Betten makes it eight for eight
TRIATHLETE superstar Sam Betten has won the Airlie Beach sprint triathlon for the eighth year running, crossing the finishing line in a of 59.34.
He was followed a minute later by second place Matt Hutchinson and then Ronan Foolkes in third.
It was young-gun Emma Hogan who took out the women's sprint title in a time of 1.12.24.
Alyce Garth ran after the 17 year-old to snag second and Brittany Blanco came in third.
When interviewed both race winners echoed the same thoughts; the Airlie Beach track remains one of their favourites.
Betten said he couldn't have asked for better weather conditions.
"I'm happy with the time, anything under the hour in these conditions is pretty good and it means I averaged about 40km on the bike,” he said.
"The undulating hills don't allow for much of a build up of momentum but when you look across at the scenery - it makes up for it.
"Even on the run, it's so nice to have the local community who are just out enjoying their Sunday morning to cheer us on.
"It's fantastic that so many people have travelled far and wide and even interstate like me, to support the area particularly with the hardships everyone here has faced this year.
"They always put on a great event and this year is no different.
"My first time competing here was 10 years ago, I missed two years because I was competing overseas but the eight I have competed I have done well and won.
"Ask me 10 years ago and I would never have thought I would be standing where I am today.”
It was a family affair in the shorter 'Enticer' course as the first runner across the line was Jacqulyn Wonnocott with her younger brother Cameron hot on her heels to be the first male finisher.
The Mackay based sibling duo waited to watch their father, Murray, also place to claim third in the enticer event.
"That's the closest I think I've ever finished to them,” Murray laughed.
Among the finishers was first time triathlete Allison Turner from Hamilton Island.
"It was lots of fun, the hills weren't too bad compared to Hamilton,” she said.
"I think this is good preparation for the one coming up in Hamilton soon.”
Race director Stephen Jackson said he couldn't thank the community and locals enough.
"It's been really good, such a great event and we got everyone home safely,” he said.
"I think the tri-club members have done at least three laps of Everest with all the help organising and setting up and then they went out and competed today.
"A big thank you to our sponsors and everyone involved in the early mornings and late nights and volunteering their homes to house gear.”