Yass duathlete and member of the Yass Valley Triathlon Club, Sally Townsend, made history by becoming the first-ever member to officially race for the club at the Goulburn Duathlon. 

Sally was the first woman to cross the finish line, finishing first in her age category of women aged 60 – 64 as well as finishing sixth overall with a time of 45 minutes and 33 seconds at Marsden Weir Park. 

“I wouldn’t expect ever to be the fastest female at the age of 60 and at my first ever duathlon,” she said.

The Goulburn Duathlon involved competitors from all over Australia and included a standard duathlon, which served as a qualifier for the 2023 Multisport World Championships in Ibiza, Sprint, and Super Sprint race. 

The Yass local competed in the Super Sprint distance duathlon, which includes a 2.5km run 8km bike followed by a 1km run.

Sally said her strength is cycling, so in very windy and cold conditions in a hilly terrain, she made up a lot of time on the bike leg. 

Although Sally has always been very physically active and regularly participates in the Parkrun on Saturday mornings, it was only this year that she competed in her first triathlon in January alongside her daughter, placing second in her age group. 

“It has always been a lifetime dream to do a triathlon and I’ve never really had the inspiration until the Yass Valley Triathlon group kind of encouraged me to do that at the pool one morning.”

“You don’t have to be super fantastic to have a go and enjoy the sport it’s very inclusive.”

Sally has put in the hard yards and swims three times a week in summer and once a fortnight in winter, and biking and running twice a week, on top of regularly riding her horse.

The Yass Valley Triathlon Club became officially incorporated earlier this year and is affiliated with Triathlon Australia. 

Joining the local club allows members to compete together or separately at local interstate official triathlons and gain points towards their individual ranking and the club’s ranking. Being a member of a club cuts their costs as individuals as it’s cheaper to race in a club.

Members are covered by insurance at both registered triathlons under Triathlon Australia or Triathlon NSW and when they are training for a triathlon. 

Sally Townsend crossing the finish line

The club aims to cater for all abilities, from beginners to elite experienced triathlon competitors. 

Although it may sound intimidating to compete in three different sports within the same race, athletes can form teams allowing one to compete in the swimming, running, and bicycle legs. 

Brianna O’Rourke