Battling intense heat and swarms of flies, South Australian Matt Hutchinson has taken out the Julia Creek South32 Senior Triathlon for the second consecutive year.
Like in 2017 Hutchinson was quickest out of the water and stretched his lead to over a kilometre on the bike.
Unlike last year there was no headwind and he raced home to win in a sizzling time of 1:02:59 – ten minutes faster than last year and eight minutes ahead of his nearest rival this year.
Hutchinson said it was great to be back and get the win again.
“I think it was a bit easier out there this year, not as windy as last year, but there were a lot more flies- I think I swallowed a few along the way,” Hutchinson said.
“I feel pretty good, I’m glad I finished when I did because it is really starting to get warm.”
Second in the men’s was Thomas Burns-Wallace from Cairns in 1:10:17 and third was Ben Cooper from Townsville in 1:11:03
Crossing the line first in the women’s marathon was 16-year-old school student, Emma Simpson, from Cairns.
In what was a last-minute decision to enter, Simpson easily crossed the line first in 1:15:53.
“This is my first time competing in the Dirt n Dust Festival and I only decided to come because I wanted to show my two brothers that I could do it,” Simpson said.
“They have competed in the Julia Creek run before and were coming back this year, so I just wanted to show them up.”
Simpson said it was tough but she loved the race.
“The swim was good and I was able to back it up with a strong ride, and I just had to stick with it through the run,” she said. “I am so excited, it was one of the most amazing things this year. I will definitely be coming back again.”
Second was winner Hutchinson’s girlfriend Brittany Blanco in 1:17:59 and third was Mount Isa’s Kim Alcorn in 1:18:42.
SEE ALSO: Story and Photo from the Junior Tri
Last year’s winner Fiona Lenz competed but found the going too tough to get a podium finish as she recovers from recent injury.
Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival President, Steve Malone, said the marathon is iconic in the racing calendar.
“It presents a very real challenge and absolutely everyone who participated should be congratulated and celebrate now that they have ticked this event off on their list of achievements.”