CAMPERDOWN teenager Kurt McDonald celebrated a breakthrough national triathlon win on Saturday.
Kurt, 14, collected the Scody Australian Junior Triathlon Series’ youth boys’ round two title in Penrith.
The win bettered his round one fourth place finish in Queensland last month.
Kurt completed the flat course, which consisted of a 400-metre swim, 15-kilometre ride and 4km run, in 43 minutes and 37 seconds to finish five seconds clear of New South Wales’ hopeful Caleb Agostino-Morrow.
Kurt finished second to Caleb in the School Sport Australia under 14 boys’ triathlon in April 2013.
The Cobden Technical School student said the Penrith result surpassed his expectations, labelling it a “perfect race”.
“It was great to break the tape for the first time ever,” Kurt said.
“I didn’t expect to win going in. I was looking for a good race.”
Kurt said the surprise win gave him “a lot of confidence”.
“It changes the way I race a bit, knowing I can go well now,” he said.
“It changes my mindset and everyone who sees me knows I go all right now.”
Kurt held off Caleb in a sprint to the finish. The pair ran together for 3.5km before Kurt made his move.
“It was a really tight race,” he said. “I knew he was a better sprinter than me and I had to go from a bit further out than I would have liked.
“The last 500 metres in the run (were the hardest) when I was holding him off and going as fast as I could.
“I didn’t look over my shoulder but I couldn’t hear him breathing so I knew I had a little break. And the commentator said I had a break so that was handy.”
Kurt — one of 25 competitors in the 13-15 year old youth boys’ section — was the third athlete out of the water.
He then rode in a breakaway for two laps before a group of 12 bridged the gap.
Kurt and Caleb then pushed away and fought their own battle in the run leg.
The Scody Australian Junior Triathlon Series’ final two races in Brighton in February and Devonport in March don’t cater for the youth boys’ section.
Kurt will now switch his attention to the Australian youth championships in Queensland in March.