Event co-ordinator Michelle Williamson was overwhelmed by the response to the all-abilities aquathlon held as part of the Rockhampton Triathlon. Photo: Contributed
Event co-ordinator Michelle Williamson was overwhelmed by the response to the all-abilities aquathlon held as part of the Rockhampton Triathlon. Photo: Contributed

Feedback that had Rocky event organiser close to tears

Event co-ordinator Michelle Williamson was almost moved to tears by the response to the all-abilities aquathlon held as part of the Rockhampton Triathlon last year.

It was the first time it was included in the annual event, organised by the Fitzroy Frogs Triathlon Club, and it attracted about 25 competitors in late October.

Williamson is expecting that number to double when the triathlon, which also features women’s and junior categories, returns on February 28.

Junior competitors get ready to dive into action at last year’s Rockhampton Triathlon. Photo: Jann Houley
Junior competitors get ready to dive into action at last year’s Rockhampton Triathlon. Photo: Jann Houley

“The trial all-abilities aquathlon was so fantastically received,” she said.

“The feedback we got from the disability service providers was nothing short of amazing. Their clients were thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in something outside of their own group activities.

“It allowed them to feel like they were part of something bigger in the community and empowered them to set bigger goals for themselves.

“It nearly made me cry reading their letter.

“This is an inclusive event and that’s something that as a club that we really want to foster.

“Triathlon can be so much more than the swim-bike-run elements. The self-confidence it builds by getting out of one’s comfort zone and completing something you didn’t think was possible just feeds into all aspects of a person’s life.”

Williamson said an all-abilities triathlon would be offered this year, as well as the aquathlon.

Tennile Danvers in the bike leg during last year’s Rockhampton Triathlon. Photo: Jann Houley
Tennile Danvers in the bike leg during last year’s Rockhampton Triathlon. Photo: Jann Houley

The Rockhampton Triathlon is generally held in the first quarter of the year but was pushed back last year due to COVID.

Williamson believes the quick turnaround could well work in the club’s favour.

“Having just had the postponed event in October, we’ve been able to get a running start on the planning for the 2021 event,” she said.

“We’re hoping we can get some momentum with the competitors from last year keen to give it another crack.”

Williamson said this year there would be four age groups for the juniors – seven years and under, seven-12 years, 10-14 years and 13-14 years.

Female athletes could compete individually or in teams in either the sprint (750m swim, 18km ride, 4km run) or enticer (350m swim, 9km ride, 2km run) triathlon events.

The volunteers who were on course at last year's Rockhampton Triathlon, which is run by the Fitzroy Frogs. Photo: Contributed
The volunteers who were on course at last year's Rockhampton Triathlon, which is run by the Fitzroy Frogs. Photo: Contributed

Williamson said the course was ideal for beginners and experienced competitors alike, and it was all about just getting out there and having some fun with it.

The swim leg is in the 2nd World War Memorial Aquatic Centre, the bike leg circles the Rockhampton Showgrounds and the run leg is along the riverfront.

Williamson said the finish line would be moved to the front of the aquatic centre to create more of a “festival atmosphere”.

“Everyone enjoys the event, and competitors say the friendly environment and encouragement from volunteers and fellow competitors makes them feel safe and supported,” she said.

“I love seeing the smiles on the faces of the competitors as they cross that finish line, and presenting each one of them with a medal is pretty special.”

Registrations are now open for the Rockhampton Triathlon, with early bird pricing on offer until February 6 and a chance to win a $200 Intersport voucher courtesy of the event’s major sponsor, The Capricornian.

Visit fitzroyfrogs.net for more information.



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