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Airlie Beach Triathlon 2015 Wrap Up

Thanks to Graham Pemberton from Free Radicals Tri Club for supplying this report.

Airlie Beach Triathlon maintained its reputation as one of the best races on the North Queensland calendar when triathletes from Townsville and all over the state took to the picturesque course this morning.

Sam Murphy in hot pursuit of Sam Betten.

Sam Murphy in hot pursuit of Sam Betten.

Both spectators and athletes welcomed the new run course, which made it easier for supporters to watch while athletes celebrated the fact that, already a hilly course, it skipped the big climb from last year.

The swim course looked spectacular from the beach, intermingled with the million-dollar catamarans — a playground for the rich and famous and, today, the Free Radicals! The main race unfolded with an exciting battle between seasoned professional athlete Sam Betten [Brisbane] and our own professional triathlete and Ironman Sam Murphy. Having recently returned to racing and turning pro after a break, Sam’s aim for this race was a comfortable second and he hit the mark after a blistering run, closing the gap that Sam Betten had on him from the swim. The final times were 59:59 and 1:01:56. What a fantastic start to Sam Murphy’s first pro season at only 1:57 behind — well done!

The Age Group (AG) race was really tight this year with some brilliant performances from the Free Radicals’ Pink Ladies! In the Enticer, relative newbie Nikki Hammond came home in second place and 12-year-old Declan Marchioni stepped it up and also picked up second spot. In the Sprint race it was an amazing result from the team: Teenager Riley Smithers took it up a notch in this category and had an impressive race after some hard training, collecting third place in his AG (14-19). Graham Crawford (50+ AG) and Ben Cooper (hotly contested 30+ AG) both took second place. But it was the 50+ ladies category that we seemed to excel in with the top five places going to the Free Radicals: Christine Cairns Tracey was first; Dee Flynn-Pittar second (another blistering run to finish), Sue Price took third, and so close behind was Jill Stephenson.


Some of the talented Free Radicals troupe.

There are so many of the Tribe not mentioned who did exceptionally well… OK, so maybe one more: Dave Richardson for not coming last — mate, you are a trooper.

This is one of the best races in the calendar, so thanks to Hamilton Island marketing manager Steve Jackson and the crew for the organisation — it’s special.


Graham Crawford on the bike leg.

Get involved

If you want to come and tri, pop down to Northern Beaches Leisure Centre for Squad Training on Sunday morning. Say hello and see what we do and how easy we make it for you to join in. Go to for more details.

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Graham Pemberton

Graham Pemberton

Graham Pemberton has a long service history with both the British Army and the Australian Army, serving in many areas across the globe in his 25 years service to both countries. Graham is an accomplished pilot, parachutist (over 3000 military and civilian skydives), scuba diver and climber (including ice). Graham has led many overseas expeditions including one to Mt Everest in 2004. He is one of the founding members of the Free Radicals Tribe Family Triathlon Club, and believes in being fit for life. Graham is an accredited IRONMAN coach as well as being and Australian Development coach (Triathlon) He has competed and completed IM and many 70.3 events, and is constantly coaching within the club.

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