Triathletes go to hell out west

PRUE Oswin won the individual accolades but was just one member of a gutsy Gladstone Road Runners contingent who completed the Hell of the West triathlon in Goondiwindi on Sunday.

Oswin, Rebecca Josey, Glenn Cordon, Sharon Stott and Mike Mason can all say they've been to "hell and back'' after completing the event.

The Goondiwindi triathlon has been branded the toughest in Queensland and, like other long course events, consists of a 2km swim/80km cycle/20km run. Unlike other events it involves swimming the muddy Macintyre River, riding rough roads and competing in a searing temperature.

The temperature on Sunday hit 39 degrees Celsius. Even the swim provided no respite, the temperature on the water reaching 31.

To add to this all, competitors had to rise at 3am in order to be ready to race at first light.

Oswin celebrated her birthday by taking out line honours for her 25-29 years age category in a time of 4hr34min22sec. She was happy with the win but gained the greatest reward from the 18-minute improvement from her first race last year. Line honours was not the only thrill of the day for Gladstone competitors with first time long-coursers Cordon (5:27.54) and Stott (6:09.04) rapt to conquer the course.

Josey (5:16.11), in an impressive fourth Hell of the West campaign, had a memorable finish, crossing the line with her sister Sarah.

Josey said Sunday's event featured the toughest heat she had experienced of all her campaigns.

Veteran competitor Mason (6:46.20) impressed with his effort to complete the course at a slow but steady pace despite his training being limited to a two-hour bike riding session ? something his club-mates did not recommend as an ideal preparation.

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