Jersey Island Announcement
Jersey Island Announcement
Super League Triathlon brought the sport of triathlon into the living rooms of millions of people on its inaugural weekend broadcast. While avid triathlon fans were in their element listening to our commentators talk about aero positions and time trials, those who only had a passing acquaintance with the sport found themselves stumped by its jargon.
In anticipation of our coming announcement, we’ve put together a list of terms you will most commonly come across in a Super League Triathlon broadcast. If you don’t see a term here, let us know so we can add it!
70.3: Triathlon distance consisting of a 1.9-kilometer swim, 90-kilometer bike ride, and 21-kilometer run; also known as half-ironman distance. The total distance covered in miles is 70.3.
140.6: Total distance in miles of a full ironman distance triathlon, consisting of a 2.4-mile/3.8-kilometer swim, 112-mile/180-kilometer bike ride, and 26.2-mile/42.2-kilometer run.
Aerodynamic/Aero Position: A way of positioning oneself on the bike to minimize air friction (drag) so that force generated by pedaling can more efficiently propel bike and rider forward
Aero Bars: Handlebars with arm pads placed lengthwise on the bike that allow triathletes to take an aerodynamic position.
AG(er): Age Group(er)
Big Gear: The larger gear on the front by the pedals that allows the athlete to push a harder pace at the same cadence.
Big Gear, No Fear: Richard Murray’s life motto
Bloody Oath: Australian slang for “You bet your a**”
Bonk: Onset of fatigue and loss of energy usually caused by the athlete mismanaging their energy output (“going hard from the gun”) depleting their body’s ready-access glycogen stores. Also known as “hitting the wall”.
BOP: Back of the Pack
BPM: Beats Per Minute (in reference to heart rate)
Break-away: A cycling tactic where a rider “attacks” and sprints away from a peloton; other riders may choose to “stay with”/join the breakaway, or remain in the peloton; in a triathlon, breakaways are used to gain a lead going into the succeeding leg of a race.
Brick: A combination of triathlon sports with a short transition time between sports; commonly bike-to-run
Cadence: See "RPM"
Crit: See "Criterium"
Criterium: Type of bike race where athletes accomplish laps on a short course. Athletes may be eliminated when they get "lapped"
DFL: Dead f***ing last
DNF: Did not finish
DNR: Did not race
DNS: Did not start
Dolphin Dive: Water entry or exit technique to get through shallow water; athlete dives forward, stands up, and repeats until it is either deep enough to swim or shallow enough to run through.
Drafting: Also known as slipstreaming in aerodynamics; a technique where an athlete aligns behind another athlete to take advantage of reduced drag/air resistance, enabling the drafting athlete to reduce energy expended to travel forward. Legal during the swim, but not allowed during the bike leg of most triathlons. ITU and Olympic triathlon events allow drafting on the bike. Super League Triathlon allows drafting on the bike for most of its formats except for Stage 1 of the Equalizer, which is an individual time trial.
Du: See "Duathlon"
Duathlon: A race consisting of bike and run legs; most duathlons are structured as run-bike-run but there are also other variations.
Eliminator: A Super League Triathlon format that consists of three stages of swim-bike-run, with the slowest athletes eliminated in each stage.
Equalizer: A Super League Triathlon format. First stage is an Individual Time Trial to determine starting positions and time gaps for the second stage’s swim-run-swim-bike-run.
Fartlek: Swedish term for 'speed play'; a form of interval training.
FOP: Front of pack
Half Mary: Half-marathon (13.1 miles/21.1 kilometers)
Hardware: Medal or trophy
HIM: Half-ironman; now more commonly referred to as 70.3
Hit the Wall: see "Bonk"
HR: Heart Rate
HRM: Heart Rate Monitor
IM: Ironman distance triathlon, consisting of a 2.4-mile/3.8-kilometer swim, 112-mile/180-kilometer bike ride, and 26.2-mile/42.2-kilometer run; less commonly referred to as 140.6.
Individual Time Trial: In cycling, an event during which the athlete competes alone to record his or her fastest time across a set course; the bike leg of a non-drafting triathlon is technically an individual time trial because athletes are disallowed from drafting which would aid them in going faster over the course. Stage 1 of the Equalizer is an individual time trial.
Interval Training: A workout that alternates periods of high-intensity exercise and low-intensity recovery
ITU: International Triathlon Union, the governing body for the disciplines of triathlon, duathlon, aquathlon, and winter triathlon; sanctions the ITU World Cup and ITU World Triathlon Series and is aligned with the International Olympic Committee and made up of the national triathlon federations of the world.
Kit: Clothing for a sport, usually triathlon or cycling; includes jersey or singlet top and matching bottom or a one-piece race suit, head gear, and shoes
Lactate/Lactic Acid: An organic compound produced by the body as a byproduct of glucose (blood sugar) utilization by muscle cells; highly-trained athletes can re-metabolize lactate into glucose, while excess accumulation of lactic acid byproducts can cause a decrease in muscle contraction capacity, causing an athlete to slow down.
Lapped: When another athlete gets ahead by at least one lap or circuit of a course.
LBS: Local Bike Shop
LSD: Long Slow Distance
Mashing: Pedaling the big gear with a slower cadence with a strong emphasis on the downstroke of the pedal motion, instead of using a smaller gear for a quicker cadence and smoother pedal stroke
M-dot: A stylized M that Ironman uses as its identifying trademark
MOP: Middle of the Pack
MTB: Mountain Bike
Negative split: When the second half of a workout or race is accomplished faster than the first half
Oly: Olympic-distance or standard triathlon composed of a 1.5-kilometer swim, 40-kilometer bike ride, and 10-kilometer run; the distance over which triathlon at the Olympics is contested
OWS: Open Water Swim
PB: Personal best (also see "PR"); an athlete's best time over a certain distance
PE: Perceived exertion or effort
Peloton: The large main group in a draft-legal bicycle leg; riders that can “sit in” and stay with the peloton can save energy versus riders that have been “dropped” (left behind)
Periodization: Varying the training levels over discrete periods of time to prevent overtraining
PF: Plantar fasciitis, a painful condition caused by inflammation of the plantar fascia, a web-like ligament extending from the heel along the sole to the toes.
PR: Personal record (also see "PB")
Rabbit: A term borrowed from greyhound racing; an athlete in front of you who you target in an attempt to chase down and pass.
RD: Race Director
RPE: Rate of perceived exertion, a scale used to measure intensity of exercise
RPM: Revolutions per minute, referring to pedal strokes while cycling; unit of measurement for cadence
Split: The time elapsed for a portion of an athlete’s race; a split can refer to the overall time for a discipline (“swim split”), or the time elapsed per fraction of the overall distance of the discipline (“split per lap”).
Sprint: Short distance triathlon comprising a 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike ride, and 5-kilometer run. Shorter distances are referred to as “super sprint”, such as those used in Super League Triathlon.
T1: Transition 1; the change area from swim to bike
T2: Transition 2; the change area from bike to run
TdF: Tour de France
Transition Area: The part of the race course where athletes keep their belongings used during a triathlon (i.e. wetsuit or swim skin, bike, bike shoes, helmet, running shoes, etc.); athletes change gear in transition according to the upcoming discipline. (See "T1" and "T2")
Tri-Bike: A bicycle specifically designed for riding in the aerodynamic position in a triathlon, with aero bars and a seat tube aligned to position the athlete’s body more forward over the pedals
Triple Mix: A Super League Triathlon format that involves three stages of swimming, biking, and running in various orders.
TT: Time Trial; an event during which an athlete competes against the clock to record either the fastest time over a distance, or the longest distance within a defined amount of time
TTT: Team Time Trial; a cycling event where athletes comprising a team race against the clock to record their fastest time over the distance, using slipstreaming/drafting techniques to rotate team members pushing hard in front while resting other team members in the back
Washing Machine: When referring to a mass swim start, the “washing machine effect” occurs when athletes swim very closely alongside each other creating turbulence in the water akin to that in a washing machine; athletes may get dunked underwater or encounter physical contact in “the washing machine”.
Wrench: Bike mechanic
(Featured photo: Clinton Barter)
As anticipation for our next Super League Triathlon announcement builds, we want to take a look at who we’re doing all of this for: the fans of sport and triathlon. We knew some of you were hardcore triathletes, but we wanted to know your stories about how you came into the sport.
Mel Kemp from Australia watched Super League Hamilton Island with her partner while in the midst of heavy training for Ultraman. “We were away on an overnight trip at a local tri while it was on and we were all huddled around watching clips -- it was great to see so many great athletes fighting it out,” she said. “It was awesome to follow along online, especially via the Facebook page live stream and catch-up viewing via YouTube.”
Kemp started her own journey in triathlon by first watching someone else participate. She related, “I went to Busselton to support a friend in her first Ironman. I was so inspired by what I saw that when I returned home I went out and bought my first bike, booked in my first swim lesson and made the decision that in 12 months’ time I would be standing on that start line.” She started training with Get Tri Fit, a club in Tasmania.
Three years later, she is the veteran of three Ironmans, and Ultraman Australia -- a three-day race made up of a 10-kilometer swim and 140-kilometer bike ride on Day 1, a 285-kilometer bike ride on Day 2, and a double marathon of 84.4 kilometers on Day 3. And it all started with that first nudge, that first look at triathlon.
Kemp said, “What I have learnt: face your fears, challenge yourself. Step out of your comfort zone. It doesn't matter what your goal is -- to run 5k, to learn to swim, to finish your first triathlon -- we all start somewhere and after that first step you never know where you might end up. Triathlon has changed my life and I can't imagine it any other way.”
She is looking forward to watching the next Super League Triathlon race, especially the women’s race. “I would love to see the girls out there. We outnumber the guys in our training group!”
Dario Vasquez is a Spanish scientist currently living in Denmark who describes himself as a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: a scientist during the day and dedicated amateur triathlete in his spare time. He watched Super League Hamilton Island on Youtube and loved the coverage with commentators. “It was very informative with relevant data about the triathletes,” he said.
Richard Varga’s performance pushed Vasquez to train even harder. “As an amateur triathlete I want to swim like Varga! So I am now putting even more emphasis on my swimming technique. Although I have to admit as a Spanish I strongly support my counterparts Mola and Gomez-Noya.”
Super League Triathlon has inspired Vasquez to keep participating in sprint triathlons. “They are so fast, dynamic and technical that I personally think they are underestimated. I recently hit a 4th position in a super sprint triathlon. I wonder how amateur events would play out in Super League Triathlon. That would be awesome!”
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Super League Hamilton Island pushed the envelope not just for triathlon race operations, but also set a new standard against which triathlon television coverage will now be compared. Behind the slick exterior were many moving parts that had to come together in a well-oiled machine to give the world the three-day spectacle millions tuned into.
“Across the team we have some very significant experience and I will go as far as saying collectively the Super League Triathlon team is the most talented, credible, innovative and skilled team in all of triathlon,” said Super League Triathlon chief marketing officer Trent Taylor.
Apart from the executive team, there were also those involved in the execution of the race and its coverage. Ninety-three individuals comprised the on-site event staff working in coordination with Hamilton Island staff, Triathlon Australia officials, and members of local triathlon clubs from Airlie Beach and Mackay.
Creating a world-class television product was key to Super League Hamilton Island’s success. From nothing more than a strategy and a vision, Taylor and team designed the look and feel of the show, integrated event timing and data programming into the graphics, conducted four production surveys on Hamilton Island, negotiated broadcast partners, coordinated international satellite feeds, and did rehearsals in Sydney before even landing on the Island for event week. The television team also included renowned director Gary Deans, who is also the director for The Voice, Australian Ninja Warrior, global broadcast director for Melbourne Formula One Grand Prix, and is the director of global broadcast for the Sydney New Year’s Eve celebrations.
“We had fantastic ingredients: the world’s best athletes, three unique and action-packed race formats, an idyllic tropical paradise that hid a beast of a course, and temperatures that pushed athletes to breaking point,” said Taylor. “Television, and digital content is one of the key drivers of what makes Super League Triathlon stand out from the pack and we only had one chance to get it right from the get go.”
Executive event director Shane Smith agreed. Speaking from his over 22 years of experience in all aspects of the sport from being a professional athlete to operating large-scale events, Smith said the live television aspect of Super League Hamilton Island was a game-changer. “Everything we did operationally had to compliment TV and as a team we had to constantly think how things would look to the viewer.”
Yet television coverage would be for nought without holding the races -- and each day’s race needed to go off without a hitch. Smith pulled together a team composed of professionals who had been involved in the sport for many years, and who he had worked with before on large projects. He said, “As a leader, you are only as good as the team members around you. I knew the event was going to be very tough logistically and at times I would have to ask the team to work ‘above and beyond’ which every one of them did.”
Staging an event of this scale on an island off mainland Australia posed logistical challenges. Equipment needed to be transported across via barge, including metal barriers, banners, and other event paraphernalia as well as HD4 broadcast trucks, satellite and links trucks, camera motorbikes, and production vehicles. “Working closely with Hamilton Island’s barge company made it easier but the worry of items not arriving on time was always a concern for us, but it all worked out well in the end,” said Smith.
They also needed to ensure race operations would not impact Hamilton Island’s normal operations as a holiday destination, which meant moving barriers twice a day to open and close roads, and deploying crew to redirect traffic. Even the design of the finish arch was meant to cause minimal pedestrian obstruction outside of race hours.
While Smith was on-course to ensure each day’s race went off smoothly, Taylor was in the broadcast booth overseeing how they would look to the rest of the world. “It was long days for all crew as we produced a highly stylised live show each day and a raft of highlights packages during live programming across the Super League Triathlon website and social media platforms. The quick turnaround of the commercial hour highlights package was another element of the process on-island that kept the wheels turning into the small hours each night.”
Both television coverage and race execution centered around the stars of the show, the athletes. Taylor said, “In the lead up to the event we were open with athletes about what we were trying to achieve with our television programming. Whether it was having a microphone put under their nose while transitioning from swim to bike, being interviewed straight after being eliminated, or having recovery times adjusted to suit television timing, our athletes took it all in their stride and showed the world how professional, talented and charismatic they are.”
Smith added, “I really wanted them to feel a part of this production and I wasn’t afraid to ask them for their opinions on aspects of the event and then make any necessary changes. This created a great atmosphere between the staff, the television presenters, and the athletes.” The addition of an ice pool and inclusion of preferred beverages and food in the recovery area, and even the continuation of the third day’s racing despite torrential rains earlier in the day all resulted from consulting the athletes.
With more Super League Triathlon races on the horizon in locations around the world, the task is now how to replicate and improve on the inaugural event’s success.
From the operations side, Smith said key staff members in place at each event will help immensely. “That way the event will always maintain the standard we set from the beginning. Ideally, we would work with local organizers and provide expert advice and support to deliver the best sporting experience possible for the athletes competing.”
Taylor envisions pushing the envelope even more to produce a compelling and engaging show. “Super League Hamilton Island has now set the benchmark and we need to continue to strive to be even better,” he said. “There’s lots more to do with further graphics integration and live data from athletes, social media interaction from fans and viewers, POV cameras on bikes, underwater cameras, Spidercam and other new innovations. The proliferation of television content and television highlights across social and digital platforms is also of paramount importance so that no matter where you are, or on what screen you are, you can experience world-class content from Super League Triathlon.”
(featured photo by Clint Barter)
Many of our Super League Triathlon athletes came up through the ITU system together. On Super League Hamilton Island weekend Richard Varga (#12) had a constant shadow in the form of Andrea Salvisberg (#69), and for good reason. The two have been racing each other since 2006 and nearly always alongside each other as their abilities are nearly matched.
The close-quarters, three-day racing of Super League Triathlon brought their history of racing into stark relief for Salvisberg, who tracked down their races together and graphed their respective progress through the years. “It was fun to see I raced him so many times,” the multiple Swiss national champion said. “And it is great to see that we both improved over the years… We have similar good results! Swim and bike fast.”
“Sometimes one better, sometimes the other one,” noted Varga, the two-time Olympian. Coming up through the juniors, their first race against each other was at the 2006 ETU Autun European Championships in France where Salvisberg finished in 30th place, 29 places ahead of Varga. The results got closer and closer as both of them developed and entered elite competition.
As they became mainstays of the World Triathlon Series circuit they raced each other more often, even figuring in races within races: at WTS Cape Town 2016 they battled on a 400-meter sprint to the finish for 9th place.
The two grew into fierce competitors on course and great friends off course. “Richard and I are very similar in our life next to triathlon,” said Salvisberg. “I think that is why we get along so well.”
When they both secured berths for the 2016 Olympic Games, Salvisberg decided the best preparation would be alongside his friend and erstwhile rival. “I always enjoyed racing with him and that is why I asked him if I could join him in camp with the Brownlees -- but more because of him than the Brownlees.”
Varga recalled the Olympic preparation and race fondly. “He did the most of this important season together with us, training really hard and talking about how the race can go. And then we were going almost the whole race together, next to each other. That was cool,” he said. They finished within a few places of each other, Varga in 11th and Salvisberg in 16th.
For Salvisberg, the Super League Hamilton Island is the most memorable race he’s had with Varga. “We raced together and not against each other!” Varga finished in 5th and Salvisberg in 10th, but the overall result does not reflect how closely these two athletes contested each stage and each day of Super League Hamilton Island.
With more Super League Triathlon events on the horizon, expect more action and races within races from these world-class athletes.
photo by Delly Carr
When Super League Hamilton Island first aired, there were plenty of questions about the athletes wearing white suits in contrast to the yellow suits the others wore. These were junior athletes invited to compete alongside the best in the world to expose them to world-class racing. One of them, Matt Hauser, would race against them for his first World Triathlon Series race on the Gold Coast a month later.
“I'd only just heard about the competition on Hamilton Island and my Coach Dan Atkins and I were saying to ourselves just how awesome it would be to experience this revolutionary genre of racing,” he said. “I got off the plane after traveling to Perth to defend my Oceania Junior Title and the phone rang with [Super League Triathlon co-founder] Chris McCormack on the other line. The idea of racing some of my idols didn't really sink in until I touched down on the island.”
Having been named to the Australian Commonwealth Games NextGen squad, Hauser is one of Australia’s best emerging talents. He has won the Australian Junior Triathlon Series twice and the Oceania Junior Triathlon Championships four times. As Australian junior champion he automatically qualified for the ITU Grand Final in Cozumel, where he finished fifth junior in the world.
At Super League Hamilton Island, Hauser finished 13th in the field beating out more experienced competitors. The performance exceeded his own expectations. He said, “I came into the weekend knowing that it was going to be one of the toughest weekends I would face. I was aiming to get at least a top 15 and get contracted for the series. To get 13th made me proud. I felt like I got stronger mentally and physically as the weekend wore on.”
Racing against athletes he looked up to also prepared him for his debut on the WTS circuit. “I simply learnt that the triathletes I've watched on TV from a young age sweat and suffer just like I do. They are human,” he said. “The thing that Super League Triathlon has done for me has certainly granted me more confidence and taught me to feel comfortable amongst world-class company. It's almost fast-forwarded the process for me.”
Hauser is working toward a berth at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and will be racing more, even while juggling a degree in Business at Griffith University. “Next up for me is Chengdu World Cup, followed by a small break. Then I'll hope to chase a few more WTS starts later on in the year before lining up for the Junior World Championships in September. I also hope to continue racing the Super League Triathlon series from October through to next year.”
photo by Delly Carr
Singapore (March 28, 2017) - When Richard Murray hoisted the solid bronze champions trophy above his head two Sundays ago, its weight was symbolic of what he had achieved: he had triumphed over the best in the world across three days of intense super-sprint racing to become the first Super League Triathlon champion.
This was a man who had five-to-one odds against even being on the podium, yet those who were keen observers of the sport, like Super League Triathlon co-founder Chris McCormack, knew he was very capable of walking away with the $100,000 AUD top prize. The South African rated himself more modestly, though.
“I knew where my body was at, but after only a few events and about four speed running sessions this year I was not very sure,” said Murray of his confidence leading into Super League Hamilton Island. Once racing had commenced, though, he had a better idea of his chances. “On the first day, I noticed that this type of format really does suit me: I raced road cycling and was a 800/1500-meter runner.” The experience definitely showed.
It wasn’t all wine and roses, however. Behind the scenes, Murray managed ankle and Achilles pain throughout the weekend with the help of Super League Triathlon’s team of physiotherapists, including Gold Coast-based Brad Beer of Pogo Physios with whom he continues to work after the race. Yet once the start gun fired on each day, Murray showed no sign of weakness with his poker face and piercing glare. “Three days of racing is tactical. I’m a very good couch surfer and staying low when I need to,” Murray revealed.
Murray knew exactly how to play the game with his secret recipe of patience, consistency, and being in the right place at the right time. For most of each day’s racing he stayed within striking distance of the front and only unleashed hard for the front in the final minutes.
His closest competitors were 2016 ITU world champion Mario Mola and young up-and-comer Jake Birtwhistle, the 2015 Under-23 world champion, who finished second and third overall respectively. All the other athletes on the start list were nothing to sneeze at, either. “The quality was there: world champions, Olympic champions, you name it.” But Murray relished the challenge. “High-octane, flat-out, and no fear racing -- that’s what I love.”
Even with the high points of winning both Day 1 and Day 2 of racing, Day 3 where Murray finished third was the most memorable to him. The past two days of heat had broken to bring on torrential downpours, bringing temperatures down and soaking the bike course. It was also the day athletes needed to go fast enough through the first two stages of the Eliminator in order to make the final stage and race for the win. “Swimming behind the Polyanskiy brothers, next to Henri Schoeman, and counting how many people there were in each stage -- that was really cool,” Murray recalled.
“Also some of the team crew cheering for us when we were warming up in the rain before the final day’s racing was quite special. Kudos to the team in the rain and caring for the athletes first. This should be seen by all other triathlon event organizers.”
Singapore (March 24, 2017) - The world marked a new era in triathlon history with the debut of Super League Triathlon on Hamilton Island, Australia last weekend. Super League Hamilton Island broke new ground by pitting 24 of the world’s best athletes against each other across super-sprint distances of 300-meter swims, 6-kilometer cycle legs, and 2-kilometer runs in action-packed and television-friendly formats.
Simultaneous live broadcasts, as well as live streaming, brought unprecedented exposure. Super League Triathlon’s official live broadcast partners included Eurosport (UK and Europe), Siminn (Iceland), Fox Sports in Asia and Australia, SuperSport (South Africa), beIN Sports (USA and Canada), the Bike Channel (Italy), Tencent (China) and Sky Sports (New Zealand), which resulted in 110 airings of live programs and replays across the event weekend reaching millions across the globe. A 49-minute event highlights program is being distributed to 43 networks, reaching 388 million households, for airing from March 25, 2017.
Super League Triathlon also innovated with interactive live coverage between races with Facebook Live, Instagram stories, live race streaming on Facebook and the Super League Triathlon website, and uploaded highlights and full race coverage to YouTube to reach close to one million combined views and still counting.
New viewers and hardcore fanatics found themselves glued to their screens over the three days of racing that resulted in South Africa’s Richard Murray (#07) taking the overall win.
Day 1 of racing featured the Triple Mix format in which competitors faced each other across three stages of swimming, cycling, and running in different orders, with a bonus of five seconds off their total times for the stage winners as well as for the first finishers of the swim in Stage 1, the run in Stage 2, and the cycle in Stage 3. Australian Jake Birtwhistle (#44), the 2015 Under-23 triathlon world champion, claimed Stage 1’s swim-bike-run, with Richard Varga (#12) of Slovakia claiming the swim prime. Varga then swam his way to victory in the final leg of Stage 2’s run-bike-swim, although it was Birtwhistle who claimed the run prime. Stage 3 saw Andrea Salvisberg (#69) of Switzerland claim the bike prime. Murray (#07) stayed in contention coming onto the run in eighth place, then unleashed his foot speed to overtake eventual second placed Varga and third placed Ryan Bailie (#39) of Australia.
Despite Varga’s total bonus of ten seconds, Murray’s total time of 1:05:31 was still 12 seconds faster than Varga’s adjusted time of 1:05:43. Bailie logged a total time of 1:05:44. Murray gained the maximum number of 20 points for his Triple Mix win, with Varga and Bailie logging 18 points and 16 points respectively.
Day 2 began early for the two-stage Equalizer format. The Stage 1 six-kilometer cycling time trial in the morning would determine the start order for the afternoon’s swim-run-swim-bike-run sequence. Cameron Dye (#08) of the USA was King of the Hill, setting the fastest time from the runway of Hamilton Island Airport all the way up the island’s highest road on One Tree Hill. Dye started with an advantage over the field, however, Murray bridged the time deficit in the first half of Stage 2 and once again tore through on the run to take the Equalizer win. Birtwhistle placed second and Mola third. This result allowed Mola to move up the overall leaderboard to second with 31 points, and relegated Varga to third overall with 30 points. Murray still led comfortably with 40 points.
Day 3 saw action over the three-stage Eliminator format. The goal was simple: swim, bike, run, and avoid getting eliminated. Only the top 15 finishers of Stage 1 went into Stage 2, and only the top 10 finishers of Stage 2 had the opportunity to battle it out for the day’s win in Stage 3. Kristian Blummenfelt (#02) of Norway went full-gas and topped Stage 1 and 2, with Bailie, Birtwhistle, Murray, South African Henri Schoeman (#04), Mola, Gomez, Polyansky, Ryan Fisher (#10), and Varga making up the final field of ten for Stage 3. Here Birtwhistle shone through with a powerful sprint on the final lap of the run leaving Murray and Mola in his wake to win the Eliminator and log a total of 48 points to edge Varga out of the overall top three. Mola took second and ended Day 3 with 49 points. However, Murray was the big winner of day three, with his third-place finish in the Eliminator securing the overall win and the AUD $100,000 first prize purse.
Post-race, Murray said, “Wow. Just wow. The most enjoyable, refreshing, and energizing racing I've done ever. Super League Triathlon has raised the game in triathlon. Chris McCormack, sir, you rock. And to your team, thanks to everyone who contributed and helped.”
Gomez, who had been a pre-race favorite but finished in sixth overall, had the same sentiments. “Athletes were treated like true professionals and organizers did an amazing job, taking our sport to a different level,” he said.
Super League Hamilton Island was attended by a veritable who’s who of world sport, including Australian sports icon, super swimmer and five-time Olympic champion Ian Thorpe, Formula One driver Marcus Ericsson, and Paris Roubaix champion and Olympic gold medalist Stuart O’Grady. Triathlon greats Spencer Smith and Brad Bevan were given a special role to lead the Triple Mix Stage 2 opening run through the neutral zone. Beijing Olympic triathlon gold medalist Emma Snowsill-Frodeno was part of the studio commentating team, and three-time Tour de France green jersey winner Robbie McEwen acted as on-course commentator and led Triple Mix Stage 3’s opening bike leg through its first lap. Multiple Ironman 70.3 champion Sarah Crowley flew in from her base in Brisbane just to watch a new era dawn in triathlon.
Hamilton Island’s climate and topography played a major role in the race weekend’s dynamics with athletes coming from cooler climes struggling in the heat and humidity, and Ireland’s Ben Shaw (#73) crashing twice on the technical bike course. Its native wildlife also came to join the action, with a wallaby bounding up One Tree Hill in the middle of the Equalizer individual time trial.
In all, Super League Hamilton Island was deemed a smashing success, with future races in the series already in the works. Super League Triathlon co-founders Chris McCormack, Michael D’Hulst, and Leonid Boguslavsky were extremely pleased with the positive reception.
Boguslavsky praised the race organization team headed by Shane Smith and the media content team led by Trent Taylor. “All athletes appreciated how they were treated, including consultation on aspects of the event, and audiences loved what they saw on TV and online,” he said.
D’Hulst added, “I’m excited to see our vision come to life and this wouldn’t have been possible without the support of a very passionate and committed team and partners. Super League Hamilton Island put us on the map to begin a revolution of the sport from athletes for athletes!”
McCormack concluded, “We want triathlon to be exciting, innovative, and entertaining -- this is critical for any sport’s survival in this era. I believe Super League Triathlon will lead the way for professional triathlon racing in this capacity. That is what we set out to do with Super League Triathlon, we accomplished that on Hamilton Island, and this is only the beginning.”
**photo by Delly Carr