A professional athlete and another planning to turn pro combined to win the men’s and women’s divisions of the Echuca-Moama Triathlon on Saturday night.
Gun teenager Campbell Gray was the first local across the line and second overall.
In the team category the new combination of Brady Threlfall, Kayden Jeffreys and Ben Putamorsi blitzed the field and came close to the course record — watched by thousands of people who watched from the streets, the water and the hotels and cafes lining the route.
But the blue ribbons went to Adelaide’s Sam Tebeck (1:00.07) and Bendigo’s Shai O’Brien (1:09.15) who added a touch of class to this year’s race.
Tebeck is a professional half-ironman competitor and a regular in the Echuca-Moama neighbourhood because his girlfriend is from Wakool.
He entered the event as a way of introducing his girlfriend’s family to the sport — and even thinks he may have convinced her to have a go in the near future.
‘‘This is my second year as a professional and I have only been doing triathlons for the past six years,’’ Tebeck said.
‘‘I actually came to the sport via motocross and the cross-training I was doing there.
‘‘Then I found I was enjoying the running and cycling more and made the switch.
‘‘Which means, of course, that swimming is my weakest leg.’’
Tebeck’s next outing will be the Husky 70.3 on February 17 to 19, a major fixture on the national triathlon calendar.
But he said the big events could not compare with one like the Echuca-Moama race.
‘‘I loved this event, the atmosphere is great, the setting was spectacular and I loved the twilight concept, it’s why I like doing a lot of country-based races, the locals are so into them,’’ he said.
To make sure he was tuned up for the race, Tebeck squeezed in an hour-long run in the morning before turning up in the afternoon.
For O’Brien, 20, it was third time lucky — she had contested the event in 2014 (finished second) and 2015 before missing last year.
‘‘But this is a race I have really wanted to win since I ran that second and country races are my favourite events,’’ O’Brien said.
‘‘They are fun for me, except here, this year, because I was pretty serious about winning.
‘‘I was happy with my time of 1:09, but in the end it didn’t matter, I just wanted the win.’’