Last Sunday would have to be without a doubt the biggest sporting event on the Noosa calendar for on this occasion our town played host to the biggest Tri event in the world- The Noosa Triathlon.
And the top honors went to Jake Birtwistle in the men’s and Ashleigh Gentle in the ladies. For Ashleigh it was indeed an outstanding effort as it gave her an unprecedented seven wins in this event. Well done to both athletes.
The first leg of the Tri, the swim, will probably go down as the toughest swim in the events history. For once the normally calm waters of Noosas Main Beach produced conditions that for many would be their undoing; several rips and sweeps leaving the unexperienced surf swimmers in a situation beyond their capabilities. As a result a large number had to be helped from the water somewhat distressed and disappointed.
The normal entry into the surf was immediately in front of the Noosa Surf Club; however for this one the swimmers were forced to come onto the beach, turn right and run to the First Point. Those who ignored the advice and decided to force their way straight out were immediately caught in a sweep thus ending their dreams of glory. But this was just the start.
To have something like 11,000 athlets overall, 7200 bikes to be placed and many other problems the only way an event of this magnitude was going to succeed was to have a large number of volunteer helpers. And that is exactly what they had. Hundreds of happy smiling faces under which they wore those bright colored t-shirts; and behind the wheel of those courtesy busses were other workers whose patience, in the unbelievable traffic, must have been stretched to the limit. Well done one and all you did our community proud.
Out on the water it was the same result. On Sunday for the big Tri swim there were some 40 plus volunteer water safety officers from the Noosa and Mudjumba Surf Clubs. If there was ever a tri swim where the experience in water safety of our lifesavers was needed, it was on Sunday morning. With the conditions that a lot of inexperienced people encountered, words of advice and in many instances, a helping hand on to a rescue board or into a rescue boat was definitely needed.
But for one dedicated clubby, Rob O’Neil of the Mudjimba Club it did not stop there. When the swims were finished and the gear was being hosed down Rob was asked if he was looking forward to going home with his daughter Kendal and putting his feet up. He replied: “No mate after this we are going back to our club and doing the afternoon patrol”.
It was this type of dedication and commitment from all our volunteer work force, stewards, bus drivers, clubbies etc. that made this, the biggest Triathlon in the world, an outstanding success. Well done to all; your service to your community is noted.
Following the tragic death of the Noosa Tri Guru Gath Proud in 2017, a scholarship in his name was established. The aim of this was to provide for an elite school age male and female athlete (who had to apply for the award) whose overall performances were judged be by a panel to be above all else. To further their ambitions the winners would have access to equipment, training, mentoring and coaching in media work. This scholarship was indeed a major highlight of the weekend and one which was totally worthy of the memory of a great man.