Dynamic duo reap rewards

LEADING triathletes Jeff Collier and Dwain Fitzsimmons battled hard at the Australian Triathlon Championships in Perth on Sunday, but their form proved that determination and hard work always wins

The dynamic duo both competed in Olympic distance triathlons - 1.5km swim, 40km cycle, 10km run - and both were rewarded with podium finishes.

Collier dug deep in the 45-49 years category to remarkably fend off a field of 70 to claim the title.

The 46-year-old Murwillumbah triathlete said the race had been demanding, and that he was pushed all the way by one competitor who refused to let up throughout the entire course.

“I came out of the swim with a 40-second lead and then he caught me on the bike, which turned out to be the hardest leg,” Collier said.

“For 5km there was tailwind and then another 5km of headwind.

“Then in the run, my main competitor was on my shoulder for the whole distance.

“I tried to surge many times to drop him and then the last kilometre I just accelerated and eventually won by 15 seconds.”

Equally impressive, 31-year-old Fitzsimmons placed third in 30-34 years category amongst 103 competitors - the largest group of the meet.

The Tugun resident said the championships had been tough because the field was so evenly matched, and the result came down to a battle of the wills.

“I came out of the water in second position and then battled with three guys on the bike but no one could get a break,” Fitzsimmons said.

“There where four of us in the transition from bike to run and I was the slowest in transition so I had to make up a gap of 20 metres, but I soon caught them.

“I got to the 5km mark in the run and started to attack the two guys.

“I managed to get away and get out front but they where both so determined and I started dropping back, but none of us would give in.”

Fitzsimmons said the top four where happy with the results because they pushed one another and left nothing in the tank.

Their success in Perth has earned both men a place in the Australian age group team in their individual divisions, and qualifies them for the Gold Coast ITU Triathlon World Championships in September.

Collier said that the next five months would be preparation for the championships, which would include some running races.

“I think I will compete in the Gold Coast 10km run in July and then head down to Sydney in August for the City to Surf,” he said.

Fitzsimmons said he had similar plans as Collier, but would like to take a month's break off first to spend time with the family.

“I will have some time out and step back for a while have a bit of a rest and spend time with my little baby boy, Will,” Fitzsimmons said.

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