Intense sprint part of preparation for Sufferfest

Just finishing a triathlon is a goal for some athletes, but Anthony Cook sees this weekend’s Warrnambool foreshore triathlon as a small step towards Sufferfest.

Through the Hopkins River and across the Lady Bay promenade, the inaugural Blue Hole Sufferfest on March 3 will put south-west athletes through an Olympic distance triathlon — a 1.5-kilometre swim, 40km bike ride and 10km run — with a long course distance event double the length.

This weekend’s shorter but still challenging triathlon begins at the breakwater at 9am on Sunday, with a 500-metre swim, 20km bike ride and 5km run.

Cook said while the distance and pace of this weekend’s event would fail to prepare him for Sufferfest, it was still another test to overcome.

“It’s all about practice,” he said. “You still get the experience of the race situation and transitions.

“It’s a sprint distance and all over in an hour, so it’s pretty intense.

“There’s always the same people around you finishing around the same time, but I’m hopeful to get in under an hour.”

The 45-year-old has been competing in triathlons for about three years. After finishing his first half-ironman last November, he felt it was time for a new challenge.

“It’s a natural progression to roll on to (Sufferfest),” Cook said.

“I ummed and ahhed over Christmas but decided to enter. Having completed one of a similar distance, I was keen to do another one.

“I think a lot of it is about being active and keeping fit but it’s also a challenge and something to aim for.

“Being the inaugural event hosted by the club, it’s good to get in there and support it.

“It looks like a pretty good course with some nice scenery.  For the club’s sake I hope it can really build up to be a good event.”

Cook’s wife Ange and three daughters Ailish, 14, Anya, 12, and Annelli, 10, will compete in triathlons of their own this weekend.

“My wife’s been a good runner for quite some time and she’s got involved in the last 12 months or so,” Cook said.

“The kids have seen us out there doing it and been around the club a little bit.

“I often train with Ange and she’ll often do some training with the kids.

“My eldest daughter moves up into the open age category and the two youngest will participate in the Wunta triathlon on Saturday morning.

“I’m sure they’ll do really well.”

Registrations for the Warrnambool foreshore triathlon will close at 5pm today.

Warrnambool Tri Club president Dean Picken said he expected a strong showing of members.

“Online we’ve got some pretty good numbers, around 30 or 40,” he said.

“Given that most of our racers are members, we’d expect about 150 starters for the field on the weekend.

“Last year we had somewhere around 180 for the Wunta run, so we’d expect around 200 kids there on Saturday morning.”

j.pech@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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