Saturday, November 27, 2010

Marcus's first triathalon

After K-mart I had half an hour to put my feet up and see the start of Day 1 of the Ashes. [For the uninitiated, since 1877 England and Australia have played test cricket for a trophy called The Ashes. There are five matches that each go for 5 days, and the whole business happens every 2 years or so.]

Being able to watch the start of an Ashes series is pretty special - sometimes they start with a bang. This one did, with the England captain out for 0 in the first over, caught off the bowling of Ben Hilfenhaus, whose dad installed my dad's new taps. How about that, eh?

After about 4 overs of cricket it was time for me to go over the river to watch Marcus compete in a triathalon. He was the runner in a 3-man team, with Caleb (cyclist) and Ned (swimmer). There were umpteen different events - with individual and team races in all age groups, girls and boys. The school sent quite a big team. The venue was Bellerive beach, and the park alongside. I didn't realise how huge the whole thing would be until I got into Bellerive and realised that I would have to park about 10 minutes walk from the course.

When I got down there it was somewhat organised chaos. There is no vantage point where you can see even a third of the course - which made it hard for the kids to concentrate on cheering on their schoolmates. The park is broken up by stands of scraggy tea-tree, and to get from one spectator spot to another you had to clamber through these, sneak across the actual track, walk through marquees and dodge impromptu games of chasings, gumnut fights etc.

When it was time for their race, Marcus was pretty nervous. The race started with a swim of about 200 metres, then the swimmers ran ashore and into the "transition zone" of bike racks, and tagged the cyclist. They then had to run with their bikes to a point down the track where they were allowed to mount and pedal off, for a return journey of maybe 1 kilometre. Then they ran their bikes back in and tagged the runner, who ran uphill 500m then back downhill 500m to the finish.

I think there were about 30 or 40 teams. It turns out that for the Grade 3s the swimmers really only waded - the buoys were that close to shore. Unfortunately Ned stood on one of the anchors of the buoys, and the sore foot slowed him down. He was in the last third of the field when he tagged Caleb. Off he went and Marcus went to stand by the bike rack - very nervous. By the time Caleb came back he had moved the team up one or two places. Marcus steamed off very determinedly - he has a very expressive way of running, that leaves you in no doubt he is trying very hard. The course announcer was impressed enough to say "making up lots of ground there is, er, MARCUS REES of South Hobart".

He found running uphill pretty hard, but so did everyone else. Only one boy passed him, but Marcus caught and passed him back, and about four others too, including one just before the finish line. The team came 13th, a very good result for their first attempt.

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