30km bike and 10kms run. Women get a head-start and it’s a race to see whether the leading man can catch and pass the leading woman before the finish line (the first to cross the line – man or women – this year would receive $2,000 bonus prize money for the outright win!). This fantastic structure adds to the excitement of the day and makes it a true men vs women test.

 

The women hit the water just on 7am (with the pro men starting 10 minutes and 59 seconds later).

 

At the swim exit, spectators were surprised to see age grouper (and up-and-coming junior) Laura Cook out of the water first in 12:20 with Moffat 30 seconds behind and a group of women including Natalie Van Coevorden, Emma Jeffcoat, McShane and Gentle a further 30 seconds back.

 

Out onto the bike and Moffat and Gentle began to assert their dominance, pulling away from the rest of the field and developing a sizeable lead. Gentle’s bike split was 30 seconds faster than Moffat’s but it wasn’t enough to break away so the two women hit the run leg separated only by a metre.

 

Unfortunately for Gentle, Moffat’s blistering run split of 34:02 for 10kms proved the difference on the day and she won in a time of 1 hour 34mins with Gentle finishing second and Natalie Van Coevorden coming home in third.

 

Last year the handicap produced a sprint to the finish over the last 100m between Courtney Atkinson and Rachel Klamer. But this year, it was no contest. Moffat finished 2:55 ahead of the (fast finishing) Aaron Royle to claim the $2,000 bonus for the outright win.

 

With extra prize money for having the fastest (pro) swim, bike and run splits, Moffat was going to leave Penrith with $19,000 prize money, but she announced during the post-race interview that she was donating her $2,000 winner’s bonus to the Rural Fire Service, confirming her position as one of the nicest women in the sport and endearing herself to the people of the area even further.

 

“I’m from Queensland and watching the bush fires on the television was just devastating and to see the work the fire fighter did was just amazing. The least I can do is donate my $2000 bonus to the NSW Bushfire Appeal to help out those people who lost everything in the fires.”

 

Text by Jen Brown

Photo: Delly Carr

About The Author

Jen Brown

Registered Fitness Professional

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