Race Reports
Can’t fake it. Cairns IM 2014 - Craig Benson PDF Print Email Address *

Sometimes you can get with away being superficial. On the surface you look the 
real-deal and might even put a few runs on the board, but deep down you’re not 
really worthy. Sometimes you get caught out. Yesterday I discovered you can’t 
fake an Ironman.
I’ve been a slack bastard. I worked pretty hard for about 18 months to turn 
myself into a triathlete and race Busselton Ironman last December. Since then, 
beers have outnumbered training sessions by a considerable margin, and I 
haven’t been an alcoholic.
It all started when I broke my foot in a swimming pool the week after Busso and 
couldn’t run until March. Running keeps me motivated, so without regular runs I 
fell into a semi-depressed, drifting along state. Riding is fun, but isn’t a substitute 
for running, and I have to confess swimming is just a chore. Couple this with the 
post-Ironman come down and I blew off more than a few training sessions. A lot 
more than once I substituted a morning ride or commute for a 5-minute spin on 
the wind trainer in the evening. None of this is excuses – I’ve been slack and I 
own that completely.
For a lot of events, like a 5k race the difference between fit and unfit is a couple
of finishing positions, and a whole lot more pain. I’ve always found that my body 
remembers how fast it should be going (used to go), and does it’s best to deliver 
it – just with substantial pain. Thus I’ve always been able to ‘fake it’ even when 
I’m not actually very fit. This even worked for Boston Marathon back in April, 
where coming off 12 weeks of injury induced lay-off I held it together with only 
1 long run (ANU Inward Bound div 7, where we ran 45k), a few gentle runs and 
2 Bilby’s interval sessions. My training was deliberately low-key to ensure I 
arrived at the start-line in Boston uninjured.
Bilbys and Vikings Join Forces for Relay for Life! PDF Print Email Address *

OnOur Trusty Relay Baton!Our Trusty Relay Baton! 29 and 30 March 2014, Bilbys once again proudly took part in the Relay for Life, this time joining forces with Vikings Triathlon Club. The venue for the event was the AIS track in Bruce, and the new track proved a fantastic surface, especially for those of us who took the opportunity to do some run training during our relay shift. For those unfamiliar with this event, it is a fundraiser for the Cancer Council, where teams take turns walking or running around the track for a 24 hour period. Bilbys has been a participant for a number of years now, and we allocated our usual tent spot near the finish of the 100m track opposite the grandstand and, conveniently, a number of food vendors.

We were very lucky with the weather, which was a little cloudy but quite warm when Bronwyn started us off at midday on the Saturday. We had a nice little crowd of team members at the event throughout the afternoon, enjoying the great atmosphere and entertainment. It was also a good opportunity to get to know our fellow triathletes. After watching the crowds go by, our decision to once again go with a race belt as our baton proved a very practical option, as other teams had to carry all kinds of objects.

Early Saturday evening, the Cancer Council and their many recruits set the world record for the most people getting their head simultaneously shaved which was one of their goals for the event.  Later in the evening the annual candle ceremony was held which was very moving. There was some really great live music and other activities going on across the event, I noted the massage tent was most popular.

What's the Distance: A journey into Ironman 70.3 - Iain Addinell PDF Print Email Address *

Iain takes it home in the Canberra 70.3Iain takes it home in the Canberra 70.3

Which distance works for you or your body?  It’s a perennial question triathletes tend to ask themselves and one that can take time to answer.  After three years in triathlon I decided to try a half Ironman, mainly to see what it was like.  In this, the getting there is as important as the event itself, so this his half race report half journey.


After a car crash in my early twenties I didn’t run for about 15 years and then only minimally, until 2012 where I would do no more than 3 km any training. In Jul 2012 I upped my running for the Sprint events, gradually increasing into the New Year and my return from Afghanistan. In Feb 14, I noticed a tendency for my left thigh to become sore about 6-7km into a run and trip to the physio in March, diagnosed misfiring muscles, and weak right calf. The physio was great and understanding the 70.3 requirements gave a number of exercises to correct the problems.  The next issue was fueling: in short course it’s not an issue, but for 2hours plus I experimented with various fueling strategies to see what worked and what didn’t:  in the end High5 gels and SiS products worked best for me.


The training plan was based on key anchor sessions based on the Bilby’s weekly programme, with the Tue Night run, Wed morning threshold ride and long rides on a Saturday.   By gradually increasing distance and intensity (but not the two together) the endurance was built and all was on track until late October.  A trip on the stairs caused some foot inflammation and an unexpected Noosa entry (won a competition) lost a month of running build up training, which ultimately cost me on the day as my longest ever run was 14 km, two weeks before the event.


Based on the premise that 5 minutes faster on the bike can cost you fifteen on the run, I aimed for a consistent bike leg to conserve energy for the run.  I had a session with Guy Jones (thanks) to figure out my pacing, which resulted in 53-minute laps. I then repeated this in another training session the following week. This isn’t my normal approach and slightly different to the normal ‘balls-out’ sprint, but the 70.3 deserved respect, if I wanted to finish well rather than just complete the distance. The ability to train on the course was a godsend and meant you didn’t go too fast out of the Glenloch interchange or out of Coppin’s crossing.  

Confessions of a 42 year old Virgin - Craig Benson PDF Print Email Address *

I’ve finally done it. After three long course races, for the first time since I was a child I can lay claim to the big I word.  After a year and a half of training to masquerade as a triathlete I have finally achieved it.  Yep, by all reports Mike Reilly said “You are an Ironman” as I ran hard to the finish line, but my big breakthrough came at the start of the second bike lap – with less fanfare – but it would have been fun to have a huge announcement “Craig Benson… You are Incontinent”.  Having been unable to relieve bladder pressure through all my practice races I came into today confident that I should break 10 hours, but uncertain of how I would cope without wasting valuable minutes on personal hygiene stops while still maintaining hydration for a 10 hour race.  The relief of that warm trickle through my timing chip into my bike shoe was a load off my mind and marked my initiation into the hallowed halls of Ironman racing.

At the start of this Ironman journey I thoughts I would turn up and complete an Ironman in about 12 hours.  I recruited three mates who I thought could do about the same, or perhaps a little slower.  However as my training progressed I realized I would be closer to 10 hours, so set that as a target and freely told anyone who would listen.

We went for a practice swim the day before the race, and swim conditions were great.  The water was clear and you could see the sand and seagrass on the bottom, as well as easily sight the jetty – both to the side, and the end way out ahead.  I also picked a reference on shore for the return leg for my mates, which came in handy for all of us on race day.  Busselton is well set up for this race, as it was for the half back in May.  The ride is flat on quite good road surfaces, with wind the only potential enemy.  The run is likewise flat up and back on the foreshore – four laps ensure a good spectator coverage, and you run through the main spectator area 8 times in total.

Bondi to Bronte Ocean Swim - Jess Faulks PDF Print Email Address *

Tara and Jess at the 2013 Bondi to Bronte Ocean SwimTara and Jess at the 2013 Bondi to Bronte Ocean Swim

On Sunday 1 December 2013, a few of us (Pam, Dave, Tara and me) made a day trip to Sydney to take part in the Bondi to Bronte ocean swim. The event is run by the Bronte Surf Life Saving Club and the main swim is between 2.1 and 2.2km. Participants start on Bondi Beach, swim straight out and head right, around McKenzie's point, and down the coast into Bronte Beach.
When we arrived just after 9am it was a lovely day in Bondi. The event was well organised and it was easy to register and put out bags into the truck to be taken to the finish. The  waves were reasonably sized and spaced out, with one wave dedicated to people who wanted to swim with fins and floatation devices.

My wave was at around 10.30am, and by then, while there was still a bit of sun, there was also a lot of dark clouds off the coast. Thankfully the pending weather didn't impact the swim conditions, though there were a few nervous giggles when the race brief advised us not to worry if we saw fins in the water because there was a pod of dolphins nearby. As the hooter went for my wave I followed the more experienced surf swimmers to navigate the incoming surf which wasn't too bad. The group spread out nicely and I settled into a good rhythm. As expected the water got a bit more choppy the further out we swam but it was still really enjoyable.

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