CHAMPIONS: Sam Betten claimed his ninth title at the Airlie Beach Triathlon 2018 alongside female champion, Ellie Salthouse.
CHAMPIONS: Sam Betten claimed his ninth title at the Airlie Beach Triathlon 2018 alongside female champion, Ellie Salthouse. CONTRIBUTED

Betten claims ninth title at the 2018 Airlie Beach Triathlon

TRIATHLETES from all over Queensland and beyond converged on Airlie Beach for the 20th Anniversary of the Colorbond Steel Airlie Beach Triathlon last weekend.

More than 300 athletes participated in the event which attracted a number of professionals including 2016 World 70.3 Champion,Tim Reed, Tim Berkel, Sam Betten, Clayton Fettell, Ellie Salthouse and Tatiana Marinho.

Returning 8-time male champion Betten claimed his ninth title over Reed and Berkel on the Olympic course which consisted of a 1.5km swim followed by a 40km bike ride and a 10km run through Airlie Beach and Cannonvale.

Fresh off a top 10 performance at the 70.3 World Championships last weekend, Ellie Salthouse prevailed as female champion, edging out Brazilian professional athlete Tatiana Marinho.

Bowen local Eden Hedges, 16, recorded her maiden victory during the Icon Homes Ocean Swim, 2km, over Salthouse and Marinho.

After being crowned female champion, swimming 8km in the Magnetic Island to Townsville Open Water Swim in July, Hedges said 2km wasn't so bad.

"I quite enjoyed it. I think my second lap was better than my first lap,” Hedges said.

"It was the first time I've come out as the first female so it's really, really exciting.

Hedges will be participating in the Brisbane Open Water Swim on September 22-23.

Matt Carman, Tatiana Morinho, Eden Hedges, Ellie Salthouse and James Carman.
Matt Carman, Tatiana Morinho, Eden Hedges, Ellie Salthouse and James Carman. Claudia Alp

Team Whitsunday Whales claimed first for the females in the Olympic Relay while The Local Dream Team raced to victory in the mixed team.

Hunter McGovern and Emma Hogan came out on top in their respective categories for the Solo Sprint and Team Splash Pools took first place for the Relay Sprint.

Cameron Wonnocott and Kimba Simmonds were male and female champions of the Solo Enticer while Team One NAB One Mackay and Whitsundays won for the females in the Enticer Relay and Team Our First Tri got their first win in the mixed groups.

Jy Parkinson and Jakarra Heffernan were male and female champions of the 750 Anything Goes Swim while Jacob Bell and Sharlett Burrows took top spots in the 300m Junior Swim.

In honour of the 20th anniversary, a number of inaugural courses and events were launched including the Olympic distance course, the "Local Legends” race and the Airlie Beach Triathlon Sport and Lifestyle Expo.

The "Local Legends” race featured Whitsunday Mayor Andrew Willcox and local state MP Jason Costigan who strapped on helmets and hopped in the saddle to complete a 4km bike ride.

Cr Willcox said it was great, though physically challenging, to be a part of the inaugural event.

"Events like this are great for the community. They bring a lot of people to town but also get the locals up and into a bit of fitness,” he said.

"This would have to be one of the best locations for a triathlon in the country. We have the beautiful weather conditions here and the organisers have done a great job.”


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