AFTER more than a year away from competition, triathlete Leigh McCarthy will return to the track this evening for Warrnambool Triathlon Club’s inaugural open aquathon criterium.
The 36-year-old has been sidelined with a troublesome back and hip niggle and is only just getting back into the endurance sport.
“I’ve been dealing with the injury for about 14 months,” he said.
“I had a back and hip-related nerve impingement causing referred calf pain and spasms.
“I haven’t been able to do much running.”
McCarthy has instead become a regular at the swimming pool.
But the triathlon club secretary still rates the swim leg as his weakest.
“My swimming hasn’t improved like it should have,” he laughed.
Tonight his ability in water and on land will be put to the test at the Warrnambool foreshore.
The race circuit comprises a 150-metre rectangular bay swim followed by a one-kilometre beach run.
Competitors complete the course as many times as possible within an hour.
While McCarthy swam as part of a team in the Shepparton Half Ironman, this will be his first outing as a solo entrant since his injury.
And the casual nature of tonight’s event suits him just fine. “It’s more about fun and participation than results,” McCarthy said.
“Because the run is on sand, it will a lot softer going.
“You can go as fast or as slow as you like.”
Single and team entrants are welcome this evening.
A team should consist of two members: one runner and one swimmer. Club media officer Shelli Rantall said the event was for members, newcomers and visitors.
“We haven’t run an event like this before,” she said.
“We want to open up the event to tourists coming into the town and give them something to do on their holidays.”
Rantall said the tight boundaries of the aquathon would allow people to view both disciplines from the one place.
Racing starts at 6pm and finishes at 7pm. Registration opens at 5pm at the harbour pavilion.
The entry fee is $10 and competitors just need to bring goggles and swimwear.